With all the online hotel choices confronting consumers, it is only natural that they would turn to their peers for experiential information about hotels they may be considering booking. Online reviews and ratings are transforming the everyday operations of hotels worldwide and can no longer be ignored by even the smallest of hotels. This reality mandates hoteliers adopt new strategies for effectively marketing and managing hotels through the world of online reviews by past guests. These measures will help improve guest satisfaction and ensure it is maintained at the highest levels possible.
Guest Satisfaction Begins Before Check-In
Hotel guests should have a smooth, trouble-free booking and hotel website experience across any type of device they use, most importantly mobile. The site needs to be fast and responsive, while featuring eye-catching appeal and offering content of value to all users. Social validation in the form of positive reviews from past guests should be readily apparent and prominently displayed for all users to see. On travel review sites such as TripAdvisor, make sure the hotel property’s profile is always up to date and that images of high quality always reflect the current state of the hotel. First impressions are crucial for establishing a connection between the hotel brand and a future guest, impacting in turn their experience upon arrival on property.
Highly Rated Reviews Follow High Quality Service
Not every hotel guest read reviews before they clicked the booking button or writes them after each stay. A guest may have booked the hotel with price or locale being the only criteria for example. But excellent service, which exceeds their expectations, may just compel them to write their first ever review. At every face-to-face interaction make the most of the opportunity by being proactive and asking guests if there is anything with which they need assistance.
Keep the hotel staff completely focused at all times on one goal, to provide guests an outstanding hotel experience from beginning to end and beyond. Even the smallest of personalized details will be long remembered by the guest and reflect well on the hotel property. Staff training regarding customer service should be ongoing and part of the culture of the business. Hotel staff that always provides an excellent level of customer service should be acknowledged and rewarded accordingly.
Of course, the reverse is true regarding expectations, which remain unmet upon check-out time. Unsatisfied guests are usually the most likely to passionately write a scathing review in order to vent their frustrations. The key is to maintain a consistent level of service excellence with an understanding that there will always be some guests who just can’t be pleased.
In part three, we will see how to turn those unsatisfactory online reviews into a positive for the hotel property.