26 Apr 4 recommendations for improving the brand reputation of your Hotel
Every hotel owner at some point has come up against negative feedback that affects the management of Brand Reputation at their establishment. If the negative review is from a friend or family member or neighbour of the dissatisfied guest, the hotel owner is often unaware of it, and any information passed on (negative or positive) remains within the guest’s inner circle of acquaintance.
But how did all this change when web 2.0 became so diffuse?
It obliged you, as a hotel owner, to sit down, turn on the computer, get to grips with the internet, and find out where they’re talking about you and, more importantly, what they’re saying.
We’ll now explain how you can manage your online reputation
Before we offer any advice, let’s see how a review comes about.
When a customer books a hotel room, he immediately starts to set up expectations in his mind about what he will find there. He subsequently arrives at the hotel, where he discovers what it’s actually like. The difference between the customer’s expectations and the reality of the situation is what gives rise to reviews.
If the customer finds the situation exactly as he expected it to be then his experience will be normal, and in the majority of cases will not prompt a review.
Where reality exceeds the customer’s expectations however, he is more likely to report his experience both online and offline. Finally, if the customer’s expectations exceed reality it’s highly likely he will be prompted to report his negative experience to others.
1. Knowing and monitoring
The first rule we stipulate is to be aware of and monitor any website where your hotel is mentioned, Italian or otherwise, because if any of your employees has been particularly attentive to a customer, if your breakfast is the best the customer has ever tasted, you should know about it.
Likewise, you should also know all the negative comments, because whether they’re well-founded or not, even if they’re figments of the customer’s imagination and badly written, these reviews contain a mass of suggestions (free of charge) that can help you improve your establishment and your running of it, and in the long term, your reputation.
The second rule… respond! Always respond because it gives you a chance to recover the situation in the eyes of your customers, it gives you a chance to defend yourself, and it also gives you an opportunity to thank your guests and create a bond with prospective customers who may be reading the review.
Because this is how you get to the most important stage in the buying process: travellers consider alternatives, and your response can help future customers in their choice.
3. How to respond
The third rule is about how you write your response: remember that in responding to a review you are not really responding to the customer, whether he’s satisfied or not. Your response to a review serves to convince potential customers to choose you, rather than one of your competitors.
So when you respond to a negative review, don’t be arrogant and don’t accuse the customer; apologise, invite the customer for another stay at your establishment, and, where you feel you’ve been wrongly accused, try to explain your take on the situation calmly and humbly.
4. Avoid copying and pasting responses
Fourth rule: avoid copying and pasting your responses, especially for positive reviews. Every review is written by a customer who has taken the time to choose the right words to report his experience of your establishment. Return the favour by investing a few minutes to thank him personally.
Yes, we know, the business of responding can be extremely time-consuming this way, but it’s important; not just because you’re in the phase where alternatives are considered, as we just mentioned, but also because a good reputation is essential for the effect it can have on your prices. Your prices, on the other hand, have no effect at all on your reviews.
The following guidelines can be used in the generality of cases when responding to reviews:
- Disregard the less important issues and focus on more serious ones, possibly in private;
- Reply in a constructive and polite manner;
- Be professional; there’s a whole world out there that could potentially read your response!
Bonus tip: don’t underestimate the importance of social networks for your brand reputation!
Travellers love to share their experiences with friends and relatives on social media, and numbers of the reviews on Facebook and Google is increasing. These comments are of greater value to travellers who use social media, because the people who write them have a visible profile.
Nowadays there are ways of automating the social networking process and turning customers into ambassadors for your establishment.