Mastering Your Online Reviews: A Four-Step Guide

In the digital age, where every click can translate into revenue, online reviews have become essential to the success for hoteliers. The ratings of your hotel can be a double-edged sword. While positive reviews can be a powerful marketing tool, negative feedback, if mishandled, can tarnish your hotel’s reputation. Maximising the potential of these reviews goes beyond mere acknowledgment; it involves a strategic approach to engagement, analysis, and improvement. In this blog let’s delve into specific situations hoteliers might face in their online review management journey and our top tips for effective solutions. Read on to find out how to optimise your review management in just four simple steps!

1) Encourage Positive Reviews

Authentic positive reviews can significantly influence the decisions of potential guests. Many satisfied guests may not think to leave a review unless prompted, resulting in missed opportunities for positive feedback. Other guests may be unfamiliar with the current .popular review platforms or may not consider leaving a review unless prompted. Attracting these positive reviews requires a proactive effort on the part of hoteliers.

HotelPartner Top Tips:

  • Involve staff: Educate your team on the importance of reviews and give them clear instructions and tools to proactively reach out to guests who they believe are having an exceptionally positive experience. For example, give front office staff a special
  • Use on-site signage: Place subtle yet inviting signage throughout the hotel that encourages guests to leave a review. This can be at the front desk, in rooms or even in common areas.
  • Implement post-stay communication: Send personalised post-stay emails thanking guests for their visit and encouraging them to share their experience on review sites. Include direct links to make the process seamless.
  • Offer incentives: Consider offering small incentives, such as discounts on future stays or complimentary amenities, to guests who take the time to leave a positive review.

2) Streamline Your Response Process

In the dynamic hotel environment, it’s easy for reviews, both positive and negative, to go unnoticed. Although internal acknowledgement may occur, the lack of response to both positive and negative reviews can be a missed opportunity for hoteliers.

Negative reviews in particular can irritate hoteliers, leading to uncertainty about appropriate responses. It can be tempting to take things personally, especially if the feedback feels unwarranted. This can lead to highly emotional and often frustrated responses that cross the line between a professional acknowledgement of the criticism and a personal attack. On the other hand, fear of saying the wrong thing can lead to no response at all, signalling disinterest to potential guests reading reviews and potentially damaging the hotel’s online reputation.

Some hotels resort to using standardised responses based on star ratings alone, without addressing any of the points raised, which can unfortunately leave guests feeling that their concerns are not being taken seriously.

HotelPartner Top Tips:

  • Respond promptly: Respond promptly to online reviews and show your commitment to guest satisfaction. This shows transparency and responsiveness.
  • Address both positive and negative reviews: Engage with guests by expressing gratitude for positive reviews and addressing negative feedback with empathy and practical solutions.
  • Use templates only as a foundation: Use standardised templates as a basis to maintain a consistent tone in your responses. However, always tailor them to the specific content and severity of each review.
  • Maintain professionalism: Approach responses objectively, considering the guest’s perspective. Even if there is disagreement, respond without letting personal emotions get in the way of your response. Use the opportunity to express your point of view while upholding the values of the hotel.

3) Turn Insights into Action

Understanding the valuable insights hidden within reviews is crucial for continuous improvement. However, extracting actionable information from the wealth of feedback can be challenging for hoteliers. In this very people and service oriented business, hoteliers may feel tempted to treat customer feedback from one individual as fact and they frequently want to implement suggested changes immediately, while it might as well be just a one off opinion.

If left unprocessed, the sheer number of reviews may make it difficult to differentiate common trends or specific areas that need improvement from such “one-offs”. There is also a tendency to see reviews black and white, either they are positive, or they are negative. That is not always the case! Reviews may contain a mix of positive and negative comments, and criticism in generally positive feedback might often be overlooked, while it could in actuality be the most important one.

HotelPartner Top Tips:

  • Utilize review management tools: Invest in tools that help analyse and categorise reviews based on keywords and sentiments. This streamlines the process of identifying recurring themes or specific issues.
  • Regularly update improvement plans: Establish a system for regularly reviewing and updating improvement plans based on the insights gained from reviews. This ensures a proactive approach to addressing guests’ concerns.
  • Involve your staff in the review process: Create a sense of shared responsibility for guest satisfaction by encouraging staff to provide input on responses and take ownership of areas that receive praise or criticism. This collaborative approach ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the guest experience.
  • Invest in training programs: Equip your team with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver the level of service expected by guests. Training programs can address potential pain points highlighted in reviews, empowering your staff to provide exceptional experiences.

4) Leverage The Effect of Positive Reviews

There is no greater trust factor than the “real” voices of guests who have stayed at a hotel and had a great experience. So positive reviews can be a marketing goldmine, but hotels may struggle to decide how to effectively incorporate them into their ongoing marketing processes. As a result, hotels may not be taking full advantage of the positive reviews they receive, missing out on opportunities to showcase their strengths to potential future guests.

HotelPartner Top Tips:

  • Incorporate Reviews on your website: Dedicate a section of your website to showcasing positive reviews. This builds trust by providing authentic perspectives from satisfied guests. You can either use live reviews and integrate them into your website, or if you want more control over what is displayed, work with your website designer to come up with a solution.
  • Use recent guest testimonials in marketing content: Include positive guest quotes in your advertising, social media posts and email campaigns. This will add credibility and resonate with potential guests.

In conclusion, the art of mastering online reviews isn’t just about managing feedback; it’s about turning it into a valuable tool for improving your hotel’s overall guest experience. By incorporating these tips into your review management strategy, you can optimise your online presence, build trust and ultimately enhance your hotel’s reputation in the digital landscape. Schedule your non-binding call with our experts to find out!

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