Hotel Reputation Management and What You Need to Know

March 2, 2018

“It takes 20 years to build reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

Warren Buffett.

Imagine yourself as a potential guest.

You need a place to stay. In fact, you’d like a great place to stay. So you do a search on Google to find the perfect accommodations. You find some results that look pretty great. After clicking on one, the site looks clean and modern. It seems like this is a place you’d stay for sure.

Without a doubt, the next step is checking for reviews. Even when you’ve mastered the art of SEO, you’re ranking well on Google, and your website runs like a dream, a bad review can make or break a potential reservation. After all, it’s the day of social media and people are talking.

So, what are they saying? Booking a stay at a well-loved hotel is a no-brainer, but if your reviews are lacking, you may need some help. This is where hotel reputation management comes into play. 

Why Hotel Reputation Management Matters

Are you still not convinced that a Google review or a comment on Facebook is so important? Let me try to change your mind.

93% of hotel guests find reviews important. That’s almost everyone! With so many options available, people are turning to their peers to validate their hotel choices.

When it comes to reviews, studies are showing that quantity might matter more than quality. In the same survey, 53% of people wouldn’t book a hotel without reviews. In fact, Amazon found that items with a 1-star rating sold more than those without ratings.

We see time and time again that having more reviews is always better, regardless of the rating. After all, if you have 500 reviews, you’d expect a couple bad scores. However, if you only have 20 reviews, those unsatisfied guests are much harder to ignore.

What’s the First Step?

This one is easy – give phenomenal customer service!

Guests tend to seek out opportunities to review a stay in two situations:

  1. It was an unbelievable trip! Everything was perfect and they couldn’t be happier with their stay
  2. It was an unbelievable trip! Who would have thought that a stay could get this bad?!

When was the last time you told a friend about a mediocre restaurant or a movie that was just so-so? Most people will rave about an amazing time or vent about horrible service, but are less likely to talk about a neutral experience.

So, the best way to get reviews is to make people either really, really happy or really, really mad. We don’t need to tell you which will serve your company better.

But don’t stop there; you have more work to do.

Another great way to get more reviews is to ask your guests. Yes, it’s really just that simple! A delighted customer is usually happy to return the favor. Gently prod them for a review and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you rack up ratings.

As proof that it works, all you have to do is check out Sweetwater Branch Inn’s Google listing. Owner Cornelia Holbrook has mastered the art of delighting guests, and she’s not shy to ask them to share stories. With over 175 reviews and a 4.6 star rating, Sweetwater Branch Inn populates in hotel searches alongside (and often above!) large chain hotels and big industry players.

Asking each individual guest for reviews can be a time-consuming process. That’s why we’ve created the 5-Star Review app. Every time a guest checks out of your property, they’ll be asked to submit a rating. If they rate your property from one to three stars, they’ll be guided to a feedback form. If they rate it four to five stars, they’ll be directed to leave a review on the site of their choice.

Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook…Where do I start?

As a general rule of thumb, we love Google reviews. As Google takes up more and more market share and expands their travel-related offerings, your guests are turning to Google for answers. With all of the information right there next to the reviews, you can bet that they are reading what your past guests had to say. While reviews are imperative to managing the reputation of your hotel, they also serve another purpose. Google reviews can impact your organic ranking. It’s generally a good idea to let your happy guests help you increase your reputation and your search result ranking.

That’s not to say that reviews on other sources don’t matter. Based on your customer demographics, you may also want to influence reviews from social platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Facebook. You want to have a strong presence where your guests are – current, future, and even that dream guest you’ve been trying to reach.

So you got a bad review. Now what?

The best defense to a bad review is a great response. That sounds a little simpler than it actually is. Try following these steps to craft an effective reply:

  • Reply quickly, but maybe not immediately. Check your emotions – do you need a chance to cool down? Take a few moment to consider how to respond to the review, keeping in mind how it will be read by your potential future guests. The worst thing you could do here is sound defensive.
  • Address their issues. Maybe you don’t agree that the room was too small or that the quilt was tacky, but a guest’s perception is their reality. Review readers love seeing humility and a sincere apology, so make sure your message acknowledges the shortcomings your guest is upset about
  • Offer to make it right. Provide a simple way for the reviewer to contact you, and suggest a solution to mend the problem. This could not only turn around an unhappy visitor, but allow potential guests to feel confident that any issues they might have will be appropriately handled. Plus, if you’re sure the review is fake, offering a huge discount or comp will look fantastic without harming your bottom line.
  • Learn. It’s hard to get honest feedback, so cherish this opportunity as a chance to make a great stay at your hotel even better!

Let’s not forget the silver lining. You might think that having all 4-5 star reviews is ideal, but actually, it may give vacation planners pause. After all, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Having a few bad reviews gives your business more credibility, especially when you have given a great response to each of those.

Let Q4Launch Help You

Getting and responding to reviews can be time-consuming. Let Q4Launch assist you through your marketing journey. With our team of marketing experts at your side, as well as our game-changing 5-Star Review app, you can focus on providing the best customer service to your guests.

Contact us today to get started!

Sarah Church | Customer Experience Manager
Learn More About Me on LinkedIn!

Taylor Anthony | Content Creator