The amount of user generated content online grows exponentially every day. Community content sites like Reddit, Tumblr and Digg offer their users the chance to share their experienced to a much wider audience than more traditional social media site. These sites have sections dedicated to hotels and travel where your past and potential guests may be discussing your hotel.
There are plenty of websites available to read about and monitor industry trends, but Reddit is great tool to learn more about what guests are saying. Users are often sharing travel tips and recommendations and can be very helpful in understanding their expectations on a property. Unfortunately because it’s the internet, some of these topics will venture into ethical gray areas where users share exploitative tactics to get free nights or upgrades. It’s common to see people reporting on what to do or complain about to get special treatment and discounts. These types of behaviors will sadly always be with us, but knowing their strategies can help to combat them.
Specifically for travel, TripAdvisor’s forum holds a lot of useful, professional and user submitted travel guides and suggestions. With over 2,800 new topics posted every day, guests are looking for answers to questions that aren’t typically listed on a properties amenity page. It’s rare to see a hotel list taxi fares to nearby attractions, or what the average temperature their rooms are at arrival, but these are common questions people have. The answers to these questions can greatly impact the decision making process and without the hotel’s input, the door is left open for questions to be answered incorrectly and result in false expectations or a lost booking. To help give hoteliers better access to these questions, TripAdvisor is testing a new Questions & Answers system that will highlight property questions on the property’s business listing. Managers just need to log into their accounts and they will see any unanswered questions about their property. This test is currently in select US markets, but should will be made available in the near future.
Searching these sites for mentions about your property might be time consuming, but Reputation Management is skill every hotelier needs to have and dedicate a fair amount of time too. Time spent in these forums can uncover a lot of opportunity for hoteliers to educate themselves and actively participate and influence the buying process as it happens.