Aren’t You in the Hospitality Industry?
Do you remember why you first got into the hotel business? This is one question that I think gets thrown by the wayside over time. Would you believe it if I told you that adding a little bit more hospitality, could increase your bottom line? Simply improving your customer service could go a long way.
One of the first places that most customers look when they are making their hotel booking decision are travel review sites. Some of the most popular are Yelp, TripAdvisor, and many of the OTA’s websites (Go ahead, check out your reviews) The reason that many people like to check these out is that they can pry open the door into the hotel that they are considering staying at. The sentiment from many guests is that hotels paint the picture that they would like customers to see. Through the review sites, they can see any systemic issues that the hotel might have.
Think about it this way. If you hate inattentiveness, and you see on Yelp that Hotel X is notorious for having staff that is “inattentive,” then chances are that you will not want to book there. These review sites allow customers to make quick judgment calls online, without the time investment of having to do further research. They can form their opinions right then and there. People know what they don’t like, and will try to avoid it if possible.
It should come as no surprise that “given equal prices, travelers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores.” This excerpt from TrustYou, a Google review partner, shows the importance of reviews to your bottom line.
Managing reviews can seem tough, but it is well worth it in the long run.
So what does it all boil down to and how can you fix these reviews? It is all about customer service. It’s that simple. If you give the customer what they are looking for and provide exceptional service, then a few things will happen. First, they will feel like they made the best decision possible in choosing your hotel. Next, they will take all of those negative reviews (if there are any) that they read and mentally discredit them. If you really wow them, they will be more inclined to post on these review sites in your favor. Given the statistic from earlier, this means that your conversions will increase the more that you wow your customers. Finally, and this is the most important point to make, they will be YOUR customer. That means that you now must manage that customer relationship so that they stay with you. If you are in rate parity, then why would they go through an OTA? You’ve already given them everything that they want. Get started with a quick primer on best practices for reviews on Google+.
Handling Reviews Correctly – Best Western Sunset
Some of this might seems like a foreign language to many of you, so I have an example of someone who is doing it right. (Full Disclosure: They are one of our customers, but they handle their reviews) There are too many things that they are doing right for us to list, but I will briefly cite the most important, in my opinion.
- They don’t just focus on resolving the negatives. Where they see an opportunity, they thank customers who enjoyed their stay and further their relationship. They capitalize on the great features and benefits of their property and enhance the customer’s decision of having stayed there.
- Apologies are not for you. They are for the customer. Customers may be misguided at times with their reviews because they do not know the entire picture. Providing an apology on the review site, lets other customers know that you tried to rectify the situation. It also fills them in on what exactly the issue may have been. Remember, if they are looking through your reviews, that means they are in the process of making a decision. Responding to a negative comment can show your expertise and compassion.
- Another tip of the hat goes to them for responding promptly. In today’s digital world, people expect quickness. They want what they want, and they wanted it yesterday. Waiting weeks to respond to a customer who feels that they have been wronged in some way will almost guarantee that you have lost that customer. They will probably already have told a few of their friends as well about how horrible their experience was with [insert your hotel name here]. In a perfect world, your hotel staff would have rectified the situation on the property, but customers understand that “things happen.” This is where review sites come into play. You can still save this relationship by acting quickly.
So I have to ask again; What industry are you in? If you are wondering why you have such a low star rating, then one of a few things could be happening. Your product might not mesh with the customers that are coming to your hotel. You could have internal issues that are affecting the satisfaction of your guests. There are too many things that could be going wrong, but if you just take a moment to look at what exactly it is that your customers are saying about your hotel, and you take steps to resolve them, there is no reason that you should not see your ratings and revenue increase as they get resolved. The tools are there for us to use, it is up to us to make use of them.