In the hospitality industry, guest experience, satisfaction, and value are held in the highest regard. With more and more guests sharing their experiences on review sites, social media, and travel blogs, hotels are recognizing the user-generated content as marketing opportunities to leverage guest engagement and loyalty. Face it, your guests are social, and they are likely to talk about your hotel on whichever channel they prefer, whether it be TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp. Whether they realize it or not, your guests are your marketers, and as hoteliers, you must interact and share in the experience.
Somewhere along the travel booking process, a potential guest will read reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, or other review sites to get a better idea of what to expect from the hotel. With that said, hotel management must respond to reviews, especially negative ones. Potential guests will often base their decision solely on reading reviews from previous guests who have stayed at the hotel, which could either lead to a booking or not. To increase conversions, reply to negative reviews, and acknowledge the guests’ concerns while providing a solution. When a traveler reads this kind of management response to a negative review, he or she will be less inclined to have a negative perception of the hotel and be more willing to give the hotel a chance.
Many of us can agree that travel consumers are heavily influenced by a friend’s recommendation when deciding which hotel to stay at. Travel consumers are likely to value a friend’s opinion over a stranger’s review they read online. For example, when you see a friend’s Facebook check-in and post of a photo of a beautiful beachfront view from the hotel they are staying at, how much more will this spark your interest the next time you plan your next trip? How about the photos of fun attractions near the hotel posted on your friend’s Instagram feed? These kinds of posts from friends on social media could provide a great marketing opportunity for your hotel. As the hotel, make sure to retweet or share any guest mentions of your hotel on all of the hotel’s social media channels. This will increase the visibility of the original post and spark even more conversation.
Avid travelers, foodies, and photographers often document their whole journey and experiences through a travel blog. These travel bloggers are your marketers, too, which means hoteliers must pay close attention to what is being talked about and shared on these blogs. Travel blogs are in many ways like a diary in which bloggers share their travel experience from checking in at the hotel to walking into the hotel room to exploring the destination and local culture. In these travel diaries, bloggers will review their hotel stay, mention which attractions they’ve visited, and share photos of what they’ve eaten. From reading these travel blogs, hoteliers may discover hidden gems in the local area from historical parks to popular moms and pop restaurants, all of which would be a great thing to promote on the website and social media.
Listening to your guests, whether it be through review sites, social media, or blogs, is a great way to gain new insights as to what your guests genuinely want from the hotel guest experience. Remember, your guests are the most influential marketers, so pay attention to what they’re saying to effectively market your hotel. Whether you like or not, people will continue to talk about your hotel, so use that criticism to your best advantage.