Your revenue hinges upon your reputation — the business impact of how you’re perceived online can’t be stressed further than this. And with the rising influence of hotel reviews, reputation management for hospitality sector has never been more crucial.
But what is hospitality reputation management exactly, and does it really matter for hoteliers to secure bookings and reviews?
What Is Hotel Reputation Management or Hospitality Reputation Management?
Hotel online reputation management (ORM) or hospitality online reputation management is the framework hoteliers follow to monitor and shape how their business is perceived online.
In hotel reputation management, you oversee the following critical channels:
- Owned media – Your hotel’s website and social media pages or accounts under your control.
- Paid media – Sponsored content such as Google and social media ads that you paid for.
- Earned media – External organic content such as articles, vlogs or hotel reviews that you don’t control.
Why Online Reputation Management for Hospitality Is Essential for Hoteliers
As of October last year, Hotel Tech Report found 665 new hotels opened in the U.S. alone. So with such an increase in competition, reputation management for hotels is the means to answer why people should choose your business over others.
And when you’ve been hit with a damaging hotel review that could lead to serious financial losses, hotel online reputation management is a proactive approach to mitigate risk, protecting your hard-fought image. Here is more of what you get when you implement a reputation management strategy:
- Stronger brand image. By monitoring and shaping your hotel’s reputation, you place your brand in a good light.
- Higher search rankings. ORM involves local search optimization, so your rankings are in check.
- More direct hotel bookings. Potential guests easily find your owned media, like your website.
- More 5-star reviews. More bookings consequently gives you more chances of gaining more reviews.
- Guest loyalty. Just remember the key lies in providing a superb guest experience.
- Better talent acquisition capabilities. Naturally, you also attract valuable talents in the industry.
- Competitive edge over similar properties. A strong reputation may be the only thing that sets you apart.
Speaking of the competitive edge that you get from hotel online reputation management:
“Hoteliers get a bigger market share by attracting guests from other nearby hotels not engaged in ORM, increasing their direct hotel bookings and revenue,” said Tim Clarke, senior reputation manager at Rize Reviews.
Is It Worth Investing in Professional Hospitality Reputation Management Services?
Yes, even though some business owners would argue it’s unnecessary, professional services always equate to expertise and convenience.
Imagine learning to cook a perfectly cooked steak; you purchase the meat, watch tutorial videos, get your hands dirty in the kitchen and repeat the process over and over again for days, if not weeks, before nailing it — and that’s if you persist. This is what hospitality online reputation management would look like if done manually and internally by your team.
Now, picture yourself walking into a fine restaurant; you order a steak, perhaps medium rare. And with a little waiting, you take that first bite and instantly feel rewarded. This is what you’re guaranteed with professional hospitality reputation management services.
While both are worth your while, the first scenario would be impossible for busy hoteliers managing the day-to-day pressures of running such a business. Similarly, you want to treat your business’s reputation as your “dream home,” building and protecting it with the right people. Again, expertise and convenience are two things you’re assured of with professional reputation management for hospitality businesses.
How To Get More 5-Star Reviews With the Best Online Reputation Management Strategy
While it ultimately lies in providing a stellar guest experience and letting your service quality do the talking, there are measures in reputation management for hotels that can get you more 5-star reviews and, thus, more hotel sales.
Here are five hospitality online reputation management practices to start with:
1. Claim All of Your Business Listings
From Google to Facebook, Trivago and Tripadvisor, you should be at the helm of your listings. Secure them and maintain accurate information such as name, address and phone number (NAP) across your citations. Depending on the directory, you could treat it as social media to put updates and promote hotel sales.
2. Optimize Your Website for Search
Since local search engine optimization (SEO) is tied to ORM, bear these principles in mind: discoverability, authority and relevance. Apply them technically through your site’s architecture and content rich in keywords. SEO is the only way to increase your website’s chances of being found online by potential guests.
3. Put a Review Widget on Your Website
To further the efficacy of your hotel’s website, put up a review widget and let potential guests know more about your business. You can prominently display positive guest feedback through the widget on your website. As such, your previous guests would also know where they can leave reviews.
4. Send Automated Feedback Requests
A week after a stay, your hotel is mostly top-of-mind of guests. So take that time to engage with them through email with an approach of “your feedback matters to us,” and include a link to where they can leave a review. Having customer relationship management (CRM) and (ORM) systems are essential to automation.
5. Engage With Your Customers Online and Offline
Ensure you’re present where potential guests can reach you, like your website or social media. You could also engage in person and ask for reviews upon checkout or when a staff member receives a compliment for their service. Keep your staff members informed on the best time to ask for reviews, so you can take advantage of every opportunity.
Reputation management for hotels creates a cycle of more bookings to more reviews and back. So here’s what you should do next: Engage more through review responses.
How To Respond to Hotel Reviews
Another crucial aspect of hotel reputation management is responding to reviews. Whether positive or negative, take that as an opportunity to engage. Here are a few pointers on how to respond to hotel reviews:
- Maintain professionalism.
- Address the guest by their name.
- Be kind and sincere.
- Be timely in your response.
- Express your gratitude at the beginning and end.
- For concerns, offer a specific solution.
- Take the time to translate your response for international guests when needed.
- Invite the guest for another visit.
Some have a habit of giving canned responses, particularly when it comes to positive reviews. Don’t only focus on the first impression and then neglect the last impression: this may mean finding creative ways to engage with your guests once they leave a review.
Rize Reviews: Your Next Best Online Reputation Management Partner
It is understandable if ORM is a relatively new concept to you as a hotelier. But returning to the core of reputation management for hotels — dealing with how potential guests perceive you — is vital if you want to secure more hotel sales. And if you want to be guaranteed expertise and convenience, Rize Reviews is here to give you just that.
Rize Reviews is a team of ORM professionals helping small and large hotels alike build and protect their online reputations. We employ white-label software without forgoing human touch in our responses.
Talk to our team — get more direct hotel bookings and reviews.