Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools for a hotel. And now, travelers can simply pull out their phones to check a hotel’s reputation before booking. So, it can be devastating when a hotel loses stars on review sites like TripAdvisor, Google, or Yelp. Aside from offering the best quality service, what else can hotel management do to keep a few disgruntled guests from ruining a property’s reputation? Here are a few ways to create a solid hotel reputation management plan:
Have a Plan for Onsite Complaints
Make sure staff members have clear directions on how to handle guest problems before they escalate into a scathing review. Employees should feel comfortable knowing what is within their power, and what needs to be handled by a supervisor. Then ensure your management team is also empowered to make things right for guests at that moment. Frequent training and role-playing will keep the entire hotel team up-to-date and on the same page with these procedures.
Ask for Feedback
Only about 10 percent of Americans consistently leave reviews online. This means that hotels need to be proactive in getting enough reviews to build a reliable online reputation. Don’t be afraid to ask for a review from every guest just after their stay. Automate this process to save time and make sure it is done consistently.
Communicate with Your Team
Your staff should know just how important their performance and guest reviews are. Celebrate every good review! Post them on any internal communications platforms, or even display them in the employee common areas. Be sure to call out and reward employees who are specifically named in a great review.
As for negative reviews, use them as a learning opportunity. Discuss them with relevant staff and management to assess what went wrong and how the team can better meet the guests’ needs next time.
Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
Keeping up with the number of places that guests can leave reviews can be overwhelming. Make sure you “claim” your company on as many of the review sites as possible. This way, you can set yourself up to automatically receive alerts to reviews and respond to them directly. This will allow you to stay on top of new reviews without spending too much searching the internet.
Take Time to Respond
As soon as you have a new review, respond to it directly on the review site. Yes, even negative ones. Always thank guests for their feedback. Address the issue without making excuses. Let the reviewer know you will follow up with them privately or ask them to contact you directly to find a solution together.
For positive reviews, thank them and give credit to your team! Showing that management is actively involved in guest satisfaction and acknowledges staff performance adds credibility to your reputation.
Have a Strong Management Team
There will always be the occasional guest who will find something to criticize, no matter how high your service standards are. A hotel needs management with the experience, communication skills, and grace to create and execute an effective reputation management plan. Partner with the hotel recruiters at Horizon Hospitality to find the professionals who can maintain and turnaround your property’s image. Contact us to learn more.