News for the Hospitality Executive
Best Practices on Monitoring Hotel Review Sites
An Action Plan for Monitoring
to Internet Chatter about Your Hotel
|By Max Starkov and Mariana Mechoso, August 2008
Hoteliers often ask HeBS how they can monitor the Internet chatter surrounding their hotels and whether or not they should pay for services that offer this type of monitoring. What hotel review websites should you monitor? How often should you check for reviews about your hotel on these websites? Should you provide a rebuttal for reviews? These are just a few of the questions hoteliers ponder on this subject. This article offers a free, quick, and easily implemented action plan for monitoring reviews about your hotel.
It's common knowledge that the Internet has certainly changed how travel consumers perceive the credibility of information. Any discrepancy between "official" and "unofficial" content should be dealt with immediately. A travel supplier has to stand by its product/service, but cannot ignore the “popular vote” for its product’s quality. HeBS surveys and our own research show that consumer-generated content on social media sites and networks is perceived as more credible by online travelers. And the bigger the disparity between official and unofficial content, the bigger the gap in credibility.
Social Media (Consumer-Generated Media) is online content created by Internet users and made available to other Internet users via Web 2.0 interactive technology applications. Hotel review sites such as TripAdvisor.com are part of the Social Media phenomenon.
• TripAdvisor.com: TripAdvisor receives over 30 million visitors every month. The hotel can actively respond to any customer review via the 'Hotel Owner's Page' by using the link located at the bottom of the page with customer reviews and then clicking on the 'Respond to a Review' link.A Word about Web Reputation Monitoring Tools
Several vendors have launched "Web Reputation" monitoring tools for hotels. The cost ranges from the absurd for more enterprise-level applications, to more affordable solutions at a cost of $150-$250/month. These new tools supposedly automate the process of monitoring who says what about the hotel on as many as 25 million consumer-generated sites, plus they claim to automate the hotelier's response to such postings. Here is what we think about services like this one:
One designated person at the property needs to be responsible for monitoring reviews and comments on a weekly basis about your property on Google, TripAdvisor, and Expedia, so they can immediately address any issues and act appropriately. You must authorize someone specific at the property to respond to reviews (both negative and very positive).
Here are some quick tips for responding to customer reviews:
Hoteliers need to work hard to nurture happy customers and avoid negative postings. They must monitor reviews on hotel review sites, TripAdvisor in particular, and react immediately if an extremely positive or negative review is posted. Designate one person at the hotel to monitor these reviews weekly and to use tools like Google Alerts and Technorati to monitor all online chatter about your hotel.
It's much better to react to these postings and show your current and potential customers that you are 100% committed to serving them by addressing any and all problems, rather than ignoring complaints. You may be under the impression that responding to a negative review is a wasted effort because this customer will probably never return. However, your response should be primarily focused on assuring the traveling public that the issue is being addressed and the hotel is dedicated to customer service. Your response will also speak to future potential customers who might stumble on this review and the hotel's response.
As you evaluate your property’s Action Plan for monitoring hotel review
sites, seek advice from an experienced and ROI-centric Internet marketing
hospitality consultancy to help you adopt industry’s best practices and
implement the latest trends.
Max Starkov is President & CEO and Mariana Mechoso is Director, eMarketing Services at Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS), the industry’s leading Internet marketing and distribution strategy consulting firm for the hospitality and travel verticals. Based in New York City, HeBS has pioneered many of the "best practices" in hotel Internet marketing and direct online distribution. HeBS specializes in helping hoteliers build and enhance their direct Internet marketing and distribution strategy, boost the hotel Internet marketing presence, establish interactive relationships with their customers, and significantly increase direct online bookings and ROIs. The firm brings a unique perspective to the industry, gained through working with over 500 hospitality companies including major brands, independent hotels, casinos, convention bureaus and hotel management companies worldwide. Find out more about HeBS at www.hospitalityebusiness.com, or contact HeBS at (212)752-8186 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Also See:||Consumer Generated Media (Blogs, Discussion Boards, Review Sites), a Threat or an Opportunity? / Max Starkov and Jason Price / December 2006|
|Getting Back to the Basics: The Hotelier’s Internet Marketing Action Plan for a Difficult Economy / Max Starkov and Jason Price/ June 2008|