News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Josiah Mackenzie
A negative online reputation can severely limit a hotel’s ability to succeed today. With more and more people using the internet to make their travel plans, reviews by other travelers are playing an increasingly large role.
If your hotel has received negative reviews, you need a solid action plan to work around them. And that’s exactly what I intend to do in this post. Let’s get started…Step 1: Listen to the feedback
What are people saying about you? Set up tracking tools to be aware of both praise and criticism.
Knowing exactly what your guests are saying helps you take appropriate action. Many times negative reviews require action at an operational level, so it helps to have a system for sharing this information with the management team.
It’s useful to note that not all reviews are created equal. As any hotel marketing manager will attest, negative reviews typically come in two forms:
Step 2: Respond to the reviews
When you see a negative review of your property, it can be tempting to fire back with a nasty response. But be careful – doing that can damage your reputation even further. Instead, follow these best practices for responding to negative reviews:
If I had a poor experience at a hotel, this type of management response would do absolutely nothing for me. I want specifics! It’s unlikely I would return in the future to see if my stay is “much more enjoyable.”Step 3: Fix what’s broken
There’s no getting around this. Fundamental flaws that repeatedly leave guests unsatisfied cannot be glossed over with a slick marketing campaign. That’s denial at best and borders on unethical.
Train or change your staff. Bring in a consultant. Hire a designer…or maybe just a plumber for that leaky sink! Do whatever it takes with the resources you have.Step 4: Tell people you’ve listened and fixed the problem
Now that changes have been made, you need to go back to the audience and let them know you listened and acted on their suggestions.
Effective online reputation management is more than just playing defense – it’s all about proactively building a positive buzz. This is pretty straightforward stuff, but is an essential ingredient of this action plan.
Ask satisfied guests for reviews. Specifically, ask them to review your hotel on sites where you’re struggling the most. If you’re not sure, start with most popular: TripAdvisor.
Launch a special blogger’s campaign. As Malcolm Gladwell taught us in The Tipping Point, obtaining the help of a few influential people is essential to spreading a message. In the online travel community, bloggers often act as Gladwell’s Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen – playing a big role in shaping perceptions. Take advantage of this by finding authors of the most influential blogs, and inviting them to review your hotel.
Begin an aggressive content publishing effort. Content is the key to staying relevant in today’s web. It’s also the best way to build a loyal fanbase. Publishing a large amount of very useful content in multiple media channels is the only way to make sure your voice is heard. It takes a lot of work, but there’s no better way to build a positive web presence.Dealing with Negative Reviews FAQs
Can I remove negative reviews?
Yes and no. TripAdvisor lets you start over with a clean slate if there was a change in management, but not if you did a renovation.
Can I get in touch with a guest to resolve a problem?
Usually you can only use a website’s management response function to publish a reply. You may try leaving a customer service phone number to encourage offline resolution.
I think a competitor is writing negative reviews.
I recommend you contact the review site directly, and explain your reason for concern.
Can I ask someone to remove their negative review?
Most sites do not allow this. You’ll need to follow the steps above to improve your reputation.Recommended resources for further research
Gradigio Hotel Marketing
|Also See:||Dangerous Hotel Search Engine Optimization Myths Exposed /Josiah Mackenzie / June 2009|