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Effectively Manage Your Hotelís Reputation in the 21st Century 
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November 24, 2009 - Long gone are the days of private complaints from guests. The birth of web 2.0 media has taken visitorsí complaints into the public forum of the internet, meaning that a hotelís reputation is under scrutiny by all prospective guests. Guest comments and ratings are now openly accessible, yet countless hoteliers are not tracking what is being said. Published negative reviews can have a detrimental effect on your reservation levels because customers are able to apply a more thorough set of criteria and gain (what they believe to be) a truer picture of a hotel as it is based on past experiences. The 21st century traveller is savvy and far more driven to comparison shop. Review sites such as TripAdvisor provide visible quality measurements and yet a majority of hoteliers are missing out on the value these insights provide Ė to learn from these reviews and to respond effectively to them. 

According to TripAdvisor, 57% of consumers read reviews before deciding to book a hotel. Other statistics put the total influence at around 40% to 65%. Statistics aside, with around 24 million consumers reviewing hotels on TripAdvisor alone every month, it is clear that the amount of guests relying on other peopleís opinion, is growing. Though hoteliers do consider reviews to be important for their reputation, many do not monitor and track what is being said about them on the internet. But is tracking alone enough? To combat negative reviews and ensure hoteliers protect their hotelís good name, action must be taken. For many smaller properties, the problem lies in stretched resources - without adding hotel reputation management to everyday activities. Reputation management requires a commitment of time, time to track reviews and to create management responses or, where necessary and for more escalated cases, to communicate via telephone with the said reviewer. 

Understanding negative reviews is vital for successful reputation management. If time and time again the same problems rear their heads, it is vital action is taken. Often, negative reviews are rooted in the hotel simply not meeting the expectations of the traveller. Perhaps the resort is described and rated as a 4 star on the website, but it simply does not measure against other 4 star hotels and therefore causes disappointment. Reviews can be very insightful in terms of the expectations of the visitor Ė expectations that may have been set by the website content. Hoteliers should be prepared to be flexible and adapt according to the feedback they receive from past guests. However, only by tracking reviews and dialogues about the hotel, can the hotel achieve this.

There are hundreds of automated review management tools available on the market. These range from free tools to tools that require a monthly management fee. Paying over the odds for an automated tool is not wise, especially if you donít have the resources available to actually ďdo somethingĒ about what you read. Finding an agency you can trust to manage your online reputation in its entirety, would certainly be preferable, especially since hiring a full-time person on staff would be far more expensive.  If you are in the favourable position to dedicate time to reputation management, ensure you follow these vital tips to increase your success:

1. Track what is being said about your hotel online. 
2. Respond publicly to the review.
Do Ė Thank the reviewer for their comments, apologise for any genuine negative experiences, explain the measures you are putting in place to prevent such an occurrence again, make yourself available for an offline chat should the reviewer wish to contact you. 

Donít Ė Be Angry, derogatory or get personal with the reviewer, do not accuse the reviewer of being a fraud (this may happen, however it is hard to prove and will not solve the issue of the review and your response being public), do not reply publicly offering a discount or complimentary stay Ė this could encourage abuse. If you do wish to offer this, do it offline and request that you would expect the review to be removed in return. 

3.  Make appropriate changes within the hotel or to the website to address issues that consistently manifest themselves through your reviews. 
4.  Advertise that you have fixed the problem! Add this information to the review site if appropriate. 
5.  Be proactive and encourage your guests to leave their positive feedback when they exit the hotel. 
Ultimately, the manner in which you respond to reviews will shape your hotelís public persona to potential guests. The fact that you are able to do this publicly creates a unique opportunity to address and resolve issues and guarantee you do not have the same problem again. This will lead to better reviews in the future, the power of which should not be underestimated. 

About GlobRes

GlobRes provides online reputation management services and social media management services to hotels globally. 

GlobRes connects hotels with their guests through increased exposure via all channels including GDS, IDS, Digital Marketing and the hotelís own website.  Complete our online contact form for more information.

Editors Note: Please direct all press queries to Samantha Hasler. Tel +41 41 500 0111 or email marketing@globres.comwww.globres.com

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Contact:

Samantha Hasler
Tel +41 41 500 0111
marketing@globres.com
www.GlobRes.com

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Also See: Increasing Your Hotelís Website Position on Google Does not Have to Break the Bank / August 2009
Attention Hoteliers! Beat the Recession with Top Hotel Reservation & Marketing Tools! / July 2009
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