How To Improve Your Hotel’s Online Reviews
As a hotel, your ratings and reviews tell potential customers how likely they are to be satisfied with their decision to stay with you. Naturally, the higher your rating on a platform such as google, the more likely someone is to book. It is as simple as that. Read on for information about how to improve your hotel’s online reviews and reputation.
The importance of hotel reviews
The impact of online hotel reviews is increasingly visible. Although traditional advertising and marketing strategies still play a large role in the success of a business, it is reviews which truly draw guests in, or alternatively, deter them. Reviews are after all, very revealing of the kind of quality and experience your business offers. We live in a world whereby a 0.2 point difference in your online ratings – compared to your competitor – is the difference between a booking or a lack of. Here are some examples of just why hotel reviews should be well integrated into your management strategy:
- 81% of travellers frequently or always read reviews before booking a hotel.
- 96% consider reviews important in the research phase.
- 91% of 18-34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 79% will read between six and 12 reviews before making a purchase decision.
- 88% of travellers filter out hotels with an average star rating below three.
- 32% eliminated those with a rating below four.
- When deciding between two similar properties, 79% of consumers are more likely to reserve a room at the hotel with a higher rating.
- 52% of individuals would never book a hotel that had zero reviews.
- Customers will value guest ratings over a hotel’s brand 72% of the time.
- Customers will value guest ratings over a hotel’s brand 72% of the time.
- Four out of five believe a hotel that responds to reviews cares more about its customers.
- 85% agree that a thoughtful response to a review will improve their impression of the hotel.
Don’t let your property go unnoticed. As more and more guests turn to each other for advice and tips regarding where to stay as they travel across the world, your reviews are highly important. It’s time to start paying attention to your reputation; responding to your feedback, keeping track of review sites, acknowledging comments on social media, learning from criticism and boosting your ratings. Might we mention here, that not only do good reviews equate to better reputation, but your ability to charge more per room.
In this article, we outline the very best ways in which you as a hotel owner can start improving your reputation online.
1. Engage with your reviews
Whilst responding to customer reviews might not directly increase your ‘score out of five’, it does offer you a way to improve your reputation and brand image, as well as offer a sense of approachability. Hotels should ensure that they have a strategy in place when it comes to dealing with online reviews. Whether this involves a weekly or daily session, one staff member should be responsible for keeping their eye on reviews and responding to guests.
When responding to a positive review, thanking a guest for their time in reviewing your property, inviting them back to stay again, and encouraging any further feedback they might have is enough. When encouraging further feedback you might like try offering your email address. This welcomes further communication with the customer, adds a memorable and personal touch to your communication and can sometimes result in constructive criticism from a guest (away from a review platform).
Naturally, negative reviews are always a little more difficult to handle. However, they don’t always have to mean disaster. The most savvy of operators welcome the opportunity to respond to customers’ complaints, because it gives them a chance to shine out amongst the crowd. The very best way to handle a negative review involves the following:
- Addressing the guest as quickly as possible
- Writing in a professional and polite manner
- Showing your understanding and apologising where relevant
- Sharing the changes you intend to make to avoid similar issues
- Taking the issue offline for further communication
Responding to your online reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave. If you don’t already have a review strategy at your hotel, we recommend starting today.
2. Review your service style and staff training
As soon as you begin understanding negative reviews and feedback as learning opportunities, your hotel can begin to act, adapt and improve its ratings across various platforms. Your reviews are an invaluable source of information which let you know as a hotel owner, what you’re doing well and where you’re not hitting the mark. One of the main complaints or feedback topics at a hotel involves staff and customer service standards. This can include comments regarding restaurant staff, reception, house keeping and much more.
Make it part of your review strategy to sift through your reviews and pick out points for improvement. Once you’ve done this, it can lead directly into your staff training sessions. Has more than one guest mentioned a less than perfectly-clean shower upon arrival? Do customers talk about restaurant staff’s inability to recommend wines or show menu knowledge? Allow your findings to trickle down into relevant departments. Perhaps it’s time for a review of cleaning protocols or a wine training session held by a local supplier. Offer incentives and share your business goals with employees to encourage their enthusiasm and help them feel like an integral cog in the business.
3. Request feedback whilst guests are still on the property
The number one way to avoid negative or explosive reviews is to encourage feedback before a guest leaves. It is better for everyone involved if issues are dealt with in person, quickly, efficiently and fairly. Make it your goal to solve a problem before a guest leaves the building and you’ll be far less likely to receive a negative review.
There are a number of ways to capture criticism before a guest leaves your property, however we highly recommend efficient and approachable verbal communication. If you don’t already, it’s time to implement a strategic feedback system which allows your customers space to comment on your products and service. Below, we provide three standard timepoints at which feedback can be received:
After check-in | As a guest walks past reception and heads out the doors of the hotel, ask them if their room is to their satisfaction.
Throughout a dining experience | When meals are served as well as upon payment, check with guests to ensure their experience met your hotel’s standards.
Upon check-out | As a guest hands over their keys, specifically request their comments on their stay.
Looking to capture even more feedback? You can also hand guests a feedback form to fill out, either at checkout or by placing it in every room for each new guest. Once you have collected responses, feel free to contact guests where necessary acknowledging their comments.
4. Request reviews after check-out
One of the best ways to improve your hotel’s online reviews, is to get more of them! Not everyone reviews your hotel after their stay. In fact, a disproportionate number of the very best and very worst experiences are presented within your collection of reviews. Therefore, if you encourage more of the people who had a generally good time to rate your business, you’ll find that your ratings will increase dramatically.
Integrate a follow-up email into your hotel’s review strategy, which nudges guests towards leaving a review. Let them know in your email how much their comment means to your hotel and show your appreciation for their time. On top of this, ensure that your email leads guests directly to the sites you’re looking for reviews on. If you don’t make it incredibly quick and easy for someone to write their review, they are far less likely to do it at all.
5. Go above and beyond
Whilst it sounds very obvious, improving a guest’s stay is the only surefire way to increase your ratings and boost your online reputation. The key to building a successful business and a higher popularity ranking is by paying attention to your customers’ needs. Below, we provide some tips for a smoother, more personal and special guest experience:
- Provide every incoming guest with a welcome email they day before check-in
- Ask guests – via email or in person upon check-in whether there is anything extra you can do to make their stay more comfortable
- Offer guests restaurant or bar discounts
- Show your loyalty by provide incentives for future visitation such as discounts
- Reveal your location knowledge and provide helpful information about your region
- Remember and use a customer’s name during their stay
- Always be fully-staffed and avoid long wait times
- Offer complimentary or extra items or services
How can 1834 Hotels help your hotel?
1834 Hotels is an experienced hospitality management company and consultant specialising in the overall management of hotels, motels, pubs and resorts within the hospitality and tourism sectors.
Offering a complete “white label” management solution for investors, free hold owners or lease hold owners. 1834 Hotels facilitate the undertaking of strategic operational, finance, WHS, sales, marketing, and revenue management for hospitality businesses.
For more information about how 1834 Hotels could help your business and improve your hotel’s online reviews and reputation, click here.