“It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute”
– Will Rogers
Well said, indeed! Earning a good reputation is certainly not an overnight job. It is a continuous and incremental attempt towards high rating on online review sites and maximum positive reviews. Moreover, ensuring that online reputation management only gets better with time is a key concern and the topmost priority of all hotel revenue managers.
Reviews rank second only to price as the most important factor considered by travelers looking for hotels. The hospitality industry is all about having a good service; a hotel or a restaurant known for its quality of service would definitely have a higher number of footfalls and of course good reviews.
The Role of Technology and Social Media in ORM
Technology has advanced much and we have come a long way using it. It is the age of the Internet, where we all in a way have become expert critics, thanks to the growing use of social media. An angry or a dissatisfied guest in today’s world would hardly keep quiet, especially when he is aware of the powers extended by social media, which allows a guest to openly show all the frustration or discontentment to everyone thrashing the hotel’s image to bits.
The reputation of the hotel, therefore, lies in the hands of the tech-savvy traveler, who is glued to the internet round the clock and is happy scribbling a few lines to share his experience with the online community that could very well influence their perception and booking decisions.
The job of hotels is getting tougher day-by-day in an attempt to maintain a superior ranking, and they strive hard to deliver better guest experiences, which would lead to better rating and reviews.
Online Reputation Management tools are even more important for big chain hotels and enterprises, having many branches to monitor. Technology vendors are offering solutions with enterprise dashboards that makes comprehensive monitoring much easier, with one single screen.
ORM as a Key Function in Hotels
Online Reputation Management (ORM) has therefore emerged as a key function in the hotel industry, with dedicated groups of experts aligned to regularly monitor all social media channels and review sites to monitor and analyze what is being written about them, strategically responding to all comments, and taking rectifying steps for the negative feedback. Hence, Online Reputation Management has gained far more importance in the current era and the practice has now become an indispensable tool for measuring guest satisfaction.
The Online Reputation Index is used to evaluate the hotel’s performance and compare results with comp-set. A high online reputation index means that your customer service is indeed great and you are exceeding the expectations of the guests. Hoteliers use this index to set quality objectives for themselves as well as to optimize online pricing and distribution strategies. Real time review on the go is also possible using the mobile app.
A recent study shows that a mere 1% increase in reputation score leads to a 6.9% increase in Average Daily Rate – ADR. The same 1% increase in reputation score leads to 1.4% increase in occupancy.
Thus, there is a direct and a high correlation between ORM, occupancy and revenue volumes. A better Online Reputation Management score definitely translates into higher revenue for hotels.
Traditionally, ADR, RevPAR and occupancy rates have been the only KPAs in the hotel industry. However, in the technology-driven world, other KPAs like ratings, rankings, the number of reviews, guest satisfaction index, etc. have been added to this list. This again points towards the growing importance of ORM.
In fact, 60% of all hotel bookings are now being done digitally, which means that a high volume of business in the industry is being generated through online sources. Out of this, OTAs have been driving the majority of the bookings (almost 72%)
Thus, OTAs have a strong control over the hotel booking scenario. The review platforms offered by OTAs are, therefore, regarded as a highly credible source of information for travelers, which directly influence the hotel occupancy rates and bookings. Search for a hotel online, and the top results would be its profile on various review websites and social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Definitely, this cannot be ignored!
According to a survey, 93% of prospect travelers refer online reviews when booking a hotel. Furthermore, 53% of the traveler would not even book a hotel that does not have online reviews.
Clearly, in such a scenario, positive reviews can work wonders for the hotel, while negative ones can prove to be detrimental for their growth. So, if you are a hotelier wanting to drive maximum bookings, make sure that you have lots of positive reviews spread across multiple platforms.
Working backwards, in order to accumulate positive reviews, make sure you deliver great customer service. Well, the success mantra is to include Online Reputation Management as a part of the big business strategy of your hotel. In order to achieve this, hotels can roll out Guest Feedback Surveys to get real and true feedback from the guests during or post stay.
A separate research has suggested that responding to a complaint on social media increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%. With such figures available, it is easy to say that online reputation management is a great revenue generation tool, justifying the reason why pro- revenue managers are taking it very seriously and are keeping a close watch at it with daily, weekly and monthly reports about their reviews and ratings.
In fact, it is rightly said that reputation is equivalent to revenue; a good reputation means good revenue figures and vice versa. How to leverage online reviews to have a flawless reputation that increases revenue is what the hotels of today are constantly trying to figure out.
Some Best Practices and Tactics for Effective ORM
- Own your Hotel Listing – The primary step for improving your hotel reputation is to claim and own up your hotel listing on a number of social media platforms, online review sites, and search engines. Claiming your listings and filling these with information about your property will also help you successfully set your flag on key digital properties apart from your own brand website and help you “be found” more easily by potential travelers who are present on social media, review sites, and search engines to find great places to stay.
- Follow your guests where they are – Know, which channels your prospect guests, are using to make booking decisions and build your hotel reputation on those online channels that are most significant to them.
- Get noticed with high-Quality Pictures – Adding good pictures of your hotel, aids prospect guests in decision making while still in browsing mode. According to TripAdvisor research, hotels with at least one photo receive 225 percent more booking inquiries than those with no photos.
- Create a process for collecting latest Guests Reviews – Be proactive in encouraging your hotel guests to be more verbal about their stay experiences. One of the most effective ways to generate reviews is to create a dedicated review landing page for your guests. This page can be facilitated through the use of reputation management software, send customer feedback surveys, etc. More recent the reviews, better it is for your ranking on metasearch sites.
- Measure Customer Loyalty through Net Promoter Score Surveys – NPS Surveys can easily help you identify and happy and unhappy customers by ranking on a scale of 0 to 10. NPS survey helps you categorize your guests into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
- Use Technology and Analytical Tools – Data backed companies use analytical tools to help get more valuable insights with text and sentiment analysis to get more value and information from customer shared reviews and data. Such an analysis help you identify specific service aspects, hotel amenities and operational issues your guests have loved, liked, disliked or hated. This in return helps you improvise in specific areas that matter the most to your guests.
- Invest in Automated Tools – Managing your ORM end to end is too much work. Invest in an advanced and comprehensive Online Reputation Management Tool; it helps you automate the entire process by centralizing all the reviews from all the different sites and analyze reviews also provide actionable insights on the guest feedback to help you improve and stay on top.
Hotels with deep focus on quality, service, and the customer would definitely enjoy a strong goodwill and in turn, have a greater market share. On the other hand, those who neglect their online reputation management would die short term. Those that are going to win in the long run will be the ones who will continue to get positive reviews from all their guests.
Winning hotels could also be the ones that keep improving their services based on the customer feedback. After all, the customer is the king!
To get a free trial of our Hotel Online Reputation Management System, click here.