A Management Review Tool is an essential component of a Hotelier’s toolkit. With the evolution of online reviews, on-site plugins and social media, hoteliers have to constantly look at the big picture – who is talking about the brand? Where and what are they saying? From dedicated review sites to Meta Search platforms, the answer is multi-faceted and constantly changing.
Capture visitor sentiment accurately, with feature-rich review tools
Textual reviews have traditionally been the standard, coupled with ratings, recommendations, and other parameters. Now, with aggregators like TripAdvisor offering picture reviews or even video reviews from HolidayIQ, review management tools must transform and incorporate these modules.
Picture reviews as seen on TripAdvisor & Expedia
Source: Tripadvisor.com and Expedia.com
The importance of quality reviews cannot be overstated. 53% users will not book a hotel unless it has sufficient reviews, TripAdvisor reports, and if hoteliers respond to 65% of them, a hotel’s rating rises to an average of 4 stars. An effective model for ensuring return customers, as well as informing and attracting new prospects, is by providing users myriad ways to evaluate their hospitality experience and share feedback.
This makes built-in picture reviews support and powerful response mechanisms, critical for modern hotel & hospitality ORM teams.
ORM’s role and picture reviews simply cannot be ignored
Typically, the ORM market impacts 80% of a hotel’s workforce and functionalities. Based on the brand’s repute, stakeholders would define marketing campaigns, allocate budgets, hire employees, expand presence, and so on. However, with new channels for reviewing and insights-dissemination emerging every day, hoteliers are faced with a complex task – how do we achieve an end-to-end view of customer chatter? And how do we respond effectively, across formats, platforms, languages, and locations?
Modern review management tools leverage state-of-the-art technology to address these requirements. Data from multiple sources are collated, passed through a semantic engine that ‘reads’ the entire review, analyzed according to KPIs like service or value-for-money, and finally, a response is elicited.
However, review management tools often don’t factor in the features available on the original review platform. Google Reviews, for instance, has supported images for a while now. Yet, the same content would appear without the embedded pictures when viewed from most review management solutions. Social sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and Foursquare have been popular sources for travel inspiration for a while now and require the utmost attention from hoteliers. However, marketing executives lack adequate visibility, and must constantly cross-check with the source-site to ensure their response is in alignment with the visitor’s original comment.
The process, then, becomes tedious, protracted, and frequently, error-prone.
5 Reasons Why Images are Key to Revenue Generation:
1.Customers can easily weed out fake reviews, giving the hotel more credibility-
With each platform showcasing hundreds of reviews, readers are likely to skip one-liners and generic commentary. Picture reviews add authenticity to visitor experiences, encouraging others to seek out the same. Hoteliers that acknowledge these reviews further ratify the veracity of the experience, reassuring new prospects.
2.Imagery and graphical presentation is central to F&B marketing-
When it comes to restaurants and fine dining, a picture has always been worth a thousand words. Aesthetically pleasing F&B imagery helps promote in-house F&B services/outlets and intelligent responses, here, can also boost customer loyalty.
Imagine great service, captured in a photograph that accurately recreates the experience for a prospective customer. How dishes are plated, carts or trolleys used for live services, or even ‘food theatre’ where recipes are finished at the table, could land a destination on a tourist’s must-visit list.
3.Customer images that mirror pictures shared by the hotel are likely to drive bookings-
Pictures shared from the hotel’s own brand handle could be viewed as biased or strategically placed. While there are several ways these could be made more attractive (like opting for natural light, avoiding distorted perspectives, and showcasing nearby landmarks) customer-shared images remain invaluable.
These are perceived as realistic and essentially, objective, adding credibility to service excellence, cleanliness across public areas, and the quality of essentials such as bathrooms or laundry facilities. Further, reviews featuring elements that closely resemble hotel images could positively impact Brand Image, increasing reservation numbers.
4.Unique features, like infinity pools, outdoor views, and in-house facilities, can give you an edge-
In a hypercompetitive hospitality landscape, amenities that offer a competitive advantage need to be featured prominently. Popular business locations, for instance, will have 10s of hotels, operating largely at the same price-point. Reviews focused on distinctive features and validated by a response from the hotel, could bring an all-important edge.
5.The first impression is, generally, the last impression-
While browsing, images are far more likely to capture and hold attention than textual content. This makes a negatively positioned picture, even when accompanied by neutral-sounding text, more compelling than a positive text-only review. And with the advent of innovative image-sharing channels, like Instagram’s ‘Moments’ which are accessible for just 24 hours and Foursquare-able ‘Pins’ to preserve great finds, the landscape is continually evolving. Hoteliers who cannot access images directly from their review management platform, risk understanding this feedback only partially.
Select a Robust and Progressive Management Review Tool
At the end of the day, the task of a review management tool is to make hoteliers’ lives easier, without requiring them to scan through every channel, multiple meta search engines, and various social media sites for mentions and comments. Today, social media presents a hive of formats, shareable graphics, and channels. Instagram’s ‘Boomerang’ feature is a popular standard, and live videos – on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat – add a dynamic quality, ensuring more views.
Without a platform that allows pictures to be embedded in-app, executives have to switch between interfaces – a counterintuitive and time-consuming responsibility.
With imagery and multi-media feedback more popular than ever before, and readers starting to lose attention after a mere 8 seconds, ORM products have to deliver comprehensive solutions. This would include translation support, direct response without leaving the interface, auto-response for common use-cases and detailed analytics.
Picture reviews supported on BrandGain, RateGain’s Online Reputation Management Solution
There you have it; remember, the discerning global traveller uses a plethora of tools, accesses multiple platforms, and works with a complex mix of vendors to discover the best travel experience. Great images are then an indispensable value-add for the hotelier, adding flesh-and-blood to their customer ‘attraction, retention, and loyalty’ game-plan.
About the Author
Manager – Product Management, RateGain
Anupam is a qualified CSPO from Scrum Alliance and completed his Revenue management from Cornell University. He is an SME for RateGain for Hospitality on Revenue, Distribution, Online Reputation Management and have represented the company as a key note speaker at multiple international conferences. He is envisaged and built end to end Online Reputation Management product which encompasses Social Listening and Guest Feedback platform as well. The product has a client base of close to 1500 Global Brands as customers with Annual Growth of 20% YoY.