While planning their travel, people usually lay down their requirements and then search for the best property to stay from a multitude of options available, online or offline. Undoubtedly, there are a plethora of choices available nowadays, where ranking and reviews play a big role in helping travellers narrow down their choices and take a quick decision. Of course, the hotels with less or no reviews at all are considered less trusted by travellers, since it indicates that probably not many people must have visited or liked that property. This, in turn, means less number of bookings for the hotel and therefore a loss of revenue. Not an ideal situation, certainly!
It is quite clear from the above that guest feedback and reviews are of utmost importance in the current scenario, on which depends the fate of the hotel – reputation, reservations and ultimately, revenues. With so much at stake, hotels all around the world are laying extra emphasis on delivering an excellent experience to their guests and then ensuring that most of them share their experience, which would help them improve their services and grow their business by ensuring high visibility.
An increase in the number of reviews (positive or negative), or the lack of it, can make or break the image of the hotel. Moreover, with the internet being a magical thing in the hands of all, travellers can check reviews of any hotel around the world in seconds. As a result, the industry has become cautious than ever before. The significance and volume of online reviews have grown over the period of time. In fact, Online Reputation Management has emerged as a key function in the hospitality industry, with distinct, expert professionals dedicated towards the fulfilment of the task.
Having said that, it is certainly not that easy to have your guests scribble a few lines or perhaps a few words about their experience at your hotel. Below are some quick tips for hoteliers to encourage maximum guest feedback and reviews –
1) The earlier, the better – Do not delay the process of feedback collection; the guest might lose interest to share one if it gets too late. The best time to ask them about the same is while they are still at your property, preparing for check-out. This presents an excellent opportunity for hoteliers to collect authentic feedback and you still have an opportunity to transform a negative experience into a positive one.
In case you are unable to collect the feedback at the time of check-out, make sure you do the same within a few days or maximum within a week. If done later than that, it is most likely going to be a futile attempt.
2) Know your guest – Each guest arriving at your hotel is going to be unique, having a different set of expectations, outlook, choice and of course, different age and gender. Hence, sticking to only one way of feedback collection might not lead to results and adopting different channels for a different set of guests could be the ideal way. Of course, one particular guest should not be bombarded with multiple kinds of surveys, or you will end up irritating him. Therefore, it is important to know your guest right and pick up the best channel for feedback collection, depending upon the type of guest. For example, a paper survey might work well for some, while an online email survey will be better suited for a few others. Some travellers might choose to drop a review on the hotel’s mobile app, while some might take to a review platform.
3) Deliver a fantastic experience – Make feedback collection an exciting activity, which is possible only if you know that you have done the ground work right; i.e. when you make sure that the guests have had a delightful stay at your property and everything was in the right order according to their requirements. Once you know that you are at a flawless side, and you have given the guests enough good points to talk about, you must not be scared to ask for a feedback. Moreover, a guest, if satisfied, is most likely to leave a positive note and will be most pleased to do the same at the time of check-out itself. So, grab the opportunity and increase your chances of generating maximum reviews, and that too, positive.
4) Be precise – Guests might choose to skip the feedback process entirely if the survey method is too cluttered or lengthy. Therefore, it is important to keep it simple and to ask relevant questions, which would not take too much time and serve your purpose at the same time. For example, asking the guests how was their stay and what is the one thing that could be done to improve their experience, usually works well. In addition, in case you are providing an e-check out the facility to your guests, you could also redirect them to publish their reviews on Google reviews where feedback can be shared quite conveniently.
5) Enhance your online presence, especially on social media – A key platform with tremendous brand building potential where you can easily receive maximum guest feedback is online, especially through the social media channels. In fact, according to a survey, 93% of global travellers make their bookings based on online reviews. A separate survey reveals that 53% of the travellers would not even book a hotel that does not have online reviews. These reviews can be positive or negative, but the number of online reviews definitely play an important role. Hoteliers must keep a constant check on this channel and devise an appropriate strategy to get maximum feedback there and to respond to the same in the best manner. Remember, today’s tech savvy traveller is constantly glued to social media for even the tiniest requirements, and hotels with the right social media strategy could easily take a front position in the competitive race, and attract maximum bookings.
6) Do not offer incentives for reviews – Hotels must definitely encourage guests to provide reviews and should not be afraid of asking for it outright. However, they should not resort to the method of providing incentives (freebies and discounts) to guests for doing the same, as it could hamper the image of the hotel to a large extent. Incentives could be offered for a variety of other things so that the guest becomes happy and is automatically prompted to share a feedback. Offering incentives could be looked down by some as a cheap tactic and the review could be regarded as a paid review.
7) Convey that you value the guest feedback – Asking for feedback should never come across as a forced exercise. Rather, the guest should know that the hotel values their presence at the property and therefore their feedback is extremely valuable. Physical materials like window stickers and medium sized cards stating the importance of guest feedback could be placed at right locations that work as constant reminders to them that it is important for them to share their experience.
Follow these quick tips to generate a higher volume of guest feedback, which would further improve your online position and ranking on search engines and review sites. As your visibility improves, your potential guests can easily locate your hotel online. Moreover, when they flip through the feedback (positive or negative), your hotel certainly appears reliable and trustworthy in comparison to competitors. Remember, your guests are your true brand advocates!