“According to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, not only are more adults researching online before they buy, 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about the product or services they buy”.
With the advent of new and easier ways to research travel choices, making sure your property’s online reputation is positive can be the difference between low occupancy and higher profits. What past guests say about a property is far more important than what any sales or promotional material has to say.
Reputation management is staying on top of what is being said about your brand and handling those conversations in a responsible way. Did you know that a good review can be positive or negative ? Positive reviews are wonderful and it would be great if people only left positive reviews but a negative review can be just as valuable for your business. How? Negative reviews give you valuable information on improving the quality of service you are providing your customers. A good review is when the reviewer is being honest and fair with their review. If they had a terrible experience at your hotel, they have the right to report their unhappy experience wherever they like. It’s your job as a business owner to monitor for these types of reviews and do what you can to make it right and make sure it doesn’t happen to other quests.
Sometimes negative reviews are made by disgruntled employees or even your competition and there is nothing honest or fair about reviews made under these circumstances. Often, the business owner will take a very irresponsible approach to try and hide bad reviews. A bad review is a review that is fake (regardless if it has a negative or positive tone). When performing web audits, we often see evidence of a businesses creating fake reviews to try and push the negative review out of sight. Here is the problem with that tactic….people are smart and they can tell the difference between a fake review and a real one. The business now looks untrustworthy and the bad review gains strength in the eye of the reader.
As a business owner, you need a strategy in dealing with bad reviews. Here are some tips that will help you get started:
Monitor - monitor review sites, blogs and forums on a weekly if not daily basis for conversation about your brand.
- Set up Alerts on Google and Yahoo and subscribe to TripWatch Newsletter at Tripadvisor.com for your area.
- Search your key terms in Google, Yahoo and Bing weekly.
- Monitor Twitter. Here are tools to get you started:
Monitter – A real-time Twitter monitor for up to three keywords at a time.
TweetBeep – This tool provides hourly Twitter alerts sent via e-mail. You can specify keywords, people and links to track.
Tweet Later – TweetLater has a number of features for Twitter users, and it also monitors Twitter and e-mails you a digest of the tweets that contain your specified keywords. You can also use this to track your @replies.
Twitter Search – Twitter Search was formally Summarized. It searches all Twitter activity for keywords, links or user activity in real time.
Take Action – now that your monitoring what’s being said, it’s time to take action. Respond to negative reviews immediately. Show viewers that you are more than willing to make things better for the unhappy customer. Make sure to respond to positive reviews too. Thanking people is polite! Remember that great customer service applies to the online world too.
Develop a Plan- if you are getting a lot of negative reviews, you need to evaluate what’s being said and develop a plan for handling the problem. If several complaints state that the bathrooms are dirty in your hotel, chances are, they are! Make sure house keeping gives extra attention to these areas and leave review cards in the bathroom that specifically ask… how clean was your bathroom? When happy guests checkout, remind them to leave a review.
The bottom line on reputation management is that it is crucial for any company that wants to enjoy resounding success. The importance of making a positive impression in the search engines and on social media sites simply cannot be stressed enough. The difference between a so-so online reputation and a glowing one can mean thousands of dollars in profit. Being in the dark about your company’s reputation is a surefire way to lose your competitive edge. Getting on board with reputation management services is easy – don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact us for more information regarding reputation management.