Review Management In Practice

Why Review Management is so important for your hotel business

Increase Customer Satisfaction by developing effective Review Management Strategies. Learn four steps for creating a functioning review management system for your hotel! >>Read an excerpt from the free Whitepaper 'Review Management' >>
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Why Review Management is so important for your hotel business

CA Customer Alliance

Why Review Management?

Are you afraid of your guests' opinions? Feeling lost in the seemingly impenetrable jungle of evaluation and booking portals, feedback forms and complaints? Hiding from your guests and not responding to their feedback will only hurt your business.

Potential guests are well organized and exchange experiences about the hotels they've stayed in on the internet In order to tame the ever increasing volume of guest feedback, you need to develop a review management plan that you can easily incorporate into your routine duties.

Marketing is a crucial aspect of review management because reviews act as both positive and negative multipliers. Therefore, it's essential that you, as a hotelier, use online reviews to your advantage by actively responding to feedback in a constructive, manner which improves your online presence. Learn four steps for creating a functioning review management system for your hotel!

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

Cartoon graphic of a rocketReview Management in Praxis

Honest reviews are a powerful tool in hotel marketing. In a study from the ITB Berlin and the University Worms about 70 percent of hoteliers said they would ask their guests actively to evaluate the hotel on specific platforms. In order to better control the placement of reviews, the ITB Berlin and the University Worms advised hoteliers to establish their own system, which allows them to manage and control feedback themselves.

According to an extensive consumer study by Bright Local, a hotel is only attractive if it has been praised in at least six reviews with a certain level of credibility. Readers are highly critical of reviews, so the person who sent the review matters just as much as what’s been written.

Review Management in Everyday Life

The study by the ITB and University Worms also shows that review management is just as important to success as the general management of the hotel. Half of the hotel directors surveyed for the study said they personally deal with the reviews of their hotel and about a third of all hotels use review management software to provide a comprehensive overview and detailed statistical analysis of all their online reviews.

It’s essential to perform review management tasks regularly and consistently. Save a certain time every day or every second day in order to dedicate yourself to guest feedback. Look for your hotel on social media platforms such as Facebook to see who clicked “Like” and thank that person if applicable. You should also comment on posts and reply to any messages you receive.

The many tasks involved in review management can be simplified through automation.Take advantage of some of the systems already in place in order to use your time more effectively.

For example, many review and booking portals automatically send an email when a new review is posted, which means that you can simply check your inbox instead of having to search through the web for new reviews of your hotel. Having a cloud based review management system is ideal because it provides you with important data regarding your guests and their stay and statistical analysis. You can easily make review management a part of your daily tasks by following our 4-step model.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

4 Steps of Review Management 

Cartoon graphic of a tablet with the word hotel1. Collecting New Reviews

There are two reasons why people want to rate a hotel: the guests who were very satisfied with their stay want to share their great experience and publicly praise the hotel, and guests who were disappointed with their stay want to vent their frustration. The vast majority of guests remain silent and don’t say or post anything about their experience at your hotel. These silent guests can be one of your best marketing tools, so it’s important that they are encouraged and have the opportunity to post a review of your hotel online.

Online reviews also improve your hotel’s searchability and ranking in major search engines like Google. The more online reviews a hotel has, the more credible and attractive they look to potential guests, which stimulates bookings and encourages more reviews. With Customer Alliance’s hotel review system you can invite your guests via email to give an online review of your hotel. You also have the option of forwarding guests with gmail or googlemail accounts directly to your Google Plus profile to leave a review.

2. Distributing the Reviews

Guest reviews of your hotel should be distributed and posted to as many different channels and websites as possible in order to achieve more of visibility online and generate more attention. In particular, you should make sure that you put these reviews on social media platforms such as Facebook. You may already have some reviews on Facebook as guests are now prompted to leave reviews after they “check in” to your hotel, restaurant, or bar.

You need to have a presence on all major platforms in order to main competitive. In order to do this, you need to maintain your profile and always keep it up to date. While this type of presence is necessary, it can sometimes lead to hoteliers paying commissions to portal operators and OTAs. To avoid paying these commissions, you can direct more traffic to your own hotel website by including authentic guest reviews on your homepage. By putting real reviews in a highly visible place on your page you’ll get more direct bookings via your own distribution channels.

3. Analyzing the Reviews

Mapping and analysing your reviews on the many different review portals and social media sites can be a time consuming, inconvenient and expensive task, but it’s a crucial part of quality management. You need to stay up to date on your ratings on each platform and what your standing is compared to the competition.

Fortunately, systems exist which can analyze and combine all of the reviews left on third party channels. This analysis can show you which keywords are mentioned the most in reference to your hotel, letting you identify your strengths and weaknesses. This helps you to recognise your strengths and weaknesses in order to refine them and to communicate them better.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

4. Changing your Online Positioning

The step-by-step approach to overall review management will increase your visibility and searchability on the internet. Placing guest reviews on various websites and portals will increase travelers’ awareness your hotel and its services. A hotel that cares about its guests even after their departure creates of a positive image of your hotel and its staff.

Take advantage of the potential to not only increase customer satisfaction, but to attract new guests and increase revenue. How you respond to guest feedback will be discussed in the following section. *2

*2 Cf. Andrew Shotland, “The Local Reviews EcoSystem – Threats & Opportunities Abound”, 2011-03-02 http://blog.kelseygroup.com/index.php/2011/03/02/the-local-reviews-ecosystem-is-complex/

Cartoon graphic of two people speakingResponding to reviews

It’s not enough to simply gather and post a large number of reviews. In addition to the distribution and analysis of reviews, the direct handling of reviews is a core task of review management.

When guests leave reviews they are often looking for a reaction from your hotel and its staff. This is especially true with guests who leave critical reviews about your hotel. These guests want to feel that you understand their problems and frustration and that you’ll do everything you can to solve the problem. Taking a sensitive, individual approach to customer service is very important, and helps to create a warm, positive image of the hotel to potential guests.

Types of Reviews

There are various types of reviews – factual, praiseworthy, emotional and devastating. It’s important remain objective and respond to all of the comments in a professional manner. One of the best ways to gain consumer confidence is through honesty. Therefore, it’s important not to make false promises and to always remain authentic.

Always treat guests who give you high accolades by thanking the reviewer for their feedback in a manner that gives them a feeling of appreciation and shows potential guests your hospitality. These reviews are often considered unreliable by potential guests, as they don’t usually give an overall picture of the many aspects and services your hotel offers.

Make sure to thank any guest who has written a very good review, especially when it has a variety of feedback. The best response is to thank the author for contributing to your quality assurance. By giving a detailed description of the hotel and its strengths, these reviews are extremely valuable for potential guests.

Even constructive criticism can have a positive impact on your online presence. If you get a good evaluation with suggestions for improvement, please thank the author for their suggestions. If you are already making efforts to improve the areas the guest mentions, shortly describe what’s being done. Also, ask the guest to notify a staff member right away about any problems or issues they have during their visit so that the issue can be resolved immediately so they can have an enjoyable stay. This type of response shows potential guests that your hotel highly values guest feedback, that you are able to accept criticism and that you’re open to working with your guests in order to find a good solution to any problems.

Cartoon graphic of a telephoneEven in the most prestigious companies and hotels can make mistakes. Human error or just unfortunate coincidences can lead to a dissatisfied customers and negative reviews. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and there are actions you can take to minimize or neutralize any damage. The vast majority of dissatisfied guests stated in a study that a simple response to their negative assessment would make them feel reassured. The problem is that very few hoteliers ever respond to such kind of feedback.

Therefore it’s important to be aware of why guests are complaining and to be grateful that they are making you aware of any problems or issues that exist. The few disgruntled guests, who leave complaints, are giving you the chance to satisfy them by employing an effective “crisis management” strategy. This strategy should take a friendly and open approach in order to leave a positive impression on the dissatisfied guest. Should you choose to ignore your guest’s opinions, they will not recommend your hotel and may write scathing reviews on a variety review portals.

Therefore, your approach to negative reviews should be the same as the one you take to positive feedback. Make sure to comment on negative reviews and if possible explain why a particular situation might have arisen and indicate how you’ll prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Make sure to request that the guest give your hotel a second chance.

While it’s easy to address specific problems, it can be very difficult to respond to very negative reviews that are just a general criticism. These reviews are often the result of a direct conflict during the guest’s stay, which leads to a great amount of dissatisfaction, and often ends in a blanket criticism of the hotel and its services. Don’t take these reviews too personally. Your comments on these reviews should be businesslike and to the point. Take some time before responding to these types of reviews in order to ensure that you’re not making an emotional response. Express your disappointment over the unfortunate guest experience and apologize for the inconvenience, but also ask for specific feedback, so that you can make improvements.

These responses make your staff and your hotel appear sincere and authentic when they come from a direct, tangible contact person. Do not answer the feedback from an anonymous company profile, but determine moderators who can represent your hotel in the online world.

Download the complete Whitepaper >> Click here for FREE DOWNLOAD

Fake Reviews

Many hoteliers shy away from online reviews because they’re afraid of fake reviews, which are made maliciously to harm the hotel. Unfortunately, there are competitors who often utilize such measures to have a better position in the market. In fact, nearly one in every two hotel owners has already had to deal with this type of deception. Again, you have to be very vigilant about reading and responding to reviews, and report any false feedback when you can prove without doubt that false statements have been made. It’s important to try to get these reviews deleted by the respective site operators.

With review systems, such as those provided by Customer Alliance, you can check guest reviews before publication for authenticity and contact the author if necessary. You will be supported when you receive negative reviews and during the dispute process you can enter into an open dialogue with your guest before the feedback goes public. Often your guests act rashly and will be more willing to compromise and change their reviews after they’re contacted directly and they’ve had time to calm down.

About Customer Alliance 360° 

Review Management for hotel business

More direct bookings and safety from fake reviews

Customer Alliance is a young, Berlin-based company offering smart cloudbased solutions for hotels. Our 360° Review Management Software Review Analytics helps you to get more real reviews, to improve your online reputation and increase your sales, for example by generating more commission-free bookings through your own distribution channels. With Review Analytics you also have full view on your competitors.

Since officially started in 2009, we grew up to a 70-people-international-team while more than 2500 hotels in 35 countries are improving their workflow with our solutions.

Learn more about our software solution! We will be pleased to show you the advantages of our software in a FREE DEMONSTRATION

 

CA Customer Alliance GmbH
www.customer-alliance.com
Ullsteinstr. 118 Turm B
12109 Berlin, Deutschland
+49 30 762 89 00-0

Press Contact:
Simone Verweyen (Content Manager & Copywriter)
sv@customer-alliance.com



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