Reputation management for hotels can be a tricky one.
Just a decade ago, reputations were built by way-of-mouth referrals, extensive advertising and good ol’ fashioned public relations campaigns.
The landscape has changed… and Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor are changing the way reputations are made (or destroyed). The power of a single dissatisfied guest has increased exponentially as technology allows the conversations to traverse thousands of people in a matter of weeks. They also retain their permanence in the online arena.
So how do hotels cope with this? Clearly, we’re talking about a double-edged sword here. A good online reputation can deliver a ton of business your way and vice-versa, a bad one can do some serious damage.
Here are some simple rules that can help hotels along the way. I say “simple” because this is a vast topic and I don’t want to undermine it’s importance by claiming that a blog post covers it all. Call this “The Essentials of Reputation Management“.
- Who’s talking about you?
If the conversation is about you, wouldn’t you want to be a part of it? Set up a system where you get alerted to whatever conversations are taking place about you. Google Alerts, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google reviews… make the time to periodically check on these channels.
- Get in on the conversation
Positive or negative, you really should have an active say in the conversation. If the tone is positive, say “Thank you”. If it’s negative, acknowledge the person’s viewpoint and strive to see things from their point of view. Nobody is perfect. We all know that. But if you acknowledge publicly that there’s room for improvement, you’ve just done your reputation a huge favor. Quick tip – watch out for trolls.
- Perhaps you can benefit from a negative conversation
People who take to the social media to express their dissatisfaction with your brand have a latent qualification. If they are going to be so vocal about bashing you, they’re also likely to praise you publicly if you can resolve a matter amicably. It’s a great opportunity to turn a dissatisfied guest into a brand ambassador. As I said above, you will find a few clowns along the way… and you’ll just have to learn to ignore them.
- Don’t take criticism personally
People are generally more concerned about themselves rather than you. Agreed? They’re not on a mission to destroy you personally. Understand that and approach the matter in a non-judgemental way.
- Don’t be modest!
If you get praised, don’t blush and say “Aww shucks”. Revel in the moment. Respond back to show how delighted you are… Tweet it, post it on Facebook. Squeeze every ounce of mileage out of it. Heck you’ve earned it, so why not?
- Too busy? Outsource!
This can be a very real scenario. Yes, there are a ton of channels that one needs to monitor and you simply may not have the time to do it all. Look for companies that do this for you. Each week or fortnight, they can report to you about all the conversations/reviews they’ve spotted online. Now you can decide how you want to approach or deal with them. One tip – Never outsource the responses to reviews. Nobody knows your business better than you do. Take the time to address these issues yourself.
Hope these tips helped you with your plans to build a better reputation. Feel free to share this post with others who might benefit from it. It doesn’t just apply to hotels, you know… Use the links below.
Till next time…
Host – Hotel Marketing Podcast