Online Guest Reviews and Their Positive Impact
Today’s internet savvy generation has the power to turn the tables on the success of hotels or B&Bs, and the source of this power are the online ratings and guest reviews received by accommodation providers. These online reviews have now become an excellent marketing tool to improve the image of hotels and B&B’s, justify an increase in tariffs and attract new long term customers. Websites of hotels now take pride in displaying their ratings from various travel websites like TripAdvisor and Booking.com. A judicious management of the online reputation of hotels has many benefits.
- The online reputation of a hotel built by good guest reviews has positive financial implications. Most potential guests are willing to pay higher tariffs for hotels that have good ratings and guest reviews.
- Online guest reviews assume great importance in today’s scenario wherein people do not finalise hotel bookings until they have had a look at the reviews received by the hotel. Good reviews lead to an increase in hotel bookings.
- Bookings for hotels have also been seen to increase if the hotel management takes care to respond to each guest review and this must not be a copy and paste approach. Time must be spent in making each reply personal so that it responds to the specifics mentioned by the reviewer. This creates a positive impact on a website visitor who is looking to book a room at the hotel. With most sites thankfully hotel managers and owners do have the right to respond to reviews they feel unfair by justifying their position and challenging any points that are unwarranted and untrue. Wit is usually a good way of lightening the situation and the writer should not forget forget that many website browsers enjoy reading clever responses!
The Adverse Effects of Negative Guest Reviews!
On the flip side, a negative guest review can spell doom for the hotel as it can affect their image adversely, leading to a drop in popularity in addition to financial losses. A strategic approach to negative reviews can help you control the damage and prevent the creation of a negative image for the hotel.
- Responses to negative reviews can be deliberated upon by addressing the complaints or observations raised by the guests. Such responses create a positive impression about a hotel and lead to an increase in bookings despite negative reviews. The previous guests will be satisfied with your response and the potential guests who are reading the reviews will appreciate the concern shown by the hotel management team in making the guests comfortable.
- Work towards setting up a system for receiving regular reviews. As the good reviews start to build up, a couple of bad reviews will look like an anomaly and are more likely to be ignored by readers.
- Take out time and contact the guest who has given a poor feedback at a personal level either through phone or email. Address his concerns such that his opinion about the hotel is reversed and he does not leave a bad review for the hotel anywhere else on the net.
- Collect feedback from every guest by handing them a feedback form before they leave the hotel premises. This could also help to prevent them posting a review online for all the world to see. Analyse the feedback received and make an effort to address the issues pointed out by the guests. This will help you bring down the negative online reviews.
Neutralise the Negative Guest Reviews!
The direct link between online guest reviews and the reputation of a hotel is crucial for the hotel’s success. Therefore, it has now become necessary to invest time in managing the online reputation of hotels. There is nothing to fear in receiving a couple of poor reviews. If you follow the correct strategy to handle them and reverse the negative impression created by them, this will lead to the creation of a wonderful positive online reputation for the hotel!
There is one caveat to the above and that is negative reviews received about a B&B as opposed to a hotel. Most large hotels can take it on the chin but B&B’s tend to be someone’s home and livelihood and when you stay you will more than likely get to know the owners personally. Posting a negative review of such an establishment can have catastrophic consequences not only on the livelihood of the owners but also on their mental health. Many good B&B’s close down for this very reason as it becomes hard to trust that guests will not stab you in the back as soon as they walk out of the door. What guests should also realise is that everything works with algorithm’s nowadays so lower scores = lower rankings and when completion is fierce the little guys just can’t compete! Caution and great thought must go into what is written about these establishments.