Fresh isn’t just important for the restaurant industry. When it comes to customer reviews and feedback, having a lot of positive, freshly posted reviews keeps travel and tourism businesses at the top of TripAdvisor Ratings.
Hotel managers take note: An article on SoftwareAdvice.com details exactly how the Austin Four Seasons Hotel jumped 26 spots to claim the spot for top-ranked hotel in their city in short time. (blog.softwareadvice.com)
In a very astute marketing move, Rob Hagelberg, General Manager, concentrated on customer engagement through social media rather than just relying on the reputation the Four Seasons brand has for quality around the world.
TripAdvisor.com has a ranking system called the Popularity Index, which ranks hotels according to the quality, quantity, and timeliness of client reviews.
Hagelberg’s four best practices leverage customer engagement and hotel reputation management to secure top rankings on the site by getting noticed on the Popularity Index:
1. Monitor social activity to identify new customer reviews
The key is to quickly respond to both positive and negative reviews. Not only does this demonstrate that the hotel values hearing from recent customers, but responding to feedback also seems to encourage other clients to write reviews. If hotel management includes links to TripAdvisor in emails, that can also encourage clients to submit a review.
2. Give staff a deadline for responding to negative reviews
The only thing worse than receiving a negative review is having other people (including potential clients!) read a negative review that goes unanswered. As part of your hotel and resort social media marketing strategy, encourage managers to reply to a negative review of three stars or less within 24 hours of posting. Involve the employees responsible for the departments receiving complaints so they can offer insight and ideas about the guest and the situation. This really improves the quality of the response and helps staff stay on top of continuous training and improved processes.
3. Use a standard template to respond to all negative reviews
This ensures responses from hotel or resort management are consistent in approach and tone. Additionally, the reply accepts responsibility for the problem raised and proves that hotel management is going to make changes to solve the issue. This is particularly important now that replies are public. Hagelberg shared that Four Seasons managers in Austin always do the following:
- Thank the customer for making time to share feedback.
- Acknowledge any positive elements mentioned.
- Apologize for the specific complaint or issue.
- Give an overview a specific plan to fix the problem or remedy the issue and
- Invite the customer to return.
4. Leave a personalized message to thank people for their positive review
Isn’t that personal touch and warmth what people expect in the hospitality and travel industry? If a customer notes something exceptional about staff or their visit, thank them for taking time to post a review. Then underscore the great experience by replying in the same warm way that would offer great customer service in person. Make note of special milestones celebrated (congratulate the newlyweds or anniversary couple) and add your own thoughts about how you or your staff enjoy certain local landmarks and activities. Research shows potential customers are swayed by managerial responses on TripAdvisor when considering their options.
Worried your hotel management and marketing staff will waste valuable work time on the internet? Don’t be. Evidence shows managing your hotel or resort reputation online and engaging with customers through social media generates business.
New technology saves time monitoring reviews and social media
Scouring the internet for any mention of your hotel or resort doesn’t have to be a full-time job, although top hotels like the Toronto Four Seasons reportedly do retain analysts who do exactly that.
There is an easy way to keep track of how your brand is faring on TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Thousands of hotels and resorts around the world use tech tools like BirdEye.com ReviewPro.com and Revinate.com sites, both of which monitor every mention of their hotel or resort property on the internet.
Subscribing to BirdEye.com, ReviewPro or Revinate helps manage your online reputation with ease, receiving daily reports and notifications as well as analysis to share with staff and a way to compare your results to those of competitors. We recommend BirdEye for online review growth and management. In fact, we’ve partnered with BirdEye and can offer up to 20% off regular BirdEye pricing. Learn more and request a free trial account.
A personalized touch in the era of social media
Some luxury hotels are sleuthing out personal information for certain guests to ensure their visits offer that uber thoughtful personal touch. It may be controversial for some, but it seems to hit the mark more often than not when staff are able to find little ways to take attentive service to a whole new level.
Allergy? Favourite hobby? New baby? Information sleuthed through public social media posts can help anticipate needs and exceed expectations if it doesn’t seem a bit Big Brother meets stalker (The Globe and Mail).
Looking for expert assistance with online reviews, content marketing, and social media management?
The friendly team of tourism marketing experts at Stir Tourism can help establish your travel, tourism, or hospitality brand on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms and through your website and a well-written blog.
Contact Stir now for a free estimate or a free 30-minute consultation for digital and social media marketing and advertising services including strategic marketing plans, online review management, content marketing, contests, and social media management services.