Maintaining a positive online reputation can be difficult for any company in a place as public as the internet, but for the hotels and unique lodging options we promote on ResortsandLodges.com, it is of vital importance. Although the thought of people openly reviewing your property may be scary at first, it is important to see these online reviews as an opportunity. According to Jennifer Davies, senior content manager at Expedia, good reviews of 4.0 or 5.0 generate more than double the conversion rate of a review of 1.0-2.9.
Davies’ statement deals specifically with data compiled by properties on Expedia.com, but the idea is relevant across the hospitality industry. Still, conversion rates are not the only numbers that are affected by a positive online reputation. An interview with Expedia’s VP of Supply Strategy and Analysis, Ben Ferguson, revealed that a one-point increase in a review score (on a five-point scale) equates to a 9% increase in average daily rate (ADR).
All property managers and hoteliers realize the importance of conversion rates and ADR, but many do not understand how or why they go hand in hand with a property’s online reputation. Proactively managing your reputation and using the feedback from online reviews to increase guest satisfaction will allow you to increase both your conversion rates and revenue in a sustainable way.
Here are five tips on how to improve your property’s online reputation:
Create a Remarkable Guest Experience – This seems like a simple idea, but there is a reason why some properties have poor ratings on travel sites across the internet. Ensuring a great guest experience is the single best way to earn great online reviews, and little things often make the biggest differences.
Your customer relationship management (CRM) software can play an important role in creating a great guest experience. The more you know about a guest, the more personalized you can make their experience. The Millennial Generation sees personalization as a form of loyalty, and if you give them a unique experience, they will likely want to come back and try it again.
Make Sure you have a Regular Stream of Fresh Reviews – Potential guests are not going to troll through years of reviews to find one that paints you in a positive light. Recent reviews give travelers the most accurate account of what they can expect when they travel to your property. If these reviews are negative, it is important to respond to them as soon as possible, letting those guests, and any other potential guests reading this review, that a problem has been resolved.
Focus on Getting a Large Number of Good but Honest Reviews – Having only glowingly positive reviews about your property can be misleading. We have all heard of hotels and other properties “doctoring” their reviews, or writing their own in some cases, to increase their online reputation. Most travelers will be able to see through this because, let’s face it – no property is perfect. This leads directly into the next tip…
Do Not Write Your Own Reviews – People will recognize reviews written by the property right away. Not only will you lose the business of the person who spotted the fake review, but you may also be reported. In addition to this, your online credibility is ruined, and the credibility of any positive reviews you were given will be called into question.
Reply to Negative Reviews – Being proactive when it comes to negative reviews shows the guest who is upset that you care about them and their needs. The review will also seem a lot less negative to potential future guests if you show you are listening to feedback and are working to fix things.