Managing Your Hotel's Reputation Online
Post Date: 2015-08-13
In today’s complex, evolving web landscape, maintaining your hotel’s image has never been so important or tricky. The (virtual) reality is, consumers tend to trust other consumers’ opinions, affecting their final choice of hotel. With plenty of online avenues – from travel-related websites like TripAdvisor to user blogs to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter – it’s getting increasingly easy for guests to speak up about their experiences.
A good online reputation management strategy will cover all bases by harnessing new technology and resources, while being guided by fundamental principles – letting you maintain control over your brand.
Be in the know
The first step as a hotelier is wanting to know how your guests felt about their experience. Thus, you need to listen well – use online reputation management tools to monitor web chatter. While impossible to manually search for every mention of your hotel, there are remarkably simple technologies that do this – many of them require no extra outlay but time.
· Subscribe to email alerts from Google or Yahoo. Free, easy to set up and customisable, simply use keywords that significant to your hotel. You can even set up alerts about your competitors to find out how you compare.
· Technorati. A leading blog search engine indexing millions of blog posts in real time.
· SocialMention. Just key in your URL to load relevant web and video links.
· TweetBeep. Sign up to keep track of what’s being said on Twitter.
Get the right people in
Next, get proactive. Singapore Institute of Management communications programme head, Brian Lee, advises: “Establish a dedicated team to monitor online comments and opinions on your hotel, as well as be the administrator for the hotel’s official Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts.” Ensure that they are responsible, be it a Public Relations (PR) team or just one staff member.
· Be in control. Have them set up all the profiles and pages for your hotel. First impressions count, be it clinching the exact hotel name on Facebook before an online critic registers the name and uses it to your disadvantage, or engaging with your guests and responding to their queries and feedback.
· Responses and remedies. Although you have little control over what is being said on the Internet – what with the ease of sharing and re-tweeting posts – as soon as a malicious comment is made and detected, your team can immediately take the initiative to reach out to the commenter and work towards resolving the situation. “Send him or her a private message to seek further details, be sincere and professional and suggest taking the discussion offline,” says Brian. “Then understand their issues and address them proactively. If these are issues that need to be address openly, get a public relations expert involved.”
Engage your guests
The upside to the internet is that promoting your brand can be easy and sometimes free.
· Leverage on the distinct points of each online avenue. For instance, the Movenpick Heritage Hotel uses location-centric Foursquare to offer promotions and deals to entice guests staying nearby the hotel to return. Likewise, Marina Bay Sands is just one of many hotels to have an active Facebook page, which is updated almost daily with news of happenings there. It also encourages fans to post photos of themselves enjoying the hotel’s famous facilities like the SkyPool.
· Encourage positive reviews online. When guests have a great experience in your hotel, they will feel inclined to talk about it online – be it a blog post, a tweet or a Facebook share of your official website. Finding out what wows guests and sets you apart from others makes it easier for them to write reviews. Try nudging your guests into posting about their fabulous stay by offering free Wi-Fi in your hotel.
Ultimately, remember that everyone has a voice. Let their voices help shape your brand and lend you a competitive advantage.