Do’s And Don’ts Of Online Reviews

Get The Facts

  • The average Popularity Ranking for highly engaged hotels was 63% higher than their non-engaged counterparts.
  • More than 160 new contributions are posted every minute to TripAdvisor.
  • 89% of people say that reviews influence their buying decision
  • 2% increase in TripAdvisor Ranking Results in a 20% Increase in Bookings
  • 95% chance a guest will return if their issue is resolved prior to departure
  • If a property can increase its review score by one point (on a five-point scale) on OTA channels, it could increase its prices by about 11.2% and still maintain the same occupancy rates. –The Center of Hospitality Research

Reviews help hotels and resorts better understand their guests and employees, and identify areas for improvement that positively affect revenue. In turn, the hospitality industry is focusing heavily on reviews because of the direct impact that it has on business. Now with TripAdvisor being the world’s largest travel site with more than 250 million reviews and opinions from travelers around the world, more executives want to understand the do’s and don’ts of online reviews.

DO

Respond to at least 25% of TripAdvisor guest reviews
Not every review that is posted requires a response, but it’s important that a good portion of reviews do get the acknowledgement they deserve from hotel management in a timely manner. Management responses can help shift guest attitudes about the hotel because these responses offer a person-to-person connection. In fact, Atmosphere Research shows that travelers who write positive or negative reviews appreciate receiving management responses to their comments.

Publish 10 or more hotel supplied management photos
The more photos, the better! Travelers love to see photos before booking. Photos posted by management do extremely well, this is a good opportunity for hotel and resort owners to showcase their properties as they would want guests to see them.

Maintain and update listing information regularly
Maintaining and updating a TripAdvisor listing with accurate information in a timely fashion will help increase the trust of a traveler.

Make sure that direct contact information is available
It is important to make things as easy as possible for travelers so make sure that the resort’s direct contact information, such as a phone number, website URL and email address, is available and easy to find.

Systematically Encourage More Fresh Reviews
Studies show that the “freshness” of a review also matters. Research shows that guests consider reviews published within 90 days to be more credible than older reviews. This is most likely because travelers are smart enough to know that a lot can change at a resort in a year or two so they tend to trust older reviews less than the newer ones. Because of this it is important to create a system to continuously generate fresh reviews.

DON’T

Don’t take it personally!
It can be difficult to not take it personally when someone writes a harshly worded review about your resort. Unfortunately, it happens to even the very best so don’t take it personally. What really counts is how you respond to that review and what actions are put in place to resolve the problem and prevent it from happening again.

Don’t copy-paste responses!
Reviewers can usually tell when they have received a generic copied and pasted response to their review. Copy and pasting a general response in many cases is worse than not responding at all, especially when all a traveler has to do is scroll through and look at other responses that you’ve posted to see that they are all the same. Each response should be unique and in line with the review you are responding to.

Don’t blame others
Even if what went wrong was out of your hands, blaming others (especially the guest who wrote the review) will make you look unprofessional. It is always best to take the high road in these situations.

Don’t write fake reviews
Not only is writing fake reviews unethical but most readers can spot a fake review right away which causes a hotel to lose creditability. Additionally, TripAdvisor screens all reviews and keeps an eye out for fraudulent behavior such as writing fake reviews. If TripAdvisor determines that there are fraudulent reviews submitted for a property, there are several consequences: • A property may drop by several pages in the TripAdvisor popularity index.
• The property will no longer be eligible for inclusion in TripAdvisor’s Travelers Choice awards, Top 10 lists, press releases, etc.
• A large red penalty notice, explaining that the property’s reviews are suspicious may appear on the listing page.

Don’t offer bribes for good reviews.
Don’t offer discounts, incentives or freebies to solicit 5 star reviews. This can also be considered unethical because now your reviews are not authentic. Not only does this hurt the travelers reading the reviews but it also hurts you. Reviews are a great way to identify problems and opportunities within your hotel or resort. If you are soliciting 5 star reviews, how will you be able to identify what needs improvement?

Interview with Sharon Mattimoe CEO of Intuition Brand Marketing, a company launched over 12 months ago to assist with online reputation management for the hospitality industry.

TripAdvisor contains more than 250 million reviews and opinions from travelers worldwide and has over 375 million unique monthly visitors. Those numbers are astronomical! These figures show how important reviews are in the hospitality industry. According to the Customer Service Association 97% of customers will not approach an employee face-to-face to either express concerns or provide positive comments. However, there is a 95% chance that a guest will return to a resort if their issue is resolved prior to departure. These findings show how important it is to provide instant on-site feedback and resolve issues prior to a guest posting a review on TripAdvisor.

The root cause of most negative online reviews comes from an adverse experience or incident during a vacation stay. Knowing when this happens and having the ability to react quickly is a crucial component for improving customer satisfaction levels and online reputation management. Through the implementation of an on-site guest feedback channel, we give you the ability to positively affect a negative guest experience while they are still staying at your property.

Depending upon your program choices, we create one or more quick and easily accessible guest feedback surveys that can be accessed via employee controlled tablets or kiosks, via promoted QR Codes or Website Links throughout the resort common areas and accommodation or via email or text message marketing.

Once a guest accesses the survey through an on-site tablet or personal device, they will be presented with a pre-determined series of options and questions. Each answer or selection can be programed to send an email alert to any relevant member of your staff that can assist with the request or resolve the problem.

It has been reported in studies that a guest will leave a review that they ordinarily would not have posted only because a resort satisfactorily dealt with a problem, and others will often rate the resort higher than they normally would have. It certainly stops a short term problem at the resort from turning into long term harm online.

Common uses for this system is of course complaint management but also concierge-like guest services such as requests for in-room amenities to reduce calls to an already busy reception desk. Reporting and Analytics over time provide trends in common complaints or requests to help you better prepare for future guests. We can even provide you with live reporting that can show a busy resort how successfully they are navigating the day – highlighting number of complaints so far compared with previous days, weeks, months, enabling operational managers to incentivize employees based on performance and speed of resolution.

With this On-Site Feedback system we can identify any issue going on at a property and implement solutions to resolve them in order to increase overall efficiency and positive reviews. In many cases we have found that the issues hotels are experiencing have to do with employee interaction. In that instance we are able to provide employee engagement programs, where we offer a series of incredibly effective workshops that will re-focus and re-energize through a fully customized program based on your core values and goals via our partnership with Advance Corporate Technology.

Other benefits of On-Site Feedback include the ability to capture additional contact information from guests that use the feedback system for future marketing purposes, reduce the size (or replace completely) of the post stay survey, increasing the conversion rates for TripAdvisor Reviews, and use the data to benchmark customer satisfaction with employee performance.

For more information on Instant Onsite Feedback please contact me at 321-948-1283 or email sharon@perspectivegrp.com