Here are four common myths that hoteliers believe about guest feedback and online reputation management, and the truth associated with those myths, writes RJ Friedlander.
TripAdvisor’s recent TripBarometer Report showed that 60% of hoteliers surveyed were planning on investing more in online reputation management (ORM) in 2015. If you are planning on investing in ORM this year, it is important that you have a proper understanding of the concept of Guest Intelligence, prior to doing so. Guest Intelligence is the in-depth analysis of online reviews and guest satisfaction survey data – which includes both during, and post-stay surveys, to provide detailed insight into what guests like and dislike about their stay, and determine how to improve your property’s service.
Here’s my top four myths related to managing online and direct guest feedback, along with the best practices that will help you to improve your property’s Guest Intelligence results.
Myth 1: Online reputation management (ORM) & guest surveys are two separate data sets.
Truth: Many hotels collect and use ORM and guest survey data separately and some even have different departments handling the two types of data. In spite of this, analytics of the two are much more actionable and effective when used together. Only by collecting and examining both online review data and direct guest survey data, will you be able to get a detailed and accurate picture of your property’s strengths and weaknesses, which will help you to prioritize internal action to improve guest satisfaction.
Myth 2: It is very difficult to improve your ranking on TripAdvisor and other key review sites.
Truth: This myth combines both fact and fiction. It is true that many hotels struggle to positively impact their overall rating and rankings on key review sites; however, this does not mean it is impossible. The key is to have enough detail in the information about what guests like and dislike about their stay. It stands to reason that if you don’t understand how your guests are feeling, it will be very difficult to make the changes necessary to be able to improve guest satisfaction – and, as a result, your ranking on TripAdvisor, as well as other review sites.
However, if your brand and individual properties are equipped with the right Guest Intelligence solutions to properly understand the nuances of your guests’ feedback, it becomes much easier to significantly increase your overall ratings and rankings. The final step is proactively encouraging your guests to write reviews about their experience. One program that many hoteliers have found to be very effective is the TripAdvisor’s Review Collection Program, which incorporates the TripAdvisor questionnaire within the hotel’s post-stay survey and, in most cases, creates a sizable increase in review volume.
Myth 3: More questions, the better.
Truth: It is a common misconception that the more questions you have on your guest survey, the more useful the information that it yields will be. In fact, at a certain point, the opposite is true for two important reasons: firstly, guests are often intimidated by lengthy, overly detailed surveys, especially when it asks questions that don’t pertain to their stay, and will choose not to respond to the survey altogether; and secondly, because the most complete insight is obtained by asking the right questions to the right guest (a.k.a. quality over quantity).
Myth 4: If you only track what is being said about your property on the top international channels, it will be sufficient.
Truth: If you’re not tracking responses and generating reviews in all of the relevant and influential OTAs and review sites for the segments of travellers that you’re trying to reach, you are not likely to be optimizing your online distribution strategy. There are more than 142 online review sites that generate reviews in more than 45 original languages. The overall review score, department scores and sentiment of reviews posted about your property on each site can vary drastically depending on the cultural and demographic focus of a particular website.
As well, you limit your ability to drive bookings if you don’t put a priority on the second-tier channels in the key markets where your clients originate. To address this issue, review your property’s overall distribution strategy and ensure that you have a strong presence and positive reputation on all relevant regional and local channels.
To successfully increase guest satisfaction and to improve ADR and RevPAR, it is crucial that your property integrate Guest Intelligence into your operational plans for 2015 and beyond.
About the author: RJ Friedlander is the CEO of ReviewPro – a leading provider of Guest Intelligence solutions to independent hotel brands worldwide. The company’s suite of cloud-based solutions includes Online Reputation Management (ORM) and Guest Survey Solution (GSS), which enable hoteliers to obtain deeper insight into operational and service strengths and weaknesses, increasing guest satisfaction, review volume and driving revenue. Visit www.reviewpro.com.