By John Heffernan, RedLive Media
Everyone in hospitality knows the importance of great reviews. After all, reviews:
- They influence consumer decision-making
- Provide valuable feedback for hotel and resort improvement
- Help establish reputation and credibility
- Impact online visibility through search rankings
- May drive or discourage future bookings.
And we all need more great reviews. Are you getting enough?
Reading an online review from a delighted guest/customer provides a feeling of great satisfaction. After all, it shows a job well done with your team providing outstanding service, superb food, and excellent customer service – we all want 5-star responses.
Yes, there is always the counterclaim of negative reviews, and these cannot be ignored and most definitely need a positive response. But, unfortunately, we all know bad news travels faster than good.
Yet, responding to negative reviews in an honest, positive professional manner can actually INCREASE your brand reputation and credibility.
Conversely, browsers can be sceptical about an all-5-star perfect review list. It simply does not look natural and worryingly, even contrived.
So why can asking for a review be wrong?
The hospitality industry is very good at asking guests to leave reviews. Yet there is a significant problem with on-site guest reviews.
The problem? Your customers need to stop posting their reviews on-site using your FREE WIFI.
Why? Google may prevent your review from appearing!
Your free WIFI may allow Google to detect a connection between your business IP address (the internet address of your website/Google My Business) and the exact address being used by your guests.
This may appear that reviews are self-generated or, worse, fake.
Asking guests for a review while they are on-site can also have the following negatives:
- This may create pressure or discomfort for the guest
- Timing may not be ideal for the guest
- It can come across as insincere or promotional
- It can negatively impact the guest experience.
So please encourage your guests to write a review when they get home or use a feedback tool you can control and manage, like IHS Provider CustomerCount.
When reviews are posted, you need to have your review response strategy for both positive and negative review posts.
This should include the following:
- Daily monitoring of your brand mentions on your Google My Business listing, social media, email feedback, TripAdvisor and other review channels.
- If positive, provide acknowledgement and thanks for:
- Their kind words if positive
- State that you look forward to their next visit/purchase
- Ask if you can use their comments in marketing or promotional material
- If negative, offer thanks for their feedback and comments:
- Advise that you will address the issue raised
- Apologise for any inconvenience and offer a timeline for response (immediate is, of course, the best option)
- Respond in an honest, positive, and professional way and remember, other potential customers may view your response
- Don’t create an argument!
- Analyse the issue with appropriate staff, amend processes and procedures where failings are identified, and notify the impacted client where appropriate.
Common practises state that you should:
- Ask every customer to leave a review
- Make it easy for them to do so via your website, Google My Business, email response, social channels etc.
- Track your reviews using software or channel monitoring
Brand reputation and management are crucial to business success.
Having a review process for attaining and managing review responses will improve your brand image.
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