10 years ago, travel shoppers were not flocking to review sites before booking hotels, but now it’s a given that prospective guests conduct their fair share of hotel research on review sites before booking.
Careful management of online reviews will go a long way to maintaining a positive online reputation and securing both return and new business to increase your revenue.
Just how important are reviews? Check out these stats from TripAdvisor:
- 96% consider reviews important when researching a hotel
- 79% will read between six and 12 reviews before making a purchase decision
- 88% of travelers filter out hotels with an average star rating below three
- 85% agree that a thoughtful response to a review will improve their impression of the hotel
How to Get Reviews from Your Guests
So you know it’s important to have reviews of your hotel online, but are you sure of when and how to ask for guests to write a review?
First and foremost, it’s important to be aware of the experience your hotel guest had at your property before asking for a review. If the guest has had a fantastic, trouble-free stay then, by all means, feel free to go right ahead. Here are a few options for when to ask guests for a review:
During the check-out process
This is a great time to ask since positive memories from their stay are still fresh. Your staff can ask if the guest had a good experience at your hotel. If they did, let them know how much you appreciate their thoughts on a review site of their choice.
In follow-up emails
Hotels often send an email after guests check out to thank them for their stay. Consider placing a link to review sites within this message. Or for business travelers, email them the invoice and include a link to review the hotel.
In response to comment cards
If someone leaves positive feedback on a comment card, don’t let the feedback stay on paper! Contact the guest by email or telephone and request that they consider sharing their thoughts online.
In social media channels
Engage with your guests on social media channels. Pay attention to what they are saying about your hotel and ask if they’d mind repeating any positive comments on a review site.
A word of caution: Be cautious when asking guests for reviews while they are still at the hotel. Several review sites have policies against this, and some will even mark reviews as fake if sent from the same location.
Best Practices for Responding to Reviews
Responding to guest reviews can be time consuming, but it is certainly worth the effort. According to TripAdvisor, four out of five travel shoppers believe a hotel that responds to reviews cares more about its customers.
When you respond to reviews, both positive and negative, your hotel seems more engaged and demonstrates your care for your guests.
Here are some best practices for responding to online reviews of all types:
Limit the number of staff who respond to reviews. Using the same person for review responses will keep the tone and language similar. You want to be consistent with the message you’re sending so don’t mix formal and informal language.
Be timely with responses. Responding to guest reviews within 72 hours is recommended. Wait any longer and you risk giving the impression that you don’t care about feedback or guest experience.
Don’t become defensive. A negative review might feel like a personal insult but don’t respond with anger. Stay calm and professional in your responses.
Know when to say thank you. Replying to positive reviews should be a quick task. They require little more than a warm thank you and a wish that you see the guest stay at your hotel again. Never try to upsell when responding to reviews, as that can come across as greedy.
Acknowledge and apologize for any bad experience. This should be followed up by some kind of assurance or action that will hopefully resolve the issue to a point where the guest will give your hotel another chance.
As long as you remember to be sincere, humble, helpful, positive, and enthusiastic, no issue should get out of control or be beyond recall.