Did you know that 80% of consumers read online reviews before booking their travel? It’s true.
Clearly social media plays a significant role in the purchasing decisions of today’s consumer so business owners must closely manage their online reputation. This is especially true in the hospitality industry.
Rupesh Patel is the CEO of 3 Hospitality, he’s also a hotel owner and the founder of SmartGuests.com.
Smart Guests.com is a hospitality review tools company that helps hotels increase revenues and occupancy by boosting the number of online reviews for their hotels, and boost their reputation in the process.
On today’s episode of Hospitality Academy, Rupesh shares some of his thoughts on how to get more positive online reviews for your property, and why you should even be concerned with online reviews in the first place.
Essential Learning Points From This Episode:
- Do most consumers trust other consumers, or marketing budgets?
- How and why to budget for responding to online reviews.
- How do his hotels set monthly review goals?
- What is the simple reason most hotels don’t get reviews?
- What is the best management advice he’s received?
- Much, much more!
Social media is everywhere today: people are posting, tweeting, liking and sharing content in every imaginable way from photos to videos to reviews. And nowhere else can you see in play more so than the hospitality industry. Whether someone loves or hates a new restaurant you’ll hear about it on social media, and you’ll hear whether they loved or hated their last vacation too!
Because social media is such a part of our everyday lives it’s important to stay on top of what people are saying about their experiences at our hotels, motels, restaurants, etc. If you don’t you are leaving money on the table – or worse, letting your competitors have your guests!
No one knows this better than Rupesh Patel. He owns one of the top-ranked Trip Advisor hotels in the Daytona area, and created SmartGuests.com which helps hospitality people generate better online reviews, and respond appropriately to online reviews, and social media in general.
Today he shares specific recommendations he has from his Smart Guests business, and some hands-on tips he’s discovered from becoming one of the most highly-recommended hotels in Daytona.
Rupesh says there are simple things you can do to generate more reviews, and more positive reviews from your guests. Naturally it starts with the basics: having a clean room and creating a great stay for your clients.
From there go above and beyond the norm and what is expected: empower your staff to generate more reviews by giving them their own business cards. Put the person’s name and title and phone number on the card, as well as where you’d like the guest to leave a review online. Be sure your staff is building rapport and asking for feedback from guests during their stay too, they can hand out their cards as they do so.
Another simple way to get more reviews and feedback is to change your comment cards. A lot of hotels have comment cards with 10 to 15 questions on them, most guests don’t have time nor the inclination to fill out that many responses.
Instead, follow the example of Rupesh’s We Care card and ask two questions: How was your stay? Then ask for an answer between poor and excellent. For the second question ask them to list one thing you can do to improve their future visits. And that’s it!
Now that you know how to generate more feedback and increase the number of online reviews you are receiving how do you actually respond to the reviews? The first step is to collect feedback during your guests’ stay, and at checkout. Ask for specifics: was their air conditioning working okay? Were the breakfasts up to par?
When responding to online reviews there are a few basics to remember: always be kind and always thank the person for the review, even if it is negative. Someone took the time to write about your hotel, even if it is negative, and that is worth appreciating.
After thanking them for taking the time to write the review be sure to acknowledge and apologize if something went wrong for them. Take ownership of it, it shows you care and you will make things right. The words you use are powerful, both for the person who wrote the review and for the people who are reading it. Remember everyone reads these, not just the reviewer.
If you are looking for specifics on how to respond Rupesh has some great examples at his Smart Guests web site, and he details other apps and resources he recommends during our chat on this show. Tune in to hear all of that and more on today’s Hospitality Academy!
Important Links & Mentions From This Episode:
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