The Ultimate Hotel Review Strategy

Discover how to turn online guest reviews into your hotel's competitive advantage. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the strategies for managing reviews effectively, enhancing your reputation, and leveraging feedback to increase bookings and guest satisfaction.

June 12, 2024
The Ultimate Hotel Review Strategy

What is Hotel Review Management?

Managing your hotel's reviews isn't just about monitoring what people say; it's about transforming feedback into your strategic weapon. Imagine this: 81% of travelers in the past year have relied on reviews to choose their accommodations. That's right, the traditional word-of-mouth has gone digital, and it's your golden ticket to attracting more guests.

Think of online reviews as a megaphone for your guests' voices—transparent, public, and powerful. Whether the feedback is raving or ranting, each review is a golden nugget of insight into your hotel's strengths and areas for improvement. This is your opportunity to showcase stellar hospitality or to make amends and win hearts back.

Neglecting these online murmurs? That’s like letting a potential billboard for your hotel turn into a ghost ad. By actively engaging with reviews, you not only polish your reputation but also drive up guest satisfaction and, ultimately, bookings.

So, remember: every review is more than a rating—it's a direct line to your next marketing strategy and a free ad space you'd be wise to use wisely. Don't just manage your hotel reviews, master them and watch as your hotel books big adventures.

The Power of Guest Feedback! How Negative Reviews Impact Hotel Business!

Why are Hotel Reviews Important?

In this world of savvy travelers and online booking, the old adage "don't believe everything you read" doesn't quite apply to hotel reviews. Why? Because people might not trust what businesses say about themselves, but they definitely trust what Tom, Dick, and Harriet posted about their stay last weekend.

Here's the scoop: around 93% of travelers read online reviews before booking a hotel. That's a lot of eyeballs scouting what others have to say! And thanks to the veil of internet anonymity, these reviews often dish out the raw, unpolished truth about their experiences. Whether it’s the bliss of soft pillows or the horror of a cold shower, you'll hear about it.

But it’s not just about eavesdropping on past guests. Reviews are your frontline feedback. They show you exactly what’s tickling guests pink or turning them off. While some might shy away from giving face-to-face feedback, they're usually game to share their thoughts online—often with the kind of detail you'd miss otherwise.

Here's a fun fact to chew on: Hotels that respond to guest reviews increase their occupancy rates by over 12% more than those that don’t. Not only does managing these reviews help maintain your reputation, it actually boosts business. So, encourage reviews on every channel imaginable and dive into them like a detective at a mystery buffet.

Remember, every review is a mini billboard for your hotel. So, keep those responses witty and wise—it’s your chance to turn a critic into a fan and a passerby into a guest.

Why is Responding to Hotel Reviews Important?

Responding to hotel reviews is a bit like being a great host at a party—acknowledge everyone, and you make the room brighter. Here’s why it's absolutely crucial: people really trust online reviews. Brightlocal tells us that nearly half of all consumers value these reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends. And if that's not convincing enough, consider this: 88% of potential guests think it’s key that hotel owners chime in on these conversations.

Let's face it, no hotel is perfect, and sometimes you'll get that dreaded less-than-stellar review. Maybe it's the noisy air conditioner or a pillow that's too firm. It happens, even if you're running the Ritz. But here's the kicker: how you respond can turn the tide. TripAdvisor reveals a juicy stat: hotels that make the effort to reply to reviews see a 21% bump in booking inquiries. And if you're really on the ball, responding to over half of them, that figure jumps to 24%.

It's not just about avoiding a tumbleweed scenario where reviews go unanswered and potential guests walk away. Regular responses can actually boost your overall rating and lead to more bookings. It’s a win-win: your engagement shows you care and improves your hotel's appeal.

So, how do you keep up with the feedback frenzy without dropping the ball elsewhere? Set aside dedicated time for this task. It’s like brushing your teeth—regular maintenance goes a long way. Think of each response as an opportunity to showcase your hotel's personality and commitment to guest satisfaction. Whether it’s a thank you note for a glowing review or a tactful reply to a criticism, your words can turn potential crises into opportunities, showing that your hotel isn’t just a place to stay, but a place that cares.

Top 5 Websites for Hotel Reviews that Your Guests Consider - Podium

How to Respond to Hotel Reviews

Responding to hotel reviews is much like art—each stroke counts, and the overall picture can transform a viewer's perspective. Here’s a refined approach to turning every review, good or bad, into an opportunity to shine.

How to Respond to a Positive Hotel Review:

When a guest leaves a glowing review, it’s your moment to reinforce that positive impression and build a lasting relationship. Here’s how:

  • Personalize Your Response: Avoid generic thank-you notes. Address the guest by name and reference specific details they mentioned. Did they rave about the breakfast or the friendly staff? Mention that you’re delighted they enjoyed these aspects of their stay.
  • Celebrate as a Team: Use “we” in your responses to show that the entire team values the feedback and shares in the success. It highlights a cohesive team effort: “We’re thrilled you loved the homemade croissants!”
  • Express Gratitude: Always thank the guest for their review and for choosing your hotel. A simple, “Thank you, John, for this wonderful review! We're so glad you enjoyed your stay and hope to see you again soon.”

How to Respond to a Negative Hotel Review:

Navigating negative reviews requires tact and a strategy to convert unhappy guests into potential return visitors.

  • Start and End Positively: Employ the sandwich method. Begin with a thank you, address the concern, and close on a positive note.
  • Open with gratitude: “Thank you for your feedback, which helps us improve.”
  • Acknowledge any positives: “It’s great to hear you enjoyed our location right in the heart of downtown.”
  • Address the Concerns: Be specific in your response to their issues. If the complaint is about room cleanliness, explain any steps being taken to enhance cleaning procedures. For instance, “We apologize that our usual high standards were not met in your room. We've addressed this with our housekeeping team to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
  • Offer Resolution and Reassurance: If the feedback is actionable, let the guest know how you’re resolving it. If the complaint may stem from a misunderstanding, clarify politely without being defensive.
  • Invite Them Back: Show that you’re committed to improving their experience: “We hope you’ll consider staying with us again. We’d love the chance to show you our improvements.”

Should You Respond to Every Review?

While it’s great to reply to all feedback, focus on crafting meaningful responses rather than hitting a quota. Aim for a response rate of 40-50%, as suggested by Cornell University, prioritizing negative and mixed reviews since they often influence potential guests the most.

How To Respond To A Review When Price Is Mentioned | Travel Media Group

Why Managing Hotel Reviews Matters

Online reviews are the digital version of word-of-mouth. They can make or break your hotel's reputation. Actively engaging with these reviews shows potential guests that you’re attentive and committed to guest satisfaction. Remember, each review is an open channel to showcase your hotel's dedication to providing a memorable experience.

In summary, view each review as a direct line from your guests to you—a chance to perfect your art of hospitality. Whether it's celebrating the good or rectifying the less than perfect, each response is a step towards painting a better picture of your hotel for all future guests.

How to Make Your Hotel Reviews Online Better

Boosting your hotel's online reviews isn't just a good practice—it's essential for charming globetrotters into booking a stay. Small hotels, in particular, thrive on the power of reviews, as they often lack the brand recognition of larger chains. Here's how to turn your guests' feedback into your secret weapon for attracting more travelers.

1. Timing is Everything: When to Ask for Reviews

To gather those golden opinions, timing is key. Here's when you should pop the question:

  • During Check-Out: Hit them with the "Did you enjoy your stay?" as they're basking in the glow of a great visit.
  • Self-Serve at the Front Desk: Set up a cute, quirky prompt at your front desk inviting guests to leave a review.
  • Follow-Up Email: Drop a friendly reminder in their inbox. Make it as warm as your welcome was.
  • Unsolicited Feedback: Caught a guest gushing over breakfast? Ask them to share that joy online.
  • Social Media Shout-Outs: Engage with guests who mention your hotel on social media and nudge them towards leaving a review.
  • Invoice Insights: Attach a gentle nudge to review along with their invoice—make it as painless as the checkout process.

2. Understand What Your Guests Crave in Reviews

To really nail your reviews, you need to know what tickles your guests' fancy:

  • Fact-Focused: Keep it real, because authenticity never goes out of style.
  • Detail-Oriented: More detail equals less mystery. Did they love the Egyptian cotton sheets? Say so!
  • Freshness Factor: Recent reviews are like fresh coffee; everyone wants them.
  • Property Prose: Talk about the state of your estate. Is it charmingly vintage or modern chic?
  • Pro Tips: Share insider tips. Maybe there’s a hidden gem of a café nearby?
  • Balanced Views: Show the good with the bad. Perfection can be suspicious, but honesty is refreshing.
  • Context is King: Help reviewers provide context. Why did they love the balcony view? Was it the sunset or people-watching?

Remember, every review is a story waiting to be told. Encourage your guests to share their tales, and soon you’ll see your hotel’s story improve chapter by chapter. After all, in the world of hospitality, your guests’ words are the bread and butter of your reputation feast.

The Most Effective Review Response Examples: Dealing With Reviews the Best  Way - Reviewgrower

How to Manage Hotel Reviews:

Mastering hotel review management isn't just a task—it's an art form that can significantly boost your bookings and revenue. Here's a streamlined guide to managing your online reviews effectively and with a bit of flair:

1. Keep It In The Family

Limit review responses to a select few on your team. This ensures consistency in tone and authenticity in each reply. Whether you’re saying a formal "Dear guest" or a casual "Hey there," make sure it sounds like it's coming from a real person who cares.

2. Speed Is Your Friend

Respond quickly, especially to those pesky negative comments. Speedy replies show you're attentive and proactive, turning potential frowns upside down before they can affect your future guests.

3. Gratitude Is The Attitude

Always thank your guests for their feedback, both the good and the challenging:

  • Express appreciation for their stay and their time to write a review.
  • Maintain a friendly and professional tone, no matter what.
  • Address criticisms directly and share any improvements you've made.
  • Invite them back, showing you're eager to impress them on the next round.

4. Generate More Chatter

Encourage feedback at every turn—post-check-out emails, social media engagements, and even at the front desk. Automate post-stay emails to make life easier and keep those reviews rolling in.

5. Compensate Wisely

If things go south, handle compensations privately. Offer a discreet apology and perhaps a promo code for their next visit, but keep it off the public forums.

The cost of a bad review, for hotels. | by George Zahartzis | Medium

The Review Feedback Loop: A Quick Overview

  • Perception: Everything starts with the first impression. Your online visuals and descriptions set the stage.
  • Research: Potential guests dive into reviews to scout out the real scoop from past visitors.
  • Opinion: After their stay, guests form opinions and share them. This is your chance to close the loop impressively.

Remember, 49% of travelers won’t book without reading reviews. By managing your reviews with both precision and a dash of charm, you're not just filling rooms—you're building a beloved brand.

The End Note: Streamlining Hotel Operations with Event Temple

While managing online reviews is crucial, there's much more to running a successful hotel or venue. Event Temple is here to take care of your sales and catering needs, venue management, and offers top integrations with Property Management Systems (PMS). Our workflows connect you with leads and automatically generate proposals, Banquet Event Orders (BEOs), and contracts, ensuring seamless operations.

If you're looking for a solution that simplifies these aspects of your business, visit our website to learn more. Also, keep following us for more news, insights, and guides to help your hotel and venue business thrive.

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