By now, unless you live under a rock, you know that consumers are searching the heck out of sites like TripAdvisor before making a buying decision about hotels. How your property appears on those sites makes a huge difference when it comes time for a guest to book a room. And yes, there are probably some tacky people out there who have their relatives post bad reviews of their competitors’ on these sites, but hotels still have to treat all reviews as legitimate.
So how do you improve your appearance on TripAdvisor?
- Know your top complaints. You may read each review as it crosses your email inbox, but have you ever gone back and totaled up what your top complaints are? Although time-consuming, you or someone trustworthy on your team should personally read every one-, two-, and three-star review for the last year or two, recording every complaint. Once you’ve identified the top five, see what you can do about them.
- Solve the ones you can; remember that you get what you measure or pay attention to, so sustain your focus on those problem areas that just need attention.
- Correct any misinformation. If you have gotten a lot of complaints in the past about something that has now changed, be sure to let people know. Even if the review was posted a year ago, future guests will be reassured to see that you have recently added coffee makers to every room.
- Apologize and move on. There are always things in our hotels that we can’t fix – maybe you’re overdue for a renovation, or your swimming pool is too shallow. In the situations, your best approach is to acknowledge the issue, thank the guest for the feedback, say you’re sorry, and move on.
- Respond to everything. I suggest that you respond to every review, good, bad, or ugly, because it sends the signal that you are paying attention. If you are short on time, be sure to respond to every single negative and neutral review. The other benefit of responding is that you can correct any misinformation and create a commercial for the next guest. For instance, if a reviewer mentions that you don’t have a bar, you can say, “We’re sorry that our lounges weren’t more obvious, but there are two: Blahbety Blah and ABCD.” TripAdvisor added a feature in 2012 that sends a hotel’s response back to the reviewer, giving you the opportunity to solve an issue directly with the guest more quickly.
- Explicitly ask guest for reviews. Don’t incentivize them, don’t bribe them, and don’t do anything crazy, but don’t be afraid to ask. You can also add a TripAdvisor tab to your Facebook page and ask for reviews that way.
- Do a better job! At the end of the day, no matter what you do after a review is posted on TripAdvisor, if your hotel sucks, you are out of luck. Don’t suck! Be amazing! Even dinky little properties that haven’t been renovated since 1986 can give great service and stay clean. You’ve got this.
If you are interested in help with your hotel’s online reputation, get Good Buzz!