By Daniel Edward Craig, Reknown
There was a great turnout for TripAdvisor’s Master Class events at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas last week, but I fear many arrived expecting the “other” Daniel Craig and were sorely disappointed. Sorry about that—happens all the time.
As part of its new TripAdvisor for Business division, TripAdvisor asked me to speak about how hotels can maintain a positive online reputation.
Here a few key takeaways from my presentation:
Online reputation management: the next big thing
Fifteen years ago, revenue management was a new concept; today, every hotel has a revenue manager and a revenue team that meets weekly to review performance, set objectives and formulate strategies. That’s the direction reputation management is heading. It’s time to make reputation management a priority.
What is online reputation management?
ORM is the process of tracking, reporting and reacting to online feedback and opinions about a company and its people, products and services. There are five components: 1) Monitoring; 2) Reviewing & Resolving; 3) Responding; 4) Sharing and 5) Generating Content. Most hotels are doing it, but a more organized, methodical approach is called for.
Why manage your hotel’s reputation?
Increasingly, travelers are bypassing traditional sources like hotel websites, brochures, travel agents and travel media and going direct to other travelers for advice. Your guests have become your primary sales force and exceeding their expectations has become your most important marketing strategy.
Prioritize your social media activities
Hotels have embraced social media and are tweeting and status-updating like there’s no tomorrow, but the real decision-making is happening on review sites. People go to Facebook to socialize; they go to TripAdvisor to shop. Don’t be distracted by the noise. Focus on the areas that drive business.
Search: it’s personal
The personalization of search means user reviews are more prominent than ever, and the opinions of our “circles of trust” in social networks are taking center stage. A perfect example is TripAdvisor’s Trip Friends application for Facebook. As a hotelier you need to understand this phenomenon. Sign up to see how friend reviews show up first, even before top-rated hotels.
Quick, before everyone else catches on
With only 7% of negative reviews on TripAdvisor receiving a response, this is your opportunity to stand out from competitors and show the world you’re listening and you care. To ignore complaints offline or online is simply un-hotelier-like. Thank the reviewer, apologize and explain. If you can’t fix the issue, train staff to prevent (private) on-property complaints from escalating to (public) online complaints.
Set goals and mobilize staff
A comprehensive reputation management program means setting measurable goals (e.g., top ten ranking on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index) and mobilizing your entire team to achieve them. Recognize and reward staff for favorable reviews, be so remarkable that guests feel compelled to share their experience, and use TripAdvisor tools to encourage them.
Click here for video highlights of my presentation. Also, check out these two case studies in reputation management I discussed. Both demonstrate that even in the age of social networking, nothing beats good old-fashioned hospitality.
What do you think? Leave your comments here.