We have been talking about hotels managing their internet reputation ever since the days of MySpace. Yes, that long ago! One of our recommendations was to allow guests to post reviews directly onto your own website, instead of a third-party site like TripAdvisor. Finally, a hotel company has gotten it right! Starwood.com will now allow guests to post reviews (good and bad we assume) after check out. Guests can post a review for a visit within 18 months after logging in and verifying that they were a guest of the hotel. They currently have the following guidelines for posting reviews:
Keep your review focused on the hotel
Contact us if you have an issue that requires immediate assistance
Refrain from mentioning competitors or the specific price you paid for the hotel
Do not include any personally identifiable information, such as full names
We have been saying for years that one of the most important things to do is to maintain your hotel’s internet reputation. If you missed some of our articles, click here.
Market Metrix and TripAdvisor did a recent study and found that “85 percent of hotels have no guidelines for monitoring, responding to or acting on guest reviews.” 85 percent! They also state that “only 4 percent of negative reviews are responded to!” The entire article can be read here.
The article suggests many of the same techniques that we do for maintaining your hotel’s internet reputation. You wouldn’t ignore a bad comment card, right? Then why would you ignore a bad internet review of your hotel? Get a plan in place today!
Ever watch someone under 30 book a hotel room? They fire up the internet and go to a site like expedia.com or hotels.com and do a search of the city they are traveling to. Then they narrow their choices to a handful of hotels that fit their budget. Then the fun really starts. People who have spent the last decade on the internet know how to get the most out of it. No 25 year old is going to trust that 4-star rating that Expedia gave your hotel. They don’t believe that your hotel was ‘hotel of the year’ for the last five years as stated on your website. They are going to see what actual people (well, internet people anyway) have to say.
Their decision to stay at your hotel starts with a quick review of your website. Does it have a pool? Check. Steakhouse? Got it. Gym? Ok. They take your hotel into consideration. But is it better than the hotel down the street that has similar rates?
A quick Google search will tell them what they need to know. They read the reviews on tripadvisor.com. Maybe they check out yelp.com or read your Yahoo Travel ratings. Oh, Mary from Iowa says your staff is rude and your food is lousy. Three people say that your hotel lost their reservations and two people say that they were overcharged during their stay.