Updated: Sep 24, 2019
- 6 things you can immediately do in your hotel to get more online exposure
Online guest feedback is important for both - improvement of our performance and guest booking decision. Today's travellers spend more time than ever researching properties online and trusting the opinion of others. Our goal is to ensure we are present, visible and well mentioned in the world of the internet.
We of course aim for positive word of mouth, so the first requirement for getting more favourable online exposure is to actually…deliver great service and create memorable experiences for our guests! With an average quality or, even worse, poor service we can’t expect to be praised. So focusing on the level of hospitality we provide is the primary goal of online reputation management.
Nevertheless, if getting more reviews or other online posts is our objective, here are a few techniques to try:
Educate our staff
Because online feedback is so important for the business, it is essential to turn it into the team effort. We need to raise staff awareness about the significance of online reputation and train them how to deal with it. Individual staff members will have different connection with various guests, so one might be more successful that another in dealing with different people. If everyone in the team understands, first of all, the importance of creating excellent experience, and, secondly, encouraging guests’ feedback, they will be more proactive in asking for it.
Make it easy for the guests
As previously mentioned in the online reputation management post, we should start with creating easy possibilities for the guests to share the moments or review us. High speed internet connection is the priority and the must for todays' travellers, both leisure and business. Let’s not dig the hole for ourselves while wishing for more exposure and user generated content, but providing shabby internet connection which hardly enables to update the email box.
Even though we might want to focus on one or few specific sites, need to keep in mind that guests might have different preferences. We should avoid limiting our request to just one channel and give them an option to choose. Some travellers might go for on-line review sites while others choose social media. All is affective and good as long as it links to our official profiles.
Secondly, creating some stimulus around the property will naturally encourage guests to post. Living in the age of Instagram, having an “instagramish” spot or different photogenic locations and activities will surely help to get more shares online. I bet we have all seem at least a few (hundred!) photos of friends or acquaintances posing at the famous I love Amsterdam sign?! Well, because places like that are just calling guests to snap a shot. And once you do it - it would be a sin not to let the world know! So creating such or similar spots in the property will stimulate guests engagement in photographing, sharing and spreading the word!
Create influencer experience
Another good way to encourage, especially social media posts, is to make it an experience for the guests. Organising different activities, either in the form of competition or a simple event could boost both guests experience and our social media feeds. Why not to host a daily activity of sharing #YourBestMomentWithXhotel or #firsttimeever challenges? This would not only encourage guests reflect on their stay or try new things in our establishment, but also help us generate more user created content.
Organising an event only for the purpose of social media is also a rememberable way to enhance guests visit. We invite them to become influencers at our #instagramnight (or whatever we want to call it) and share the details of their stay. We provide a party set-up with little feast and props, they - tell the world how great we are! An easy win - win for everyone…#success!
Work with reminders
Exposing reminders of relevant channels within the property can be a good call for action. From a sign on a reception desk to cards in guest rooms or a message on our in-room channel. We can also include the link on the invoice for direct bookings, or add the icon of relevant review sites on our business cards. The deeper our reminders get into guests subconsciousness, the higher possibility there is for them to be effective.
And of course there is always the good old-fashioned approach - simply asking the guests to do so. Human touch really does wonders, so mentioning reviews and their importance for the business directly to our guests, will surely make them think. And if by then we have already managed to establish warm relationship and gained their trust - very likely the feedback will be positive as well.
We should also not forget the post stay email communications or reminder on departure. A nice personal Thank You letter on the check-out together with a small gift to remind them of the hotel or destination can help. It will create a warm, more personalised impression and at the same serve as a souvenir to remember the experience. We just need to make sure it is both relevant to our brand (or destination) and the guest; and won’t cause extra hassle. For example, a big bottle of olive oil won’t delight the guest traveling with hand-luggage - so always think from guests journey prospective.
General rule for encouraging guests’ feedback is - never directly ask for a positive review (even more if there is some incentives involved!). While it might be our ultimate goal, it is something that lays within the opinion of the guest. So instead of saying “we hope for your positive review” we should rather go with “would like to hear your honest opinion” or “ your feedback”. Being pushy and demanding won’t do us good - so let’s leave the judgement to the guests. And of course, after getting successful in encouraging them to post, we should never forget to join the conversation! Responding to reviews or social posts is same important, as getting them.