When you look at your hotel listing on review websites, do you feel like a tumbleweed should blow past? If a lack of reviews is making your property look like a ghost town, we have some ideas for you.
You might be wondering if online hotel reviews matter and we are here to tell you that they do. In our blog post on the subject, we stated that 46 percent of guests use online reviews “sometimes,” “most of the time” or “always,” and this number is only growing.
According to this article on hospitality.net, travelers are nearly four times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores when the prices are the same, and a whopping 76 percent of travelers are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores. If you don’t have any reviews, well, then you are not even in the equation. Furthermore, online reviews affect your ranking on review sites (low to no ratings placing you in 21st place out of 25 hotels, for example, doesn’t look so hot).
According to ReviewPro, online reviews can also influence search engine ranking, OTA rankings, overall online reputation score and overall sales and conversion rates. In light of this, online hotel reviews and ratings are irrefutably important. And the better the reviews, the better your ratings, and the better your ratings, the better your hotel revenue – and isn’t that the bottom line?
We’ve scoured the Web for you and have come up with these top tips for getting more (great) online reviews for your hotel.
Post-Stay Surveys and Emails
Our recent post on gathering guest feedback shows the importance of post-stay surveys. Post-stay surveys also present the perfect opportunity for straight up asking your guests to write an online review about their stay. Online surveys can even provide links to review websites, making it one step easier.
Be honest, and not pushy, with a simple request such as: “If you enjoyed your stay with us, we would really appreciate you sharing your experience with friends and family on social media and review sites. Your reviews on TripAdvisor in particular are a big help to us. Thank you!”
According to a study on guest feedback, Software Advice found that guests are most willing to leave feedback at check-out or shortly thereafter and the same rings true for online reviews – so don’t delay. We have also read that sending out a reminder email three days after the initial request has great results. Anymore than that may be considered badgering, however.
WebRezPro can send post-stay emails automatically so sending a request is only a matter of setting up a template. And interfaces are available for automatically sending post-stay surveys as well. You might also be interested in TripAdvisor’s automated Review Express program that sends post-stay emails to your guests to request reviews – it’s free for all businesses listed on TripAdvisor.
Business or Post Cards
In addition to asking guests to write online reviews of your hotel via post-stay surveys and emails, place cards in room or at the front desk that guests can keep in order to remind them that their opinion matters to you.
Ask at Check-Out
During check-out, asking guests how their stay was is a nice touch — you can even invite them to review your property online (if their experience was a good one). They can take a card (as described above) with them. Some hotels provide a computer or tablet at the front desk where guests can write reviews on the spot if they desire. However, do be aware that some review sites will label the review spam if it is sent from the same IP address as the hotel.
Follow Up By Phone
Has a guest left positive feedback on a comment card? Don’t let it collect dust on the staff bulletin board; call the customer and thank them for their comments and invite them to share their kudos online. If you receive a negative comment, do be sure to follow up as well in order to resolve any bad feelings before their comments hit the Web.
Software Advice, a source for research and reviews on hotel management tools, recently conducted a study on the most effective tactics for guest feedback. They found that guests who were provided with an incentive to complete a survey were liable to write more positive comments, which can be a detriment when you are looking for constructive feedback. However, when it comes to online reviews, this is good news! You probably don’t want to be seen as blatantly bribing your guests so make offers simple. Along the same line, lucky draws are also popular. You could invite past guests to write a review and send you the link when the review has gone live. All those who submitted are then entered into a draw for a gift basket, a free night’s stay or a gift certificate for the on-site restaurant, for example.
Make sure the “About” section on your social media pages has links to your profile on review sites. Regularly remind followers where your reviews can be found and invite them to write their own. And share positive reviews with your social media followers.
In addition to your contact information add social media buttons in your email signature to your social media pages and review site pages. Make it easy for people to always find you online in various places.
There are a lot of review sites out there but only a handful that matter. When you ask guests to write reviews, be specific. The top hotel review sites you should be concerned with are TripAdvisor, Expedia and Hotels.com. Google reviews are also important but can only be submitted by users with Gmail accounts.
With the influx of all these reviews, be sure to respond – maybe not to every review if you are getting a lot, but definitely to the standout ones in order to remain personable. How you respond to reviews is just as important as the reviews themselves as this leaves an impression on the Web visitor.
Are you worried about receiving negative reviews? Don’t worry, they happen. How you respond to the negative review is an art form in itself. Read our blog post on the Dos and Don’ts of Handling Negative Reviews to find how you can turn it into an opportunity to further promote your hotel and its positive aspects.