A customer is browsing the web, looking for the ideal place to spend her long-awaited vacation days. She scans through online listings for a hotel offering the precise services and rates her budget allows. She comes across your hotel’s webpage, notices its five-star rating, and scrolls down to begin the booking process. But before committing to the purchase she notices, right along the sidebar, detailed accounts of experiences other guests have had at your hotel.
Does she decide to book a stay with you? Is she wowed by the picture these web reviews paint? Or does she discover within them unflattering customer service information you would rather not share?
Online hotel reviews are a mainstay of the modern hotel management world. If you’re suited to a career in the fast-paced and thriving hospitality industry, a strategic understanding of the online review circuit can get you off to a strong start—and ensure that guests click through to your online booking page every time.
Here’s a guide to the world of web reviews for hotel management students:
1. Understanding the World of Hotel Reputation
According to TripAdvisor, 93 percent of the people find web reviews important when choosing a hotel. 53 percent of the people surveyed would not book a hotel without having a guest opinion about it.
“In the very competitive field of the hospitality industry, your online reputation directly affects your sales volume,” explains Sarah Harkness, a hotel marketing analyst. “For this reason, it is becoming more and more important to keep tracking your reputation all over the web.”
From this need comes the business of hotel reputation management. Hotel reputation management involves assessing a hotel’s internet and social media presence and optimizing it to reflect a positive, appealing public image. This involves keeping tabs on a hotel’s social media accounts, checking which channels people are using to book reservations, and using specialized tools (like Google Analytics) to monitor and assess your website and social media revenue traffic.
These strategies allow professionals to tactfully handle user-generated content, ensuring that this influential medium doesn’t extend too far beyond a hotel manager’s control.
2. How Pros Generate Positive User Content
Web analytics aside, what’s the simplest way to ensure your future hotel has consistently positive online reviews? Learning to provide guests with world-class service, of course!
In a top hotel management program, you’ll develop the skillset you need to run a professional, successful hotel, from charisma to practical operational skills and beyond. That way, you can encourage guests to provide reviews with confidence that they’ll relay how happy they are with the services you’ll provide.
3. Hotel Management Courses Teach Students How to Respond to Negative Feedback
Unfortunately, the odd negative review or two is inevitable in the hospitality business. Trained hospitality management professionals know how to respond and learn from these reviews as well.
“The best way to respond to a negative review is to be swift, honest, acknowledge the reviewer’s main concerns, and detail your plan of attack,” Harkness advises.
Jeff Higley, editorial director of HotelNewsNow magazine, agrees that a public promise to make the situation right is always a manager’s best way forward.
“Write a response that includes something about what the guest said,” Higley explains, “so he or she knows it’s genuine and you read what was written.”
Considerate, personalized responses to guests will come second-nature to you when you’ve honed your customer service skills in hotel management school. The right training and a knack for hotel reputation management will make positive web reviews come easily, and ensure your professional web presence is set to impress!
Visit AOLCC for more information on getting started.