August 18, 2008: Hoteliers need to work hard to nurture happy customers and avoid negative postings. They must monitor reviews on TripAdvisor especially, and react immediately if a negative review is posted. This articles shares some best practices on how to monitor online chatter about your hotel.
It’s common knowledge that the Internet has certainly changed how travel consumers perceive the credibility of information. Any discrepancy between “official” and “unofficial” content should be dealt with immediately. A travel supplier has to stand by its product/service, but cannot ignore the “popular vote” for its product’s quality. HeBS surveys and our own research show that consumer-generated content on social media sites and networks is perceived as more credible by online travelers. And the bigger the disparity between official and unofficial content, the bigger the gap in credibility.
So what are the most important hotel-related customer review sites? As part of a brand-defensive strategy, it’s unnecessary to monitor hundreds or thousands of review sites, but only the handful that the majority of travel reviewers’ visit. These sites are:
- TripAdvisor.com: TripAdvisor receives over 30 million visitors every month. The hotel can actively respond to any customer review via the ‘Hotel Owner’s Page’ by using the link located at the bottom of the page with customer reviews and then clicking on the ‘Respond to a Review’ link.
- Expedia.com: Expedia is the largest online travel agency (OTA). Currently the hotel can monitor all of Expedia’s customer reviews, but cannot actually respond to a review.
- Google.com: Google is the largest search engine with 60% of search traffic in the United States. Google provides a sampling of reviews for each hotel from TripAdvisor and other review sites (type in the hotel name + location, and then click on Reviews under the hotel listing). You can then visit each of the review sites and respond to an actual review there.
By monitoring reviews and comments on a weekly basis about your property on these 3 important websites, you can immediately address any issues and act appropriately. You must authorize someone specific at the property to respond to reviews (both negative and very positive).
The bottom line? Hoteliers need to work hard to nurture happy customers and avoid negative postings. They must monitor reviews on TripAdvisor especially, and react immediately if a negative review is posted. Use tools like Google Alerts and Technorati to monitor online chatter about your hotel. It’s much better to react to these postings and show your current and potential customers that you are 100% committed to serving them by addressing any and all problems, rather than sweeping complaints under the rug.
Best practices for monitoring social media sites