One of the hottest KPI's for hotels across the world right now is the number of online reviews on TripAdvisor. Hotel Managers are feverishly trying to generate online reviews through a multitude of tactics ranging from asking people flat out, to sliding in a mention in post-stay emails. TripAdvisor's Popularity Index makes having an ongoing review strategy a MUST since their algorithms are based off of number of new reviews, review score and overall quantity of reviews. As a result, having dozens or hundreds of positive reviews has gone from nice to a MUST have as a main marketing objective in 2014.
So how does a hotel get more positive reviews on TripAdvisor and other review sites? Read these tips below and you and your hotel will be well on your way to not only getting a higher occupancy rate but improving your overall review score:
AWESOME GUEST SERVICE BOTH ONLINE AND OFFLINE
This is an obvious tactic to generate more positive reviews on TripAdvisor but it's often overlooked when trying to raise one's hotel rankings. Your guests are social powerhouses armed with more technology than Apollo's computer system that launched the astronauts to the moon. Remember that you're not only impressing your guest, but you're making a lasting impression on that guest's online social network that could range in the tens of thousands. Do you have someone monitoring mentions of your hotel online in real-time? Not only are your guests checking in at your front desk when they arrive, they are most likely checking in on FourSquare / Swarm, Facebook, Yelp, talking about their experience on Twitter, etc. You should be as welcoming online as you are offline. In the physical world, empowering your staff to be able to go above and beyond is immensely important. For example, writing handwritten thank you notes or giving out complimentary welcome amenities means the world to most guests and costs you almost nothing. We know that many guests will find the negative in some situations...and yes, some people are NEVER satisfied.... but 99.9% of the time, you have a chance to create a raving fan of your hotel or brand each time someone books their stay.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR GUEST'S FEEDBACK
Having a feedback system in place is needed. Gaining real-time or post stay feedback will allow you to make operational changes on the fly needed to improve the stay of other guest's experience. Guests will notice the positive changes you make and will ultimately leave more reviews on TripAdvisor with positive sentiment.Your rising review score average is directly correlated with the TripAdvisor's Popularity Index that ranks your hotel property in their search results. Market Loyal hotel customers receive higher than average quality and quantity online reviews. We focus on getting feedback from hotels guests during and after their stay but also help the hotel property "push" the positive internal feedback to turn into online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google and social media channels. Any negative feedback is kept close to internal processes and monitoring tools are setup to catch any feedback that goes around the Reputation Loyal™ system.
REWARD YOUR STAFF
We see many hotel properties offering incentives for individual employees or areas of the business mentioned in reviews. This creates a culture of exceptional guest service and an understanding of how important online reputation for the hotel brand really is. Make sure to have the tools in place to be able to track your customer's feedback on specific employees and specific areas of your hotel like housekeeping, front desk, restaurant, bar, etc. We suggest that you make the feedback and online reviews very visible to your hotel employees in the back of the house so they may feel involved in the process and see their hard work (or lack thereof) publicly recognized. We have even seen some great examples of hotels staging feedback and review contests that have really amped up the feedback scores.
RESPOND TO NEGATIVE FEEDBACK OR REVIEWS IMMEDIATELY
Negative mentions, feedback or reviews on TripAdvisor are going to happen. How you respond or if you respond at all is very important. Recent studies have shown that 84% of travelers agree that a response to a bad review from the hotel management, "improves their impression" of the hotel. 78% of those same travelers also agree that seeing responses from hotel management makes them feel that the "hotel actually cares" about their customers. Having the correct systems and strategies in place will allow you to respond in real-time and gain more control of the way potential hotel bookers perceive your online brand. Utilizing technology and review generation best practices are easy if you have the right partner and staff that totally understands the value.