8 Hospitality Experts on How to Strengthen Online Reputation
Reviews and online reputation have long been a fixture in any hotel’s operational strategy, and while review volume had slowed down during the pandemic, it has now risen by 46.5% YOY since Q1 2021. If done right, online reputation and review management provides an excellent opportunity for hotels in a year that is set to be an opportunity for a reset.
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We asked thought leaders in the hotel industry to share their insights and strategies on how hotels can strengthen their online reputation in 2022. Here are the highlights from their responses.
“We analyze, analyze, and analyze again to keep track of the most relevant aspects of a stay in today’s post-pandemic world to make sure that we keep on taking the good decisions based on our guests’ feedback. We have been able to overcome the issues related to staffing shortages by partnering with a tech/ human company specialized in responding to reviews for the hospitality industry. The tool helps our teams to respond rapidly thanks to its AI technology, and still ensures that we keep control of every single response published in the hotel’s name.”
Silvia Battistella, Barcelo Hotel Group
1) “We identify the operational areas of improvement at a very detailed level using analytics.
2) We prepare action plans to address them.
3) We define actions for the most relevant online platforms.
4) We introduce new tools, particularly in-stay.
5) We improved monitoring of results (better and more personalized dashboards, higher frequency).”
João Leite, Pestana Hotel Group (Lisbon, Portugal)
“The key to boosting review scores lies in product and service improvement, an area that has taken a big hit from the pandemic. Now that more countries are reopening, it is time to clearly highlight your product and services and set clear expectations with your guests before they book their stay. A higher level of communication will cut back on the negative reviews. Any new upgrade in service and product should also be clearly shared with the guests to help drive more positive reviews for your asset.”
Vikram Singh, WordsofVikram.com (Hawaii, USA)
“The approach taken by Kempinski is to firstly ensure our Corporate, Regional and Hotel Quality Teams are taking full advantage of the analytics available in ReviewPro to enable our hotels to fully understand the areas negatively impacting GRI™ and to amplify the areas that are being positively mentioned by our guests. Secondly, using our internal auditing tool we have implemented a process of ongoing self-audits for key guest journey touchpoints which are checked, reviewed and, where needed, optimized on a weekly basis. Lastly, we are placing additional focus on regular on-job refresher training to address areas highlighted in guest reviews, our own post-stay survey and the internal audits.”
Antony Shaw, Kempinski Hotels S.A.
“Concise and honest communications with guests that help manage expectations. Use technology to remove repetitive and non-value-add interactions and retrain people for the high value interactions, namely problem-solving for guests.”
Martin Soler, Soler & Associates
“Automatizing all that is automatable is the number one priority. Our industry is way too reliant on biological staff. And if it’s true that hospitality is, de facto, the most high-touch industry ever to exist, it is also true that the staff shortage is not going to be solved any time soon (my bet? It will NEVER be solved). Implement chatbots, self-check-in/out, keyless tech, kiosks, automated upselling tools, RMSs, AI-fueled email reservation assistants, etc. Your costs will go down, your guests will be happier, and you won’t be so dependent on humans anymore. It’s a win/win/win situation, just one API away.”
Simone Puorto, Travel Singularity
“As hotels add more automation and self-service options, there will be less and less direct contact between employees and guests. That works well when all goes smoothly, but when something goes wrong—and it will—good old-fashioned human hospitality must kick in. Employees and managers must be trained and empowered to show empathy and understanding, resolve issues quickly and decisively and, if they can’t fix the problem, show they’re trying their best. This makes guests more forgiving, more loyal, and more generous in their reviews.”
“Data and technology will be the great differentiators for high-performance hotels in 2022 and beyond. Now is the time to invest in best-of-breed solutions to monitor and manage guest feedback and communications at every stage of the guest journey. Hotels that leverage guest feedback to make data-driven decisions on the property will reap the rewards in terms of guest satisfaction and, of course, great reviews and online reputation.”
Michael Kessler, CEO, ReviewPro