The recent Hotelier Middle East GM survey further cements what the industry has known all along — you can no longer ignore online reviews.
In this survey, hotel managers express their concern over social media and reviews of their properties. One of the respondents expressed having to deal with negative comments on the Internet, even further suggesting their business doesn’t have any control over the “blackmailing” of other guests.
The survey may have some cultural undertones to it, but the premise is universal. The results are very similar in other parts of the world.
How Online Reviews Affect Your Hotel Operations
To get you some numbers, look into this insightful infographic from Repup. According to it, positive reviews could potentially increase the average daily rate by 6.9%. In other words, your business gets to earn more money.
That’s not the only benefit, though. Marketing online isn’t easy. SEO rules can change overnight, competition is incredibly tough, and you need to keep up with so many metrics. Then there’s the dream to chase, which is to make yourself appear in the top-most part of search results.
It turns out online reviews could help do that for you. You can increase the crawl to your website by as much as 200% more frequently. That means more pages are indexed, and you have more chances of appearing in the search results if someone wants to book a room within your area.
Most of all, online reviews affect consumer behaviour. Almost 98% read online reviews and more than 90% take recommendations, especially from friends and family, to heart. In fact, over 50% of travellers won’t book a room in hotels with no reviews.
Get Those Online Reviews Coming
If you’re a hotelier, you need to do two things today — set up your social media pages and encourage your guests to leave online reviews. The latter, though, is tricky.
Apart from giving away incentives, such as discounts on their next stay or running contests, it’s time to enrich their experience while in your hotel. Maintain the building’s upkeep, for instance.
One of the common complaints of guests — and an important criterion in choosing a hotel — is air-conditioning. To maximise its efficiency and longevity, you can invest in a hydraulic separator. Don’t forget the heater for the shower, as well. These are tiny upgrades with a major impact you wouldn't want to ignore.
You can never control what travellers say about you, but you can give them the best reasons to tell the world what an awesome place you have.