Reputation management for Hotels – ‘Home away from Home’

It is a general notion that whatever ranks on Google is true and can be trusted; imagine someone running a hotel and receiving nothing but BAD reviews on a popular and trusted travel-website like ‘TripAdvisor that ranks high on Google.

If a hotel is trashed in reviews by a couple of users on TripAdvisor, then it is more than enough to bring its reputation down.

It won’t be easy to remove or block all negative comments about hotels, but one can always push them down by bringing good content up thereby making it rank on the first-pages of Google.

Top tips for Hotel Reputation Management:

  • Monitor social-networking sites, and other online media to check what people talk in general about your business
  • Respond to user comments, suggestions, feedback, complaints, and reviews, without fail
  • Regular communication and more of interaction with web-users on a daily basis helps, and can help one tap new business opportunities from nowhere
  • Actively communicate and interact with people/online users on some of these popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn
  • Submit relevant theme-based audio-video, and textual files more, to keep the users engaged
  • Creating/joining different online communities and groups, for chat and discussion forums always help, to know minds of people
  • Update your website daily/often with new stories about the business, post blogs, news articles about events and conferences etc. to keep the users well-informed about the company
  • Holiday deals, discounts and offers, contests and giveaways can help in keeping the online users grooved to the business
  • Incorporate reputation management in the ERP system to automate the business activities, and to streamline the process
  • One can even seek experts and consultants for business reputation management strategies

Finally, outsourcing online reputation management to Reputation Management Companies can be a better choice for the service industry as a whole!

Do Hotels need to have Reputation Management?

Do all hotels need to give a thought about reputation management; is this a critical new function in the travel industry? The answer is ‘Yes’. In the era of volatile social networking,  how a potential customers’ buying decision is influenced by traveler’s reviews is an important factor to be considered. Well precisely; it’s about monitoring, examining and responding to reviews and opinions of your hotel and taking part in social media to mold the perceptions of your brand. Continue reading “Do Hotels need to have Reputation Management?”

TripAdvisor positive or negative comments are they real?

We have been approached by many tourism companies both agents and hotels alike requestiong help with negative comments appearing about them on the search results.  More often than n0t they come from sites like tripadvisor whose business model is based on customer feedback.

There are 2 big issues with this:

  1. You tend to get more genuine feedback from customers who have had a negative experience rather than a positive one.
  2. Competitors write negative things about another company which are false.

So quite often Tripadvisor will not give a overall balanced feedback from customers because the same old saying is true “a customer who has had a bad experience will tell a 100 people where a customer who has a good experience will tell 10”.  Customers will normally only give feedback to a site like Tripadvisor if they have had a negative experience rather than a positive one.

We are also now seeing what we believe to be competitors writing bogus negative feedback about competing companies in order to trash their reputation.  It’s very bad practice and something we frown on and will certainly not get involved in.

What can you do about negative comments on Tripadvisor?

  1. Make sure there is genuinely not an issue that needs addressing if  many customers are complaining about the same thing.
  2. Offer customers a gift if they write something positive about their stay at your hotel on Tripadvisor
  3. Hire a company to help protect your reputation online and bury negative results in the search results.

The outcome, although you can’t get rid of negative comments totally is you can show a much more balanced view, in many ways this is much better than just positive or negative views.

Reputation Trends

One of the problem with many review sites across the Internet is that the reviews are presented in a timeless zone. Although reviews are dated, it is easy to forget that a critical review is actually two years old rather than last month. As a result changes in quality are difficult to assess without careful analysis of the different reviews and their dates.

One way to solve this would be to introduce reputation trend graphs which show how quality ratings are varying over time. Sure it was bad two years, but all the recent reviews demonstrate that this place/service is much better now.  Since most review site collect metrics over time it would be easy to represent them in graphical form.  Great for consumers and great for the businesses themselves.

Reputation Management Law & Right To Forget Law?

If you’re professional a doctor or a lawyer you’re probably wary of sites like RateMDs.com or LawyerRatingz.com, a bad review or comment there could make all the difference in your professional life. Reputation is all that matters to a doctor or lawyer their whole life, education and training all ride on this one factor through out their active years.

Good feedback from clients/patients on rating sites can double your value as a professional, you could be thinking of new offices and clinics with referrals from such sites. Much like hotel reviews on TripAdvisor can make or break your hotel’s reputation.  So what can you do if you have been maliciously slandered by someone out for a personal vendetta? Is there a way out?

When we read reviews online we tend to believe the person with a label similar to our own. For example: a review poster’s bio may be simply read – “50 year old man with arthritis” or “a mother of two toddlers” and the reader immediately connects with them. What follows in the review can make or break the reputation of the doctor being rated.

If all reputation management tricks fail to remove negative comments and reviews – law is the only way ahead. We could soon be having Reputation Management Law, wherein you could get the real identity of the poster revealed. You could actually find out if the malicious poster was actually your client or patient!!!

If you’re thinking ..”no way is this happening”, let me tell you that this has happened already – Lawiscool.com has reported exactly this …

The case of  Dr. Mohamed Foda of Leduc, Alberta, who forced RateMDs to provide information about a negative poster through the California Northern District Court in Foda et al v. RateMDs, Inc.  

Administrator of RateMDs, John Swapceinski, says that the site gets letters from lawyers once a month.  Not surprisingly, they do not comply with the requests.  The site does serve an important public function for consumers of healthcare.  But Swapceinski also said that Dr. Foda’s suit is the first time a lawyer has actually followed through and sued the site, and he indicated he would cooperate with a subpoena to release the information if one was provided.”

Here at Reputation Management For.com we welcome any such legislation and this could very well lead to a whole new branch in corporate reputation management. We are all for justice and this is reputation management at its most effective.

A grey area here could be the right to privacy and the big news today is that France is pondering on a Right To Forget Law to protect people from their own Tweets and Facebook posts!

These are very interesting times indeed for reputation management. Watch this space for updates on any legislation coming the reputation management way!

Flyglobespan is part of a long list of failures

Flyglobespan, British Airways, where does it stop, the tourist industry has been hammered with negative news and press.   On the BBC last night they were talking about the average staff’s wages, the average BA cabin crew gets almost double what they get at Virgin.  Either BA is paying way to much or Virgin is under paying either way there are no winners when figures like these are released.

The tourism industry as a whole is under attack with hotels reputation being tested with negative feedback on sites like Tripadvisor putting potential customers off.  This latest news about Flyglobespan certainly will not help the industry, who wants to go abroad and worry about not getting back.  The hotels miss out big time on all the destinations that Flyglobespan flew to.  The knock on effect is massive, restaurants, shops, taxi drivers, the list goes on.

The Internet can be very one sided, hotels, air carriers, tour operators by the very nature of what they do have tens of 1000’s of customers.  It is totally down to the laws of average that no matter what you do or how fantastic your customer service, you will have someone, somewhere not happy about the service.  Obviously having a bad customer service and ignoring issues can compound negative press online.  In the good old days word of mouth was normally the only place annoyed customers would vent their frustrations.  With the dawn of the Internet came along blogs, social network site, forums and other avenues for people to write about a bad experience they might have had with a hotel, restaurant etc.  Now the whole world can listen rather than just friends and family.

Customers who have had a very good experience do not often tell people about it unless asked, and they certainly don’t write about it, so because of this the Internet can become a company’s worst enemy rather than best friend.

Fixing this could be easier than you’d think, yes it does take time, resource and require systems in place, but done correctly it can not only help manage your reputation online but even attract more customers.  Having for example a facility to capture customer feedback and publish them to the web is a good example.

The big lesson with PR and reputation management is don’t leave it until it becomes a crisis and you are loosing business, make sure you are take a proactive approach and protect your businesses reputation.

Why should hotels need an online complaint review?

The hospitality industry is yet to master the tricks to deal with reviews on social media. The user-generated reviews are exploding and consumers are gaining greater power to broadcast on communities like  Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Yelp, or any group of the social networking forums. The pace of this change has certainly caught many hotels off guard. A recent survey conducted by the Market Metrix and Trip Advisor found that 85% of the hotels have no guidelines on how to handle the negative guest reviews.

The hotels have always worked hard to keep their guests happy, in part because of the fact of repeat business to maximise occupancy, they fail to realise that one unhappy customer can take a huge toll on their reputation. This could result in losing  five other likely guests. With the advent of the social media, the hotel management needs to keep track of a huge crowd viewing an online negative comment or review which may be untrue.

This puts us back to the square one and the question is how to deal with the negative comments.

The standard responses like repeatedly stating how you value their feedback, without properly addressing the specific comment does not do any good to change the negative review online. Instead you could even address it to  the concerned online forum or review site could be the answer.

The hotel management could perhaps follow the comments on TripAdvisor and can prove foul play in those cases which they think it is a fabricated story. Therefore, complaint recovery acts as one of the best ways to build customer loyalty and negate your negative reviews.

So, look out for your online reputation, negative or positive, private or public, its time to take a more active role in the online dialogues. Keep an eye on your business reputation before it gets too bad or out of your control. Never ignore the online reviews, because in a later period it might cost you dearly!