Guest reviews and social media are adding more value to a hotel's revenue and marketing strategy, managed effectively they can enhance the fortunes and profits of the property.
A report from Cornell University identified that a hotel has a potential to increase its rates by 11.2% while continuing to keep the same occupancy rate and market share, simply by increasing its review score by one point within the five-point scale.
Bring 100% success to your social media investment and optimise the performance of guest reviews with essential data that will allow you to understand your customers. Follow these ten rules to optimising the social web to improve bookings and revenue for your property.
RULE 1: Have a presence on social media
It is paramount today to have a presence on social media; this will provide additional anchors for search engines and a place for guests and loyal customers to connect with your properties. It's a free marketing channel to publish new deals, share exciting announcements and inform your network of important news and developments at the property. By 2017 35% of the world's population will be socially networked.
RULE 2: Read your reviews
Don't hide under the blanket; you need to be aware of what your guests are saying about you. It may not all be sweetness and joy, but by managing the right data you will begin to optimise how these reviews work to your favour. TripAdvisor, Booking and Expedia all have their own review channel, and every OTA is developing their own guest rating feedback and score. Research has found that 55% of travellers are influenced by comments following research on social media - this is a big aspect of any hotel marketing.
Guests actually make decisions based on the star rating and reviews.
RULE 3: Interact with your guests, don't ignore the comments
It's one thing seeing the feedback from your guests, but to truly take advantage of the review websites you should listen and engage. Incorporate a tool in your property that brings all reviews to a single inbox, allowing you to reply directly or forward and report to the relevant department. Even TripAdvisor found that the more reviews responded to by management the higher the average rating and page views and ultimately booking enquiry clicks achieved. According to the study one response can increase engagement by 17%.
Show your guests and future guests you are listening and acting.
RULE 4: Understand your performance
One negative review does not mean that your hotel will suffer, what's important is to understand how all the reviews impact your overall score and sentiment towards your property. This is where data is essential. Compiling reports based on various criteria such as housekeeping, reception, eating facilities, rooms/suites etc., which in return provides your hotel with the unique opportunity of collocate guest reviews and feedback about all the hotels in your neighbourhood.
Truly know your unique selling point, what are your customers saying?
RULE 5: Monitor your social media pages
Social media is not a one-way street, you can't have pages and accounts and ignore what is posted or said by your customers. So make sure you are updated about what is happening on the official pages of your property on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blog.
You can start and continue a conversation that becomes a relationship.
RULE 6: Attend to the most damaging aspects of your hotel's reputation
You cannot fix what isn't broken, and if you don't know what is broken - how can you fix it? Download regular reports that shows the basic outlook towards the most influential positive and negative issues indicated in the reviews and feedback about your hotel or serviced apartment. The feedback will tell you what needs improvement to ensure your rating gets better, while simultaneously being essential information to better tailor your marketing campaign. In a PhocusWright study 87% of survey participants concurred an appropriate management response to a negative review improved their impression of the hotel.
Fix the leaks first!
RULE 7: Competitive advantage through the eyes of the customer
You may know rates, location and the services that differentiate your hotel from your competitors, but do you really know what your guests care about? Benchmark your hotel over a longer period of time with a vis-à-vis competitive set allowing you to closely observe the peculiar pros and cons of your hotels to your competitors.
Make it easy on yourself to snoop on your competitors.
RULE 8: Know who your guests really are, don't assume them
Guests walk through your doors every day and no doubt you assume who they are, where they're from, and why they're there - even making presumptions by the way they dress or interact with you. Get real detail on your guest that presents specific details about the level of satisfaction of various reviewer segments such as business, leisure, business & leisure and/or uncategorized. These personas and profiles are detected on the basis of a particular reviewer’s statement about why he/she stayed in a specific hotel. This data will help you better tailor your services and most of all your the way you market your property to optimise value, bookings and revenue.
RULE 9: Monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
An email campaign, a banner ad, or a YouTube video can create conversations that can be fully tracked, but with traditional channels like print, TV or radio you may never know about the effectiveness. ROI is essential to marketing investment, and with people spending more time online than ever before you can see how your target market is interacting with your brand through social media, adwords and online advertising. The popular use of tags and hashtags means a report measuring and monitoring mentions will give you greater transparency of your marketing campaigns that maybe able to bring you even more value from your marketing investment.
React quicker to the most influential channels to further optimise your budgets and tactics.
RULE 10: Make money from social media
Social media started life as a network that became companies full of essential customer data, an essential business intelligence tool that can provide you with the value of each and every business stepping foot in your hotel. Juxtapose your social media data with actual bookings and other internal performance measurements to calculate the value per guest. Link your historical bookings, average daily booking rate, website traffic and guest satisfaction data with positive/negative reviews posted in online platforms. In this way you can understand the specific reasons and drivers that make a strong impact on your bottom line. The report surveys all the negative/positive mentions, for instance, about “check-in” and “breakfast menus” on websites such as Booking.com and Agoda, which shapes your overall score in related categories. In a PhoCusWright study 62% agreed that seeing the hotel's response to reviews generally influenced them positively to booking at that hotel - there's money to be made. Essential data that will help you optimise booking channels, rates and packages to improve occupancy, rates and revenue for the long term.
Support your hotels’ brand and corporate identity
Find out more - Brand Manager by BookLogic