Online Reputation Management for Hotels

by Anna McHenry December 31, 2012

Guest satisfaction has been always the main concern in the hospitality industry, which often was translated into good reviews in renowned publications such as Fodor’s or Forbes Travel Guide, which was the first to launch the stars rating system in 1958 to classify the quality of hotels. Over time, the star rating system comprised not just the installations, facilities and amenities of a hotel, but the overall service, staff experience, and guest ratings.

However, modern times, modern methods to classify and rate hotels, but also to manage their online reputation. In the 21st century, the Internet plays an important role in guest satisfaction because those old printed guides that were mostly read by travelers planning their vacations are now teleported to online versions. However, this is not all, every day there are more websites providing people with a space to leave comments, feedback, and reports about their experience visiting a given hotel. In addition, new hotel and travel review sites have come into the web scene, making necessary that hotel managers take action to manage their online reputation because from the good or bad online postings depends on their ratings today.



Understanding Online Reputation


Hotel is ultimately a business that requires, like any other, of a carefully planned marketing campaign to attract customers. Nonetheless, websites such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, InfoHub, Travelocity, Get Satisfaction, and Foursquare are just some of the influencer sources that attract surfers to leave feedback about hotels, venues, and services. This feedback is translated into good reputation or bad reputation that has turned into a more powerful decision maker than the advice of the expert traveler or traveling critic of the past.



Hotel Online Reputation Management Software


Actually, hotel managers have a useful resource in online reputation management software that helps them to resolve quickly issues that their clientele reports online, and that can be determining to get people making a choice for an establishment, or that can hurt even a solid brand reputation. However such software can also perform other useful tasks for productivity analysis, including competitors benchmarking, problems troubleshooting, sales-boosting, and bigger staff involvement towards service excellence.



Software Features


In today’s world, computers play an important role in business success, hence there is no better way to manage a hotel reputation than getting installed this type of management tool, which is not limited to track the reputation that people leave online, but is also a complete suite of marketing solutions that include:

1. Social media monitoring and responding tool
2. Semantic Analysis, summary or detailed
3. Task management and group level reporting
4. Automated sales and marketing reports
5. Competitors report and competitive quality

Corporate applications can track whole hotel chains, but there are simpler programs that enable small hotels to manage efficiently their online reputation.



How All of This Works


Online reputation management software monitors all social networking and review sites and triggers an alert every time that the name of the hotel that operates the application is published. Once that the software is installed onto the business computer, it can be set up with specific parameters about the hotel or keywords associated with specific services or accommodation packages.

Depending on the software sophistication, it is possible to change some settings to include only guest satisfaction websites, or a whole array of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, etc, and even tracking blogs and forums where the hotel is mentioned.

All the information that the software gathers serves to understand the influence of individuals who have made use of services and knowing their opinions and complaints, so if they had any trouble during their stay, a hotel can publicly resolve their problem, fulfill their satisfaction expectations, and improve their reputation aura attracting new customers.

At a time, online reputation management serves to push down negative comments even when they have been satisfactorily resolved by a hotel representative. This is because the lower these comments appear in the social media, the higher the rank of the hotel not just in a specialized review and social networking sites, but also in search engines, hence it is often used with SEO purposes too.

Online reputation management can be performed by a hotel internal services or as an outsourcing service but requires a human staff that with the aid of this type of specialized software can bring better results than Public relations, committed to resolving these challenges in the past. Online reputation management cannot change an individual’s mind when leaving feedback, but can effectively control the way in which reputation is used to rank a hotel’s service, pushing up the good one.

Anna McHenry
Anna McHenry is the Director of Client Services here at McKremie. She tweets from @McKremie so stop by and say "hi" on Twitter.

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