Love ‘em or hate ‘em, review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp! are powerful players in the tourism industry. From visiting local restaurants to booking far-off retreats, people want to know what their experience will be like before they get there. And for that they turn to online reviews.
Once upon a time, travelers may have relied on a friend, travel agent, or professional reviewer for recommendations on where to stay and what to do. Not anymore. Today, everyone’s a critic and 76% of consumers* say they trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends.
While bad reviews can certainly hurt your business—82% of consumers* are less likely to use a business after seeing a negative review—positive reviews are even more persuasive with 91% of consumers* saying that a positive review makes them more likely to do business with you. And with the proliferation of fake reviews, it’s good to know that consumers don’t blindly trust the first review they see. In fact, the average consumer reads 10 reviews* before feeling like they can trust a business.
With online reviews holding so much sway over your business, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless, even angry at the situation. Some business owners have resorted to black hat tactics such as paying for reviews (either positive ones for themselves or negative reviews about a competitor) or filing lawsuits against unhappy customers. But there are smarter ways to handle online reviews.
In fact, you can leverage reviews into a powerful resource for your travel business. They provide valuable feedback that facilitates improvements to your operations. And they are a source of testimonials you can put in your marketing materials. The key is to have an online reputation management strategy and the tools to implement it.
One emerging technology that can help you achieve your review goals is Guestmeter. This all-in-one reputation management software with offices in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Istanbul, Turkey is helping the global tourism industry harness the power of guest feedback.
I interviewed Remzi KAYA, Guest Service Officer at Guestmeter to learn more about how tour and hospitality brands can manage their reputation online.
Q. Please share a little about Guestmeter.
Guestmeter is a growing all-in-one reputation management platform helping the global hospitality industry to better understand and improve guest experience and manage reputation. Our skilled guest satisfaction experts develop bespoke technology that provides an easy tool for hospitality professionals to capture, monitor, and amplify guest reviews.
Q. For anyone who doesn't already know, what is reputation management?
Online reputation management is the act of growing, and managing what’s being said about a business online. However, maintaining a positive online reputation is more essential and challenging than ever. This is due to the ever-increasing volume of activity on a wide variety of review websites, social media platforms, online forums, and other digital channels.
Q. What can hospitality brands do to help manage their online reputation?
In the hospitality industry, it is vitally important to keep guests engaged around the clock in order for the business to grow and prosper. Excellent customer service is an opportunity for an organization to amaze and create a lasting impression, and that starts at the first point of contact. In order to gently persuade a guest to return, it is paramount to deliver what was promised. Every sector in the hospitality industry from travel and tourism, lodging, food and beverage, and recreation needs to learn how to constantly innovate to meet increasingly high expectations.
Q. What is the biggest challenge that hospitality brands face when managing their reputation?
Negative feedback can seem daunting. Your immediate reflex is to defend your company, but it’s important to remember the old adage, “the customer is always right”. Knowing how to reply to both positive and negative reviews is essential in order for your online reputation to survive.
Q. How do you recommend brands handle negative reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or Google?
Watch for negative reviews, respond quickly, and try to help the guests. Meanwhile, actively encourage happy guests to leave reviews. Unhappy guests tend to be the most vocal about their experiences, while happy or satisfied guests rarely write about their experience.
Q. How does Guestmeter help?
Guestmeter is a cloud based tool for the hospitality industry that captures guest feedback by sending guest satisfaction surveys via international SMS or E-mail. We identify happy and unhappy guests, prevent negative reviews before they are published online, and turn your guest experience into more positive reviews in Tripadvisor or Google.