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Is Your Hotel Effectively Managing its Online Reputation?
By Manoj K Mohanty
Monday, 2nd April 2012
 
The internet is a massive presence among the travel community, with guests extensively using social media to decide and book hotel stays, hospitality properties of all sizes have no choice but to get online.

Social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are a great way to post updates on events being organized, loyalty schemes, pictures of your property, videos, positive feedback by guests and other communication.

The more a hotel interacts and engages on social media, the more it leaves an online trail of content. This brings us to the important aspect of online reputation management.

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management is the process of monitoring online conversations on social media sites. This monitoring is about one’s brand and includes executing online strategies to highlight positive aspects of one’s property.

Online reputation management involves a gamut of activities
  • Starting and growing an online community
  • Posting interesting updates that compel guests to reply and comment
  • Managing information generated and responding to guest feedback
Today, online presence for hotel’s has moved a step further. Many are leveraging their presence online by putting up a tab on Facebook which allows prospects to quickly come to the hotel website and book rooms.

While hospitality properties have the potential to grow and thrive in an online environment, this is hardly a one way street. The empowering aspect of online communication is that it allows guests to constantly give feedback to hotels, pushes hotels to respond and engage with guests, and subsequently improve facilities. It also allows hotels to launch innovative loyalty programs and constantly build their brand.

Steps to Online Reputation Management

Three simple steps can enable hospitality properties, be it hotels, serviced apartments, resorts, restaurants, clubs, café’s, lounges or spas to effectively manage their online reputation.

Monitor
To respond quickly to your guest’s queries and suggestion’s, have someone from your hotel constantly monitor your social media properties, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or document sharing sites. Some hospitality properties have automated customer relationship and loyalty management solutions that integrate social media, in which case hotels can access a dashboard to centralize monitoring. An automated solution also allows for instant notification when one’s hotel is mentioned, allows access to guest feedback reports, and creates a database of social searches which enables hotels to locate opportunities.

Listen and Learn
Monitoring online social media spaces offers hospitality properties the opportunity to constantly receive guest feedback and improve their facilities. This benefits both guests and hotels - guests can experience higher customer satisfaction while hotels are able to identify and benefit from new revenue avenues.

Manage and Engage
A constant activity for the person in charge of a hotel’s social media property is to engage followers and fans with interesting content, contests, and get them to comment. User generated content has tremendous value today and it does not matter whether the feedback is positive or not. Managing feedback is a skill that allows hotels to correct systems and come across as caring for guests.

Leveraging a Reputation Management Application

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You can choose to manage you online reputation through an independent application or one that is incorporated into your hospitality ERP. There are numerous advantages to having a reputation management application.

A part of the larger customer relationship management strategy, integrating reputation management into your hospitality ERP allows hotels to store data in a single database, enables hotels to access and leverage it across departments and pull up complex reports that help locate trends and address issues better.

Cloud based solutions have their own advantage in that they often have features that are constantly updated and improved. The solution can be accessed from anywhere, even outside the hotel property, and if the hotel has outsourced their online reputation management to a vendor,  it is easier to give them access to a cloud solution. While an application is extremely helpful to manage one’s online reputation, choosing a solution depends on a hotel’s needs.

So if you were wondering if you should begin managing your online reputation or not, this article should be able to help you decide, and also get started.

Author
Manoj K Mohanty
Vice President – Sales, South and Central Asia
Manoj’s association with IDS started in 2001, when he began as a business partner providing sales, installation and support services to customers. This hotelier, with a Master’s degree in Computer Science, joined IDS as Regional Manager – Sales for East India in 2004. In his current role as Vice President – Sales, South and Central Asia, he handles India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and CIS countries.


The author can be contacted at mmanoj@idsfortune.com or easy@idsfortune.com

About IDS NEXT

IDS NEXT, is a global leader in providing ERP and total technology solutions for the Hospitality and Leisure industries. With a track record that spans 25 years, we have earned the trust of over 3000 customers globally, and have a strong presence in 40 countries across South Asia, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. IDS NEXT’s clients include a host of prominent hotel chains including Sarovar Hotels & Resorts, ITC Fortune Group, Royal Orchid Hotels, Pride Hotels, Ramada Hotels and others. For further information please visit http://idsnext.com
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