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How to Improve Your Online Reputation in 4 Steps.
By Rochelle Castillejos
Friday, 25th April 2014
 
Do your feelings get hurt when you read one of these on TripAdvisor?

Nowadays, there are many people writing negative reviews, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, not even providing constructive criticism, and you might be feeling powerless against all that.

Even more, all these things hurt your reputation immensely. According to the TripBarometer survey by TripAdvisor, "93% of travelers worldwide say their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews".

I remember an audit that I did for a client. I was surprised to find out that they had not submitted a single response to any of the feedback that guests made on different travel sites. I urgently flagged the general manager about this and I was informed that they were already handling the situation. Unfortunately, soon after that, we had to separate our ways, and they chose to ignore my comments and do nothing about the negative reviews. You need to make sure that you are not making the same mistake.

So what do you need to do to conquer the web and protect your reputation? To find out, read on.

Step 1: Take criticism seriously and take action

Even though you might feel that some of the negative reviews are simply being unjust, there are many comments that can help you improve your hotel. Read them and take action.

These actions can be as simple as having a training on "complaints handling", reorientation on "telephone etiquette", tweaking the website to make it more user-friendly, free WiFi in the room, etc.

Step 2: Respond to reviews

Did you fix that issue with hot water not working in room 305? Let the reviewer know. Write a positive response, tell that the issue has been fixed (or underway), thank the person, and apologize for the inconvenience. Maybe even offer a discount for her next booking if you think the situation asks for it.

And if someone writes an extremely positive review, you might also want to thank that person. These will all show that you value your guests' experience above all else.

Most important thing is, be careful with your tone, always sound positive.

Step 3: Consider using an "online reputation management" tool

There are many online reputation management tools out there. I have personally worked with trustyou, and I was happy with their product. There are many others like ReviewPro, Revinate, HootSuite, and Google Alerts. Make use of them. They will speed up the process, and even if you need to pay for them, you will get more guests thanks to your improved online reputation, and this will subsidize the costs.

Step 4: Make sure your guests leave your hotel happy

This sounds intuitive right? But there is no better way to improve your reputation than making sure people are satisfied with what they are getting and making sure that their problems are solved before they leave your hotel.

Encourage customers to give feedback to you during their stay by sending them texts, leaving out forms for them to fill out, and most importantly by making sure that your staff is properly trained to handle customer complaints. Make it a priority to do your best to deal with the problem immediately.

Responding to negative comments is one thing, and trying to not get negative comments is another. The latter will always be much superior to the former.

To wrap it up, all these come down to being genuinely interested in helping your guests. Make sure your guests are happy and you will surely be a happier hotel.

About the Author

Rochelle Castillejos has over 15 years of industry experience in the fields of Sales and Marketing, Revenue Management, RFPs (Request for Proposals), IBEs (Internet Booking Engines), CRSs (Central Reservations Systems), PMSs (Property Management Systems), RMSs (Revenue Management Systems), OTAs (Online Travel Agencies), and GDSs (Global Distribution System). She oversaw around 55 hotels in the regions of Americas, Europe, Mediterranean, Asia Pacific and Middle East throughout her career.

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