Boost your Properties Reputation and Increase your Bookings with 6 Ways to Get More Guest Reviews Now!!
Ask any hotelier what the top five most important assets are and across-the-board, reviews and reputation would be on every one of their lists. Undoubtedly, the lifetime value of a customer and their internal human capital are imperative to ongoing success. But when seeking to attract new guests, having quality reviews will bring your hotel to life and are as valuable as gold.
Beyond photos and videos of your property, reviews are able to bring an unbiased, third-party perspective that is able to carry a lot of weight, instill more confidence and provide reassurance to potential future guests.
Emails, text messages, social outreach, Wi-Fi capture and many other initiatives have been put in place to seek to secure reviews and feedback from consumers. To simplify the multitude of practices and strategies to solicit more reviews from guests, we have laid out the six main categories, strategies and efforts that your marketing and sales team or agency should consider to enhance those micro-moments leading up to a positive review for any hoteliers, independent or branded, property.
+ “WIFT” Messaging – Positioning Review for Future Guests
One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways to get more reviews from your guests is by reframing who the review truly serves. Instead of positioning reviews to be beneficial for the hotel, guests are far more likely to leave a review for another guest or peer that could be able to benefit from their experience and insight. In your messaging and positioning be sure that you frame the review as beneficial and advantageous for future guests to see what the hotel experience was like for others that got the branded experience.
Like all marketing, considering what is in it for them and positioning the review to benefit their peers or themselves, not the brand, will receive the best output. This will result in more information from your consumers that you can use to enhance the experiences you provide. If anything, this one simple change across your outlets in which you solicit reviews will increase the number of reviews you get from guests that currently stay with you.
+ Leverage Tech – Automate & Schedule the Process
Today’s hotel owners and marketers can harness a multitude of technology and software that can automate outreach and streamline the processes to engage and solicit customer reviews. Some of the review and reputation management platforms we use even have the ability to integrate your former clients from a spreadsheet to solicit reviews, as well as the ability to SMS text messages to guests. We can implement a review process that within 90-minutes of the checkout process, an automated, personalized text can be sent to guests inquiring about their experience, as well as diversifying their reviews across multiple outlets.
Some of my favorite technology is also looking at internal as well as guest communication and how you can set up these and refine your communication systems as well. We empower hotels to send pre-determined messages like the Wi-Fi password, updates about happy hours, events, or even pre-trip information. Systems can be utilized to send a message via text, WhatsApp, or even Facebook Messenger following their stay in a matter of hours to be timely and relevant, and increasing the effectiveness of securing a valuable review for your boutique hotel or resort.
+ Diversify Reviews – Ensure You’re Hitting Multiple Directories
Google is the most common profile to seek reviews on, aside from industry-related outlets like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc. Diversifying your reviews by ensuring you’re providing access for your guests to review your hotel on multiple directories is key to increasing reviews across multiple boards. Google wants to see that you have reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, OpenTable, Foursquare, Apple Maps, and a multitude of others as well. By doing this, you become relevant to a multitude of people and are not tricking or hacking their system to just be relevant to one.
At SoCap, our reputation tool allows owners to change the primary outlet to solicit reviews so they are able to encourage customers to leave them across various outlets. Additionally, if a guest has a negative experience and that leaves three-star reviews or less, it won’t post the review to the outlet. Rather, it emails and notifies the general manager so they have a chance to rectify the experience and turn a bad review into a positive one.
+ Give a Little. Benefit a Lot. – Incentives that are Reciprocal
One successful way we have found for receiving reviews is incentivizing little behaviors at the end of customers’ stay, like “Grab-n-Go” food, a credit towards their transportation, etc. upon showing the front desk that they shared their review. Offering to give a $15 dollar credit towards transportation to their next destination provides value and timely incentives upon checkout that will leave a positive final lasting impression. Alternatively, a “Grab-n-Go” meal and coffee is another offer that can be extended to guests through notifications and push-messages that are of mutual value at the time of check out.
+ Encourage Social Media Sharing – Share the Love, Reap the Rewards
While most reviews are only seen on your property profile, encouraging guests to share that amongst their own social network to increase awareness and impressions can be very valuable. Encouraging guests to share that positive experience can be a really effective way to increase brand awareness and build customer advocacy.
+ Engage. Connect. Repeat. – Keep in Touch & Keep it Personal
We find that most independent and boutique hotel owners forget to engage and respond to the reviews they get from guests. This is truly one of the easiest and fastest ways to extend your customer service and engagement with a client. Responding within 24 hours, or ideally even the same day, to a guest review as part of a routine for your marketing team is likely to increase the effectiveness of the reviews at large. Future guests are able to see that you have responded appropriately, acknowledging or even thanking guests for their stay. That attention to detail and customer service is a reflection of your overall brand.
Instilling consumer confidence through reviews can be an extremely effective and influential way to drive future bookings and brand loyalty. By understanding and implementing the techniques here, we have found that our clients are able to dramatically increase customer engagement, solicit reviews and get feedback from customers about where to enhance their on-property experience through some simple, yet hyper-effective, tactics.
If you or your marketing team feels that you don’t have the appropriate resources to implement these tactics yourselves and would prefer to lean on our team’s expertise, don’t hesitate to reach out and inquire about our review and reputation management services or how we more effectively convert guests to direct bookings through our integrated marketing approach.