Here at Nextgen Hospitality Solutions one of our core tenants of reputation management has always been “TripAdvisor is your friend, and if it’s not…make it one!” Let’s face it folks, TripAdvisor is a trusted resource for most leisure travelers, chances are they think of it and visit it first, BEFORE your brands or hotels own website. Also, remember that Social Media is about being “social” with your guests; Trip Advisor is a fantastic place to start having meaningful conversations with them so don’t avoid it!
I know that sometimes the conversation you find on TripAdvisor is not always the one you would choose to have (in the case of complaints), however, it’s always an opportunity for improvement when a guest lets you know how they feel about your quality or service and you choose to have a real dialogue with them. The Software Advice article, “How The Four Seasons Hotel Maintains Top TripAdvisor Ratings” very clearly spells out the importance of both having that dialogue, as well as having a clear and concise plan of action when dealing with guest complaints AND compliments.
The basics of this plan are simple:
- Monitoring online comment sites for feedback, they utilize a program called Revinate
- Establishing deadlines for response
- Standardizing a template to address complaints
- Leaving a personal response for compliments.
The results, however, are anything but simple! The Four Seasons Austin has maintained top TripAdvisor ranking for over 3 years, up from a ranking of 27! I will point out that the place I differ in opinion from the blog writer, Mr. Taylor Short, is in automating the search for online comments. Although I have never used Revinate, and do appreciate the metrics demonstrated in the blog, I still believe that a thorough in person search needs to be done regularly of your hotels comments.
I have to say BRAVO to General Manager Rob Hagelberg and his entire crew for a job well done. In fact I would have to say that these 4 basic guidelines are regularly espoused to our own client hotels, with very similar results. This is just basic customer service mixed with a little old common sense. In fact I would even go so far as to say take it a step further. Establish a 24 hour response deadline to ALL feedback, positive or negative regardless of where you find it! There is nothing better than to feel like someone is out there and listening, make sure you keep listening to your guests, if you don’t one of your competitors will!
I would like to thank the fine folks at Software Advice, Mr. Robert Bellovin I am looking at you, for making sure I was paying attention and pointing me at this fine article! I would also like to encourage our other readers to share THEIR opinions of TripAdvisor with us here. We would also welcome any other recommendations for Blog topics as well, either leave them below or send them to me directly at SocialHotelGuy@gmail.com. Thanks! SHG
Since writing this article I visited one of the properties I consult for and, despite not having top ranking on TripAdvisor they did receive the 2013 Certificate of Excellence Award. This from constant and immediate response to their comments and encouraging ALL guests (not just the ones you think like you) to leave comments. The result has been a 17% increase, year over year, in OFF SEASON business, primarily from OTA bookings! TripAdvisor makes a REAL, dollars and cents, difference in your business, get on board!