Budgeting for Online Reputation Management

shutterstock_154870316_medLately here at iResponze® we’ve been talking about wish lists. It seems every celebration during this traditional wedding and graduation season warrants an online/in-store wish list, a registry of all the items a grad or young couple “needs.” Which led us to talk about how ideas of need, these wish lists, are really about the visions people are creating for how they want to live.

All of this wish list discussing led us to consider the impending budget season facing you in your hotels. Wouldn’t you like to create a wish list for your hotel’s vision, forward it to your CFO, and wait for the goodies to arrive? We know that’s not how it works, but you can still adopt the concept of building your wish list first. If you start by considering what tools and resources you believe you need in your hotel, then prioritize by how they would achieve goals, what would rise to the top? We suggest you position guest-focused resources as high on the wish list as you can. Because without guests, you won’t need new bedding, additional staff or more marketing dollars.

Eyes on reviews

Your guests have so many paths to find your hotel – with new ones popping up every week. This growth of online visibility has created an entirely new avenue for guest service – online reputation management. And if you have not yet investigated how to manage your online reviews, we suggest you do so quickly because your guests are using them to make choices.

  • A study by Medallia, released in March 2015, reported that hotels responding to more than 50% of social media reviews grow occupancy rates at more than twice the rate of hotels ignoring reviews.
  • The same study reported that responding to more than 50% of reviews correlates with 6.8 percentage points of growth in occupancy rates.
  • Plus, hotels that responded to feedback in less than a day boasted occupancy rates 12.8% higher than properties taking two days to respond.

If responding to your reviews is not a priority, you are definitely sacrificing both repeat and new visits to your hotel.

Eyes on competition

Beyond your guests, your competitors are ramping up their investments in online reputation management. According to TripAdvisor research, for 2016,

  • 93% of hoteliers said online traveller reviews are important for the future of their business and online reputation management would be the biggest area of investment
  • 59% would be investing more in this area than in the previous year.

Does your wish list include resources for enhanced online review response management? We’ve heard from our clients that adding personnel to handle this high-impact part of your business is a tough sell to your CFO. But an affordable resource, such as iResponze, could be an option your CFO would welcome.

Welcome to your next guest opportunity

As well-traveled social butterflies ourselves, we know it is critical to be responsive to reviews, definitely all of the bad ones and usually some of the good ones. Guests are not just looking at ratings. They’re digging deep into what your previous guests complimented or complained about. They understand that sometimes an item is missed in the housekeeping process, but they don’t want to see these oversights mentioned by multiple guests. They want to see well-maintained guest rooms – and to be frank, they don’t care about your budget issues to repair the carpet or paint the hallways. They want to see that your guests were heard and that their concerns have been addressed. They want to hear your hotel’s “voice” in your review responses. iResponze does all of this for hotels without requiring additional personnel at the hotel. Sounds like a high-priority, wish list item that delivers on your guest promises.

Will online response management be on your hotel’s wish list for 2017? Where will your hotel place its budget priorities?

iResponze® partners with hotels by responding to online reviews on their behalf. This collaboration allows staff to focus on what they do best – deliver exceptional guest experiences.

 

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