Again and again, studies have highlighted how properly addressing sales and marketing, reputation, social engagement and a sound revenue strategy translates into sales, while ignoring them cuts into the bottom line. Why, then, does the average independent hotel struggle to dedicate enough time, manpower and budget to these tasks?
In my past life, I wore the hat of general manager at a few boutique hotels. What that really meant was that I was the director of sales, revenue manager, front office manager and even the night auditor when called upon. It was fun, and I learned a ton, but it was a constant struggle to keep up. There were so many different things I could be doing but I just didn’t have time for it all.
My experience would have been very different at a brand name hotel. They can afford an army of staff to regularly analyze data, update stay restrictions in seconds and develop award winning sales and marketing programs.
As an independent hotelier, it can be tempting to say “I just can’t compete with the big chains.” But the fact is, they are your competitors, so you need to find ways of addressing these key issues through more limited means.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go at it alone. Every day I receive emails and calls from people with new ways to manage online reviews, analyze revenue and develop web content. The trick is finding the ones that will address your specific goals while minimizing the time needed, and producing the best return on investment.
Reviews, Reputation and Social Engagement
Think online reviews are an acceptable sacrifice in your quest to optimize your time? 93% of travelers check online reviews before booking a hotel. If they can’t find a current review of your hotel, 53% will simply presume the worst and ignore you entirely.
And if the reviews are bad? 80% of people won’t buy from a hotel with bad reviews. It takes 10-12 positive reviews to offset a negative one, so it’s absolutely in your best interest to know where people are reviewing your hotel and taking positive steps to win back negative reviewers. Even if you don’t erase an unfortunately poor rating, the fact you’re engaged with reviewers wins some people over. Showing you care about your customers’ opinions matters.
Speed is of the essence. Commenting on a three month old review won’t accomplish much. It’s best to address a review within 24 hours, and that is vastly helped by software which summarizes recent reviews across multiple sites. There are several cost effective products on the market, which crawl all of your booking and review sites and let you respond with a simple click.