The importance of online reputation management is no longer disputable.
It’s also easy to make mistakes, as many hoteliers have found, as the wrong response can get a lot of bad press. Here are some of the common mistakes we see in the hospitality industry when it comes to online reputation management.
#1 Choosing the wrong person to respond
Many hotels, especially independent hotels, struggle with who should have the responsibility to respond to reviews. Many properties meet this need with the most obvious person, the General Manager. This is often the right choice since the GM should be on top of what guests love and hate at the property, but as the task becomes more time intensive due to the increasing popularity of posting reviews, is this the best approach?
First, it is good to consider the size and budget of your business. If your staff does not include a dedicated marketing person, guest service manager, or social media manager, the GM is usually the best person to respond to reviews.
However, there are an increasing number of hotels that outsource or delegate review response to customer service groups, but is this sending the right message? Customers want to know someone who can make a difference to the operation of a property has considered their review.
If every negative or positive review is met with a packaged response, the effectiveness of management response decreases.
Clearly the time constraints on busy GMs make delegating or outsourcing review response appealing, but it is still important for GMs at large properties to understand what guests love and hate, and weigh in regularly to show that they’re listening for feedback and welcome guest opinions.
This one-on-one discourse with management is really what the reviewer is looking for.
Choosing the right member(s) of your team to respond to reviews should include consideration of the following factors:
This is a big consideration in a world where businesses are trying to do more with fewer resources.
Ideally the person responsible should be able to dedicate time to responding to reviews every day. Lack of time is a common issue with GM-focused solutions.
If you want to or need to have a busy GM keep this role, then a good reputation management system can not only reduce the time it takes to respond to reviews, but also ensure that you have a comprehensive approach to reviews from all sites.