Your hotel’s online reputation encompasses everything travelers see about your hotel when looking to book their next vacation.
NB: This is an article from Travel Media Group
This means it’s about more than just the reviews on TripAdvisor, or a post’s performance from your page on social media. Your online reputation also includes everything your guests are saying about you on these platforms – but what do we mean when we say that?
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Internet users who are travel-savvy and daydreaming about their next trip naturally share ideas with each other online. There may be a time when your hotel comes up in the conversation – however, you may not be notified right away. When travelers discuss hotels online, they’re not always directly “@Mentioning” companies. Some users may only directly mention a company when they’re having an issue, and others may only use the @Mention feature when they’re extremely happy with a product or service. In most cases, users will simply drop the name of a hotel into their conversation, as it’s more natural than tagging another member to include them in the discussion.
The question is: what do you do when you search for your hotel and find out guests have been talking about your property? Whether it’s a positive or negative discussion, there’s a principle called social listening that you can apply to help you decipher online conversations and use them to glean meaningful feedback.
What Is Social Listening?
To reiterate, it’s not strictly about what guests are saying in online review spaces – and it’s not just about a review score, either. Hootsuite defines social listening as deciphering “the mood behind the data.” If the data for your hotel is how your social posts are performing and how guests are rating your hotel, then the “mood” just means the sentiment behind their words.
For example: if you search for your hotel on Twitter and find users discussing your hotel’s COVID-19 policies, take the time to read through their comments. If they’re concerned about whether or not masks will be required in public spaces, you can turn that comment into feedback. It might mean that your COVID-19 mask-wearing policy is not made clear enough on your website or social media. Then, you might take action by reviewing where your mask policy is on your website and highlighting it, or sharing a post all about mask-wearing on your property.
The act of reading online comments and turning them into actionable feedback is what social listening is all about. Don’t feel limited to socially listening for your own property alone, either. You can tune in and examine trends in your destination or the hospitality industry as a whole. Through social listening, you can take those conversations – whether they’re industry-based, or focused on your hotel’s specific region – and compare them to your hotel experience. In doing this, you may be able to identify gaps in your hotel experience and make adjustments ahead of time.
Benefits to Social Listening
There are benefits to social listening beyond identifying gaps in guest experience – keeping your eyes and ears open to online conversation allows you to monitor how your competitors are faring, as well. Learning what your potential guests like and dislike about other hotel stays can spark inspiration for improvements you can make on your own property.
The primary reason for hotels to use social listening is for better prediction with reputation management. Social listening will help you better understand how changes are trending among your consumer base – in a hotelier’s case, that would be future guests or travelers. Reputation management is crucial for your hotel’s success, so using all the tools at your disposal to get ahead of the game can help you boost your reputation quickly. In addition, resolving any negative comments through social listening helps prevent a guest from leaving a future negative review. Travel Media Group offers tools such as post-stay email marketing to help hotels encourage guests to fill out surveys sharing their experiences or feedback.
Not all social listening is negative or requires adjustments, either – social listening shows you what guests love about your hotel and staff, too. Your response to positive feedback can manifest through posts highlighting your employees or boosting attention to related amenities. If guests adore your socially-distanced outdoor seating, you can highlight other outdoor activities at your hotel through social media. If users share that they love how you partnered with a local business for increased breakfast options, then you can further cross-promotional efforts or develop other deals to offer in the future.