Saturday, September 22, 2018

Five uncommon tips for getting great guest reviews

Guest reviews are critical to an accommodation provider’s success.

Research shows a one point increase in an accommodation  rating on a five point scale – say from from 3.8 to 4.8 – makes potential customers 13.5 percent more likely to book in. 

The same Cornell University study also suggests that if a business increases its review scores by that margin, it can increase its price by 11.2 and still maintain the same occupancy.

But encouraging guest reviews by building an impeccable experience is just the starting point, according to Divya Bhat of hospitalitynet.org.

“Creativity is the key to inspiring hotel reviews,” she says. “Give them more than what they expect, and you are sure to please them.”

Here are Divya’s “not-so-obvious but sure-shot ways” to encourage guests to give you feedback on their stay.

1. Make the most of review widgets

Most review sites these days allow you to add a widget to your hotel website. Why does this help? Because the only other place the prospective guests are likely to visit, apart from review sites, is your website.

Adding a review widget, like TripAdvisor’s, to your website opens a two-way connectivity between review sites and your website. Every time a guest leaves a review on your website, it reflects on TripAdvisor and vice versa.

This addition helps you club reviews left on your website and those on the review sites. The more online reviews you have, the more credibility you build and the more your chances of online bookings. Here’s a stat from TRipAdvisor  that will prove this statement:

According to TripAdvisor, 53 percent of it’s users say they will not book a hotel if it has zero reviews. 

2. Be present on the platform most suited for your guest

Diversify the touch points on which you reach out to your guests for feedback.

But be smart in doing so, because you don’t want to inundate them with feedback requests on all channels. Survey fatigue is a real thing and it can cost you dearly too!

The clever way to approach this would be to get to know your guest better to know which platform they are most active on, or most comfortable with, and then send them a feedback request.

You can improve hotel reviews by sending guests feedback forms via email, SMS, or calling them shortly after their stay with you.

You could also have guest books at your front desk and nudge guests to put in a good word or two. Having comment cards inside the hotel rooms can also help.

Of course, these are ways to prompt them to leave a review, but in cases where customers have voluntarily left you a review, be sure to respond to them and thank them.

Nobody wants to leave a review if they feel like it won’t be looked into!

3. Promote a culture of guest-centricity within your team

Sincere and genuine service is key to that will flatter your guests.

Bring in people and build a team of staff that are in tune with this philosophy.

The hospitality industry is synonymous with service and this should really be the differentiator.

Promote a guest-centric culture within your hotel, no matter how big or small.

Be it housekeeping staff, restaurant staff, front desk staff or even you, for that matter – following a consistent culture across all departments will impress guests because it is so rare!

It’s simple, really. When you make your guests feel like you value them and their journey with you, there is no way they will not reciprocate the same emotion.

Be it word-of-mouth marketing, or a nice online review about how lovely their experience was at your property, your guests will share their experience with others.

According to reviewpro.com, 70 percent of guests would be prompted to leave a positive review if hotel staff were friendly and helpful. 

4. Deliver on what you promise, but exceed guest expectations

The easiest way to get your review management in a soup is to bite off more than you can chew.

Simply put, always under promise and over deliver, not the other way around.

Make sure the messaging on your website, the images you use to publicise your property online, your profile on online travel agencies, and your general brand messaging is modest.

Don’t give in to exaggeration or try overselling your property. The effect you should ideally have on your guests is for them to be pleasantly surprised by your property and not be disappointed horribly!

It may seem like a non-issue, but think about it from the guests’ perspective. Nobody likes to be cheated or played with.

They like to get exactly what they pay for and if they’ve been promised ‘x’, it is but natural for anyone to expect no less than ‘x’.

This is why we say this is the easiest way to ruin your online reviews. An irate guest can cost you dearly.

According to reviewpro.com, 89 percent of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decision. Adding to that, 70 percent of consumers trust the opinion of unknown users. 

5. Do something special that will blow their minds

A mind-blowing guest experience is half the job done if you are constantly wondering how to get guest reviews for your hotel.

There is no other way around it, fortunately. And the better you get to know your guests the more the opportunities for you in store to explore.

Pamper your return guests with unexpected gestures, give them an add-on when they least expect it, send in a snail mail for their birthday and tell them you’d love to host them again by throwing in a voucher they can redeem the next time they stay with you..

Do something special occasionally, so they are constantly assured that you value them.

About Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson
Kate Jackson is the editor of Accomnews and Accom Management Guide. You can reach her at any time with questions or submissions: [email protected]

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