Your good reputation is your capital. What applies to companies in general, naturally applies to hotels as well. The opinions of former holidaymakers have a major influence on whether someone is willing to book a room in your hotel or not.
More than 80% of all holidaymakers obtain information on the Internet before their trip. How former guests and other holidaymakers judge your hotel online has a significant influence on your reputation, and therefore has a direct impact on the number of guests and your income.
However, you can also influence your reputation online, through Online Reputation Management (ORM) — the digital reputation management. This fast-growing practice covers all the necessary measures that monitor, analyse and control what is being said about your hotel on the Internet. How do former guests rate their holiday with you? What do travel bloggers write about your hotel? How do guests and other vacationers talk about your hotel in social networks?
Why is a good reputation so important for your hotel?
The Internet has long been the place where people find information about destinations, holiday regions and hotels before their holidays. For any business, but especially for hotels, it is like double-edged sword: it has both advantages and disadvantages. Everyone who has once spent a holiday in your hotel can spread experiences, photos, videos and reviews. Your reputation can therefore develop on the Internet completely without your own influence.
As such, you should not leave your online reputation up to chance. With continuous and strategic online reputation management, you can control how potential guests perceive your hotel. You can bind former guests more strongly to your hotel. Last but not least, a good reputation also brings more visitors to your website and thus increases the chance of generating more direct bookings.
How does the process look like?
An Online Reputation Management process generally includes four vital stages:
1. Analysis of the actual state
The first step for a successful online reputation management is the analysis of the initial situation. What do the previous ratings on the major rating portals look like? Have travel bloggers posted about your hotel? How do former guests discuss their holidays with you on social platforms? Is there any criticism that you must address?
2. Strategy development
In the second step, you should consider what goals you are pursuing with ORM. Taking into account your goals, your initial situation and your budget, you should design a strategy with which you can meet the respective challenges.
3. Implementation of measures
The next step is the implementation of the planned measures. In order to manage your good reputation, it is recommended that you focus on the following measures in particular:
- Social media and activity on rating portals — A personal appearance in social networks has a great influence on your online reputation. You are in direct contact with former and potential guests. It is also important how you react to criticism, for example in social networks or rating portals. Here you can present yourself as being ready to talk and open to criticism and show that you are working on improvements.
- SEO measures — Positive messages about your hotel should receive more attention than negative ones. Therefore it is important to rank positive messages higher in search engines. This includes, for example, a hotel website that is as informative as possible for visitors and offers real added value. Positive reviews of popular travel websites or travel bloggers can also achieve good rankings in search result lists.
- Generation of positive ratings — The generation of positive ratings on major rating portals, which are prominently displayed in the search results lists of search engines, is also important.
- PR measures — By implementing classic PR measures such as press releases, interviews with hotel operators and employees, competitions, seasonal campaigns and the like, you can also control the development of a positive reputation.
4. Controlling & Monitoring
There is one thing you have to consider — online reputation management takes time. If there are already bad reviews about your hotel on the net, this will not change within a few days. Getting good reviews also only works over a longer period of time.
Every new guest can potentially leave a new review and rating of your hotel. This already makes it clear that ORM is not a one-time thing. Rather, it is a process that begins with the analysis of the initial situation and is constantly optimized through continuous monitoring and controlling.