16 Jul 2018

The Right Approach To Online Reviews And Testimonials For Hospitality Businesses And What It Means For Reputation Management In 2018

Consumer trust is of the utmost importance for businesses that work in the hospitality industry such as hotels, lodges, and luxury resorts. The more reliable, efficient and cost effective your services are, the higher the chances you have of expanding your existing customer base quickly. In the online arena, trust means positive reviews and testimonials left by actual individuals who have used the services at a hospitality establishment and are rating their experience. This makes popular review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews, essentially goldmines.

This post will highlight some recent research on the crucial role reviews and testimonials play for businesses in the hospitality industry. It will also highlight some strategies companies can employ to create custom benchmarks to conquer their competition.

Industry Stats—What Does The Research Say?

Here are some enlightening stats regarding the importance of customer reviews for hotel chains, lodging providers, etc.

According to an Ipsos MORI study, 97% of TripAdvisor users agree that customer approval was a key factor contributing to their purchase decision.

Moreover, 98% of those surveyed maintained that they considered online reviews, testimonials, and citations to be a leading cause of increased sales.

Yet another survey conducted by Static Brain established that 49% of customers refuse to make reservations at a hotel with no reviews. With such conclusive research, it’s evident that online reputation management is an indispensable part of the corporate strategy of businesses in the hospitality industry.

What Positive Online Reviews & Testimonials Mean For Your Business

There are several ways businesses in the hospitality industry stand to gain for favorable online customer reviews and testimonials. Some of these include:

  • It’s Great for Search Engine Optimization—Customer reviews consist of a client’s genuine opinion and are a treasure trove of useful data like keywords, customer perception about your brand, service hits and misses, etc. Reviews make reliable content for search engines, strengthening your digital media presence and SEO efforts.
  • Gives You an Opportunity To Improve Corporate Strategy—The reviews you receive should be used to learn something specific about your business. For instance, you might think that branding yourself as a ‘Bread and Breakfast’ aligns with your vision. However, the opinions of hundreds of customer reviews may open your eyes to other marketing pathways. Likewise, testimonials on your site about a particular service which has become a customer favorite should tell you a lot about which direction you need to go in.
  • Little Effort Is Required From Your Behalf—When it comes to reviews, clients are the ones creating content for. Depending on the size of your business and the current season, you could get thousands of reviews on a monthly basis.

The Right Approach To Managing Online Customer Reviews

Now that we’ve established how important good customer reviews are for the productivity of the hospitality businesses, let’s discuss how we can get them.

Independent platforms like TripAdvisor allow existing customers to express their opinions about a company—good or bad—without the company’s interference.

This is the ultimate reputation management technique because it dispels negative or false information about your business. Customers are assured that the review platform has no stakes in the game and therefore, is providing genuine customer feedback.

The following are a few effective tips on generating positive reviews.

  • Provide Top Quality Service—There’s no way around it; without genuine hard work, your dream of becoming a 5-star hospitality business will stay a dream. You can’t deliver a sub-standard experience to customers and expect great reviews. If you feel like your service management could use some more work, start investing the necessary time and resources into that department today
  • Respond To All Kinds of Reviews—Even if you think a review is fake, don’t ignore it. Leave a polite, non-committal response to the review instead of leaving a blank space in the designated area. The simple fact that you didn’t ignore such a review shows that you have confidence in the quality of your services and are always willing to consider customers’ feedback. This gives readers a chance to judge your brand’s personality and know exactly what kind of company you run.
  • Make Social Media Handles Public—More than TripAdvisor, social media platforms like Instagram are taking the lead as the number one source of customer reviews for some businesses like restaurants. Make your Instagram handle public so that every mention of your company on listings leads readers to your business. Typical Instagram searches for a business show photos and comments of customers who’ve visited your business. From the photos customers share to their comments, and even the emojis they use, all of these tacitly point to the quality of service you provide.

While it’s true that SEO is crucial for any industry, the hospitality industry depends on favorable customer reviews and testimonials from sites like Yelp. Unfortunately, where there are positive reviews, there are also negative ones and often times negative reviews are left with the purpose of hurting a business rather than sharing an actual experience. This is where SEO-based reputation management—one of the most effective ways to counter negative SEO, improve brand perception and increase consumer trust—comes in. A positive company image, powerful brand identity, and a high level of trust are the key benefits businesses enjoy from hiring professional reputation management services.

Final Word

If you want to put your best side forward, consider the reputation management services we provide. Search Berg understands exactly how great customer trust can help businesses in the hospitality industry to gain web authority and strengthen their brand.

This is why our RM services are customizable and designed to boost a company’s online reputation and increase the level of trust customers have in your services.

Our repertoire of services includes SEO, SMM, PPC, Content Marketing, and more.

Contact us today if you want to avail exemplary reputation management services to win the game.

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