3 Tips for Independent Hoteliers to Successfully Manage Their Online Reputation

It’s no secret that hotel guests value online reviews found on TripAdvisor and online travel agents (OTAs), such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Orbitz.  In fact, TripAdvisor alone gets 315 million unique visitors every month!  And people are not just browsing, they’re leaving insightful feedback about their travel experiences.  Since launching in 2000, over 200 million user reviews have been featured on the site.  With so much user-generated content and tons of traffic, we can agree that TripAdvisor is a powerful resource for the global travel community, right?

Well, then why do only 32% of TripAdvisor businesses, including independent hoteliers, monitor their accounts, respond to reviews and, most importantly, actively manage their online reputation?  

As we’ve discussed, the majority of hotel rooms are now booked online and this ties in directly to the online research travelers do when deciding where to go and which hotel to choose.  With the rise of social media and influence of user-generated content, consumers are no longer relying solely on hotel marketing campaigns for information, they now look to get the inside scoop from other travelers who’ve stayed at the property.  And good news for hotel operators, recent survey data shows that, after analyzing 20 million reviews from 80,000 properties across 125 countries, 75% of guest reviews are extremely positive, receiving 4 or 5 stars (out of 5), as opposed to only 10% receiving 1 or 2 stars.  However, again, only 1/3 of hotel operators responded to these reviews.

We understand that hoteliers have countless responsibilities pulling them in each and every direction, but neglecting to manage your online reputation is a major mistake!  84% of TripAdvisor users say it makes them feel good about a property when they see management respond to reviews.  And not only can ignoring reviews impact how former guests view your property, it can turn away potential new guests who may think your sparse online activity symbolizes poor attention to detail – instantly turning this into an issue that impacts your bottom line.

It may be challenging, but independent hoteliers must develop a strategy for monitoring and responding to reviews.  Here are 3 helpful tips to keep in mind:

1)    Narrow your focus: Don’t get overwhelmed by the number of online review sites.  Start by managing your TripAdvisor profile and your most popular OTAs.  As your get more comfortable, start incorporating more sites into your strategy.

2)    Keep a schedule: It’s easy to miss new reviews if you do not check your sites regularly.  If you cannot respond as soon as they are posted, set a specific time each day to reply.  This will help ensure past and future guests maintain a positive image of your hotel.

3)    Keep it professional: If you receive negative feedback, be careful how you respond.  64% of TripAdvisor users have a negative impression of hotels that respond in a condescending or inappropriate manner.  So even if the comment is untrue, figure out a way to handle the complaint without damaging your online reputation.

For additional tips on managing your online reputation and avoiding common mistakes, download our free report, Three Social Media Mistakes to Avoid today.

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