Engaging with travelers online has become one of the most important customer service responsibilities for independent hoteliers. Travelers use digital channels to share their experiences, so hoteliers should look to leverage this valuable feedback to evaluate and improve operations, especially during the busy season. Whether you’re an online newbie or digital pro, here are a few tips to help you maximize digital engagement for your independent hotel.
Where to look
With a constantly evolving digital landscape, identifying the best channels for engaging with travelers can be challenging. However, here are a few areas where you will likely find the most valuable information:
- Facebook & Twitter: Travelers use various social media outlets to share their experiences, but Facebook and Twitter are still two of the most popular channels. With simple search functions, hoteliers can quickly find public mentions about their property and read what travelers have to say.
- TripAdvisor: As the world’s largest travel site, travelers frequently visit TripAdvisor to share details of their experiences with other like-minded travelers. In addition to learning more about their own property, hoteliers can also use the site to gain insights on local competitors.
- OTAs: In addition to capturing bookings, online travel agencies (OTAs) allow travelers to leave feedback on their experiences. Similar to TripAdvisor, reviews on OTAs are primarily travel-focused, so hoteliers will find highly relevant opinions and feedback.
What to look for and how to engage
After finding the best channels for engaging with travelers, the next step is to “cut through the clutter” and identify useful, high-quality feedback. Digital “clutter” can be spam messages or feedback that’s simply not valuable to your independent hotel. Feedback that clearly outlines traveler issues or highlights the on-property experience is considered high-quality feedback.
Regardless if feedback is positive or negative, hoteliers should engage with travelers to show that their opinion is valued and will be taken seriously. With positive feedback, a simple “Thank you for your kind words.” message is usually all that’s needed to show appreciation. Negative comments usually require additional attention, so providing the traveler with the hotel’s phone number and/or email address and then asking them to continue the conversation offline is a great way to handle the situation privately.
In many cases, travelers simply want their opinions heard by hoteliers, so by actively engaging online, independents can build loyalty and offer value to past and potential guests.
Contact innRoad today to learn how our hotel management software can put your property on the path to profits.