Independent hotel operators understand the importance of online hotel reviews. However, there are still some who aren’t taking advantage of their influence. We get it – managing online reviews adds more work to your already overflowing To Do List, so it’s easier to just ignore them. Well, as with any other decision, there are pros and cons related to how you choose to manage or ignore your online hotel reviews.
While ignoring online hotel reviews creates less work, they still play a role in travelers’ decisions and impact a hotel’s operations – with or without responses. Let’s take a look at the importance of online hotel reviews and why independent hotel operators should make them a priority.
Responding to online reviews lets travelers know that your hotel is “real.”
It may sound strange to think about validating the existence of your independent hotel, but fake hotel websites are capturing 15 million bookings at a cost of $1.3 billion every year, so obviously scammers are really good at deceiving travelers. Engaging on TripAdvisor and social media lets travelers know that someone is actively reading and responding on the “other side of the internet,” a key factor in building trust with these potential guests. If you want to increase your online bookings, leveraging the importance of online hotel reviews will help establish your hotel’s online and offline identity, as well as give travelers the confidence to click “Book Now” and know they will receive the experience they paid for.
Online hotel reviews provide great marketing content.
Marketing is one of the most essential, but challenging, responsibilities of independent hoteliers. Developing fresh content takes time and effort that many operators can’t spare, so rather than go weeks without new marketing messages, hoteliers can again leverage their online hotel reviews. For example, reposting online reviews to your website and social media pages provides an authentic, secondary voice that travelers can trust during their planning. Additionally, reviews work perfectly as testimonials in marketing ads and emails. Past guests are your best allies and advocates, so using their influence will help you attract new guests, as well as enhance the importance of your online hotel reviews in the future.
Your competitors are using online reviews, so you should too.
Some things in the hotel industry are done just to remain competitive and managing online hotel reviews is one of them. Based on the reasons above, plus many others, if travelers are deciding between comparable hotels, but some engage online and others ignore feedback, which hotels do you think they will be most likely to select? Which hotels would you choose? The lodging industry is currently experiencing lots of changes, so maintaining a competitive advantage is essential for independent hotels. If managing your online hotel reviews can help drive more bookings and enhance your hotel’s reputation, we think the time and effort will be well worth the investment.