Living in an age of social media, where people’s opinions and views are fitted into 140 characters or so, hoteliers need to adapt more virtual ways of interacting with their customers. Social media is a powerful tool to not only gain more customers but it can also be used as a way to evaluate guest feedback. Travel bloggers with a huge social media following, often post about their travel experiences, which can be either positive or negative and this can largely influence the reputation of hotels.
More and more travelers are posting running commentaries on social media, describing where they go, what they do and how their trip measures up. They often write about the quality of services provided at hotels, their staff and the way the hotel managers and staff resolve if any problems are encountered during their stay.
Such travel blogs show how important guest feedback is, and how it can make or break the reputation of a hotel. A recent study showed that the ability to analyze customer feedback enables hotels to maintain a certain number of guests; the key criterion of efficiency is primarily how satisfied the guests are with the hotel services. The retrospective analysis of the attitude of hotel guests to the hotel service quality conducted in 2000 and 2016 showed the ongoing sensitivity of guests to the quality of service. The research published in 2000 by the reputable media company US news & World Report proved that hotels lose the major share of their clients due to the poor quality of service. (Dzhandzhugazova, 2005)
Another study conducted in 2016 by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research examines the popular travel site, TripAdvisor, in correlation with a hotel’s customer satisfaction, revenue, and social media performance. It was found that simply encouraging reviews can increase a hotel’s rating, while responding to them can further improve their sales and revenue. It was also found that guests appreciate responses to negative reviews more than positive. When prospective customers are looking through TripAdvisor comments they pay close attention to how the hotel responds to negative feedback. This helps to eliminate any uncertainty around the quality of their stay and also shows the guests that the hotel management values their feedback and cares about their comfort and happiness during their stay.
In 2012, TripAdvisor and PhoCusWright reported a series of statistics that emphasize the importance of responding to online reviews. Most notably, the survey of 2,800 respondents showed that; 84% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review “improves my impression of the hotel.” 64% of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review “makes me less likely to book that hotel.”
Responding via phone calls is also another way to ensure a more personalized solution to customers. Usually, after you receive any type of service, whether it be a stay at a hotel or servicing your car, the standard way of post communication for most companies is usually in the form of email, but a more efficient and perhaps quicker way would be via phone calls, as it can deal with problems in a timely manner, after which email conformations can be sent to update guests on the status of their resolution.
Hoteliers need to use all forms communication to deal with guest feedback and to ensure that they had a pleasant stay. As research has shown, this can improve guest loyalty and attract more guests, thus increasing revenue and the reputation of your hotel.