7 Tips for Hotels during COVID-19: How to Manage Your Online Reputation During a Crisis?
The current spread of the coronavirus is taking its toll on the hospitality and tourism industry. Low occupancy rates and loss in revenue are just some of the impacts on your business. In such uncertain and challenging times, you might consider pausing your online reputation management. Don’t let this happen!
It is very important to actively influence your online reputation and your visibility on the internet, especially during a crisis as serious as the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, we want to give you some advice on how to keep your online reputation unharmed and your guests calm in such difficult times.
1. Safety first
The first concern during a crisis posing a threat to security, should be the safety of your employees and guests. Make sure that you take all necessary precautions and try to maintain a safe environment. This includes during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic stricter hygiene and cleaning regulations and might require guests with symptoms to stay in their room and call in a doctor.
2. Communicate transparently
In such uncertain times, you want to put your guests´minds at ease as many travelers are worried about travel restrictions and curfews. Therefore, communicate transparently and professionally with your guests. Inform them about any safety measures taken at your property, how you handle cancellations and rebookings as well as any preventative measures of your hotel business.
Leverage your digital communication channels like website, email, SMS and social media to inform about updates and to make sure your guests feel fully and well-informed. Don´t sweep issues under the carpet, that will only hurt your reputation in the long-term. If your doors are still open but some facilities are closed, make sure to inform your guests in a timely manner. Like this, you help them adjusting their expectations and avoid any misunderstanding
For example, issue a short statement on your website or your blog outlining any measures and procedures taken, and may prevent them from cancelling their stay in a hasty moment. Or sending out an automated message via mail or SMS will keep your guests informed.
3. Act quickly
Responding as quickly as possible to any problems and issues within your control is very important to stay in control of your reputation during a crisis. Investigate the situation very thoroughly, check your available options and with which consequences you might have to deal with. This strengthens the trust in your services as guests will appreciate that you take their concerns seriously.
4. Collect and analyze feedback from all important stakeholders
Feedback is very important for any hotel to gain valuable insights into your guests, employees and other stakeholder´needs and expectations. Especially in times of crisis, you should invite your stakeholders to share their honest opinion. It will allow you to understand what they need in such situations and how you can improve their experience during such uncertain times.
At the same time, it shows that you prioritize your guests and employees´ wellbeing over revenue. Make use of anonymous surveys to collect feedback from all your stakeholders and ask specific – and for your business relevant – questions, e.g. “How satisfied are you with our hygiene measures to stop the Coronavirus from spreading?”.
5. Monitor reviews and and respond calmly
Even during times of crisis, your guests keep talking about your hotel online. Stay informed of what they are saying across the leading review portals and make sure to reply calmly and transparently to their feedback. If you don’t respond to especially critical guest ratings, you risk hurting your hotels credibility. Instead, take the opportunity to interact with your guests and to clarify misunderstandings.
6. React with creativity
The Coronavirus pandemic is hitting hotels around the world very hard with many hotels which are forced to close their doors for an unpredictable period of time. However, some hotels are becoming quite creative in fighting the situation. For example, the German hotel chain Dorint is offering their rooms to be turned into hospital space while many other hotels turned their rooms into home office spaces. Does your hotel offer a restaurant? Then you might consider offering a delivery service during the pandemic to keep your F&B business running.
7. Stay up-to-date
As the situation is evolving fast, you should stay up-to-date about the current developments. Institutions as the Ministry of Health or the Foreign Office publish official and reliable information.
If you would like to learn more about Online Reputation Management or if you would like to discuss any concerns or questions with us, feel free to schedule your personal consultation with one of our experts.