Why hotel online reputation management should be your top priority

Your hotel’s online reputation can make or break its success. With potential guests relying heavily on online reviews and social media to make booking decisions, it’s crucial for hotels to actively manage their online reputation. In fact, online reputation management should be a top priority for hotel owners and managers who want to drive bookings and maximise revenue.

In this article, we’ll dive into the importance of hotel online reputation management and provide actionable strategies for improving your hotel’s reputation online. From the impact of online reviews on hotel business to the key benefits of online reputation management, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.

Plus, we’ll discuss the latest tools and technologies available to make online reputation management easier and more effective than ever before. Whether you’re a small bed and breakfast or a large hotel chain, this article will provide valuable insights and tips for improving your hotel’s online reputation. So, let’s get started!

Key benefits of hotel online reputation management

Actively managing a hotel’s online reputation can provide a range of benefits for hotel owners and managers. Let’s take a closer look.

  • By managing your online reputation, you can increase your hotel’s visibility and attract more bookings. Reviews are great for SEO and help you rank higher on Google. The higher you appear in searches the more clicks you get, and the more bookings you can get online.
  • Hotel online reputation management can improve guest loyalty. When you respond to guest feedback and take steps to address issues, it shows that they value your guests’ opinions and are committed to providing the best possible experience. The result? Increased guest loyalty and more repeat bookings.
  • Actively managing a hotel’s online reputation can generate positive word-of-mouth marketing. For example, one study showed that guests are more likely to recommend a hotel to others if the hotel responds to their feedback. A simple strategy, but one that can have a big impact on your hotel’s bottom line.

The impact of online reviews on hotel business

Online reviews are a critical factor for potential guests when making informed booking decisions. In fact, one survey showed that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Moreover, a staggering 57% of consumers will only book a hotel if it has four or more stars. This highlights the vital role that online reviews play in the hotel industry.

However, negative reviews can have a significant impact on a hotel’s reputation and revenue. One study found that just a single negative review can result in a hotel losing up to 30 potential guests. Negative reviews can also harm a hotel’s revenue, as guests tend to be willing to pay more for hotels with higher ratings and positive reviews.

The impact of negative reviews can also extend beyond lost bookings and revenue. Disappointed guests may share their negative experiences with others, leading to a ripple effect of lost business. Therefore, hotels need to pay close attention to their online reputation management and ensure they have strategies in place to manage negative reviews effectively.

A cautionary tale: Union Street Guest House

The Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, made headlines in 2014 when news of their controversial policy started to spread online.

According to the policy, the hotel would fine wedding guests $500 for every negative review posted online by them or their guests. The policy also stated that they would charge the fine to the credit card used to make the reservation.

The policy generated a significant amount of negative publicity and backlash from the public and online review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Many people criticised the hotel for attempting to silence negative feedback and for the exorbitant amount of the fine.

The backlash eventually led to the hotel removing the policy from its website and issuing an apology. But, the damage to their reputation had already been done. Despite having never stayed there, people flooded the guest house with scathing one-star reviews.

Eventually, the Union Street Guest House closed for good, leaving behind a legacy of negative press and a Google rating of 1.5 stars.

The impact of social media mentions on hotel business

Social media mentions can also have a direct impact on hotels. Like reviews, positive mentions can generate more bookings and help build a positive reputation, while negative mentions can harm a hotel’s reputation and lead to decreased revenue.

Similarly, hotels can also face negative social media mentions that can harm their reputation. For instance, a guest may post a negative review or complaint on Twitter, which can quickly spread and reach a large audience, particularly if that person has a lot of followers. If the hotel fails to respond appropriately, it can lead to further negative mentions and damage to their reputation.

On the other hand, positive social media mentions can be highly beneficial for your hotel brand. Guests may post photos or positive reviews on Instagram or Facebook, which can attract more potential customers and help build a good reputation. Paying close attention to your mentions on different social media platforms is hugely valuable in building your online presence and getting a competitive advantage against other hotels.

The different hotel online reputation management channels

The main goal of online reputation management is to create a favourable image of your company on the internet. Along with review sites and social media, here are a few different channels to think about when building your reputation online.

  • Another essential channel for ORM is paid media, which includes social media ads, Google Ads, and other sponsored content. Paid media can help you reach a wider audience, increase brand visibility, and drive traffic to your website.
  • Earned media, such as external articles, vlogs, forums, and review sites that you don’t control, is another critical component of ORM. Positive earned media can enhance your brand’s reputation and credibility, while negative earned media can damage it. Therefore, monitoring and responding to earned media is essential for maintaining a positive online reputation.
  • Finally, owned media, such as your own website and blog, is a crucial channel for online reputation management. Your website and blog allow you to control your brand message, promote positive content, and provide relevant and engaging information to your audience.

Strategies for effective hotel online reputation management

To effectively manage a hotel’s online reputation, there are a few strategies that hotel owners and managers can put in place. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • One key strategy for managing your hotel’s image is to monitor reviews and social media channels. This means keeping an eye on reviews on online platforms like TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook and Twitter. By monitoring these channels, you can quickly identify any negative feedback and take steps to address it.
  • Another important strategy is to respond to negative reviews in a professional and empathetic way. This means acknowledging the guest’s concerns and offering a solution to their problem. Responding to negative reviews in a professional way shows other potential hotel guests that you’re committed to providing a positive guest experience. Just make sure you’re following best practices, and you can easily turn negative feedback into a positive for your hotel.
  • Bad reviews may demand more attention, but it’s also important to respond to good reviews. It show guests that you value their kind words and positive experiences. By expressing gratitude, you can create a positive relationship with guests, which may encourage them to return or recommend your hotel to others.
  • Along with responding to reviews, it’s also important to encourage positive guest reviews. Doing so will not only improve your performance in Google search results but will also win you business through positive feedback. To learn some different ways to do this, check out our article, ‘How many Google reviews do I need? (plus 8 foolproof ways to get them)‘.
  • It’s also important to note that creating a positive guest experience is key to avoiding negative reviews in the first place. This means providing exceptional customer service, ensuring hotel rooms are clean and comfortable, and offering amenities that guests will appreciate. By creating a positive guest experience, you can increase the likelihood of getting positive reviews and ultimately improve your online reputation.

Tools and technologies for hotel online reputation management

Adding an online reputation management strategy to your workload can feel daunting. Luckily, there’s a wealth of software out there to help achieve your goals in a structured, manageable way.

One tool that can be particularly useful for hotels is a reputation management solution like Customer Alliance. These tools provide features like review monitoring, response management, and analytics and reporting. By automating much of the work involved in managing your online reputation, they’re often the best way to make improvements to your reputation without the need for extra hires.

Customer Alliance dashboard

Social media listening tools like Hootsuite Insights can also be helpful for hotel online reputation. These tools allow you to monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, allowing you to quickly respond to any negative comments or concerns.

There are even companies out there who’ll manage your hotel’s online reputation for you, but you should think carefully before going down this route. By handing the task over to someone else, it becomes more difficult to stay on the pulse of your guests’ feedback, needs and expectations. This could have the knock-on effect of losing the personal touch that is so important in the world of hospitality.

Choosing the right solution for your hotel

There are plenty of tools and technologies to choose from, so how do you decide what’s the best choice for your hotel? Here are some tips that can help:

  • Assess your needs – before choosing any tools or technologies, it’s important to identify your specific needs and goals for online reputation management. For example, if you’re struggling with negative reviews on review sites, you may want to focus on tools that can help you monitor and respond to those reviews.
  • Consider your budget – there are many different tools and technologies available for online reputation management, and the costs can vary widely. Be sure to consider your budget when evaluating your options.
  • Research your options – take the time to research different tools and technologies for online reputation management. Look for reviews, case studies, and other resources that can help you evaluate the pros and cons of each option.
  • Get input from other hoteliers – reach out to other hoteliers in your network or industry groups to get their input on the tools and technologies they use for online reputation management.
  • Look for integrations – if you’re already using other software or tools for your hotel operations, look for online reputation management tools that integrate with those systems. This can help streamline your workflow and make it easier to manage your reputation online.

Summary: invest in hotel online reputation management

To stay competitive and uphold an excellent brand image, hotel managers must prioritise online reputation management. You can take actionable steps to improve your online reputation, from monitoring reviews to using the various tools and technologies designed for the job. As a result, you’ll reap the benefits of increased bookings, guest loyalty, and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Hotels can proactively manage their online reputation and stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing hospitality industry by implementing the strategies outlined in this article. Remember, your online reputation is your most valuable asset, so invest in it and prioritise it.

If you’re committed to developing your hotel’s online reputation management, replying to your reviews is a great place to start. Whether you’re responding to a positive, negative, or average review, it shows that you’re committed to providing excellent guest experiences.

Check out our article, “20 Google review response examples to steal (for good, bad, and average reviews)” to get some inspiration for your responses and start building your hotel’s online reputation today.

FAQs about hotel online reputation management

How do hotels measure the ROI (Return on Investment) of their online reputation management efforts?

To measure the ROI of your online reputation management efforts, track increases in direct bookings, improvements in review scores, and enhanced social media engagement. These indicators will help you understand the financial impact of your reputation management strategies.

How do hotels effectively respond to negative online reviews to mitigate any potential damage to their reputation?

To effectively respond to negative online reviews, you should acknowledge the feedback promptly and respectfully, demonstrating a commitment to addressing concerns and improving guest experiences. It’s crucial to personalize the response, offer a solution or compensation if appropriate, and take the conversation offline to discuss specifics. This approach shows potential guests that the hotel values feedback and is proactive in maintaining a positive reputation.

How do hotels manage online reputation across different languages and cultural contexts, especially international chains with a global presence?

When managing online reputation across different languages and cultures, employing multilingual staff and understanding regional social norms are essential. Tailor your communication to fit the cultural context of each market, ensuring your reputation management efforts are effective worldwide.

Content updated February 2024