It’s the dream of many marketers to see their content, brand or products going viral, but sometimes this can backfire if it happens to reflect negatively on their company. With digital word of mouth spreading faster than wildfire, online comments can have a big influence on how people see a brand – and that’s especially the case for businesses in the travel industry, such as hotel chains.
Many people now leave reviews, write blogs or post on social media after holidays or hotel stays and they’re surprisingly effective. Research from Deloitte shows that 59 per cent of travellers cite online reviews as their main influence when booking hotels and holidays.
Meanwhile, 42 per cent use them for planning, compared to only 31 per cent using travel company websites and 21 per cent using online travel agents. It isn’t just members of the public either – the writings of journalists and many others can make or break a hotel’s reputation. That’s why you need to make online reputation management part of your marketing strategy. Here are some top tips on how to do this.
1. Know what is being said about you
If you don’t hear or see comments, you can’t respond, so keep tabs on mentions of your hotel online. Google alerts and other services can help you with this. Ensure you see every news story, review and more – and take action even if you spot something as simple as spelling your name incorrectly or your manager being quoted out of context in a local paper.
2. Keep on top of social media
Social media is a huge part of customer service these days and users expect to be responded to just as they would if they were using email or the phone. Don’t keep them waiting – monitor sites like Twitter regularly and reply appropriately.
3. Watch out for images
It might not seem like much, but inappropriate use of your images can quickly tarnish your hotel’s reputation, particularly if they’ve been screen-grabbed without permission for a negative news story unrelated to your brand. Again, use tools to ensure nobody is using your pictures in a way you didn’t intend.
4. Brief all staff on your expectations
Everything posted online has the potential to be there forever and rehashed at any time, so make sure all members of hotel staff are professional and brand-appropriate when commenting on social media and other online portals.
5. Give them plenty of positives
Finally and perhaps most importantly, reduce the likelihood of getting a bad reputation online by always providing the best possible service to guests from the moment they land on your website to the moment they touch down back home after staying with you. The more positive things people have to say about you, the lower the number of negative comments you should find online.