The Importance of Customer Reviews
Reviews help to build a strong reputation, trust and confidence in your brand. If managing your reviews is in your ‘too hard basket’, it’s time to add it to the top of your priority list as 96% of guests consider reviews when booking accommodation.
How to manage your reviews
No matter the rating of a review, it’s imperative to take note of the comments and respond accordingly. Four out of five travellers believe a hotel that responds to reviews cares more about its customers. In addition, 85% agree that a thoughtful response to a review will improve their impression of the property!
Our #1 tip is to implement internal surveys. An internal survey system offers guests the opportunity to provide feedback directly before publishing a review on a third-party site. Additionally, it gives you and your staff the chance to rectify any issues the guest is experiencing before they check out! For example, a guest checks in and their TV doesn’t seem to be working; with no internal survey system, they now go and post a dissatisfied review online. With an internal survey system, the guest receives an SMS survey from you, and they reply with a 5/10 overall experience. So, you reach out to the guest to offer assistance, find out about the TV and send someone right away to fix it. Problem solved! Less negative public reviews and more satisfied guests – need we say more? Some Property Management Systems have inbuilt internal surveys, so contact your provider to see if they offer this feature.
Nonetheless, guests will always leave reviews on public sites – it’s up to you to manage them. You’ll need to do some research to find out where your guests are leaving reviews as there may be sites you’re not familiar with. Most review platforms allow businesses to manage their own listings, so if this is the case, ensure you upload professional photos, up to date information and turn on email notifications, so you’re notified when you receive a new review.
As great as your business may be, every business receives negative reviews. It’s not the end of the world and people usually respect you when you admit to your mistakes – it’s how you respond that counts. If you receive a negative review and you did everything possible to resolve the situation, mention it in your response for prospective guests to read. However, it’s a good idea to allow yourself time to write a professional response to avoid sounding defensive.
It’s just as important to respond to positive reviews too. A guest has gone out of their way to praise your business and share their 5-star experience, so show the same courtesy and reply by thanking them. Ensure your response is personal to each guest and avoid copy and pasting the response for every review.
Once you start acquiring more reviews, you’ll be able to identify any trends, which can allow you to turn negatives into positives! If guests consistently mention that your Wi-Fi is slow, look into implementing a new Wi-Fi network. If guests are stating they love your outdoor movie nights, promote them online to show others the great activities you offer.
How to gain more reviews
If there is only 10% of your guests who respond to reviews, there are 10 times as many who are more than likely experiencing the same issues but not responding, so what’s the trick to actually receiving reviews? Keep it simple! For an internal survey, a quick SMS survey, asking your guests to reply with a rating of their stay from a 1-10 is perfect. A higher percentage of people will respond and if their is response is low, reach out and ask if there is anything you can do to improve their stay.
For external online reviews, take advantage of automation by sending an automatic email or SMS once guests check out with the link to your preferred review site. Guests are more likely to leave a review when they are prompted and having a link readily available makes it easy. It a Win-Win!
With so many consumers basing their decisions on reviews, you can’t afford to ignore them. The sooner you start monitoring them, the sooner you’ll notice a difference.
Author | Brad Illich, Founder & CEO
Published 27 March, 2020