Online reviews provide a crucial lens to help you see your property’s experience through a guest’s eyes.
First, let’s understand what guest experience is.
Guest experience is the cumulative impact of all interactions and experiences between your property and a guest, at every touchpoint across the whole guest journey. This includes your presence (or lack of) on distribution channels, your website through to your front desk, interactions with housekeeping, your amenities and even communications after a guest checks outs.
Guest experience is not a single point of contact. It encompasses the entire customer journey, multiple processes, policies and people.
Online reviews and guest experience
Good guest experience is the most important benchmark for business success. Online reviews are one way to measure this success.
Negative or positive, online reviews are an insight into your guests’ needs, wants and expectations. Where you excel. Where you fail. Using these reviews, along with other data points and market insights, should inform how you evolve your guest experience.
What you learn from each type of review?
If reviews are negative, it’s obviously an area that needs addressing. You should analyse any negative reviews thoroughly, taking into account the guest’s profile, other reviews and anything else you know about them. Once you’ve analysed and established it as an area that needs improvement operationally, make a roadmap to implement the change. Or, you may feel your marketing messaging may need to be revised to align guest expectations to their real experience.
Also, remember that not all negative online reviews need to be translated into action for you. Always investigate before you make a change arising from a review. Also look at negative reviews as an aggregate, rather than in isolation. A minor hiccup due to human error that translates into a negative review is acceptable. Too many of these hiccups require change.
Whatever the next steps from your negative reviews, always ensure you communicate with the guest who left it. Keep them in the loop – from acknowledging the review, and letting them know you are investigating to the action you are taking, make your guests part of the journey.
Don’t ignore largely neutral reviews too – your goal should be to deliver experiences that wow your guests!
A direct guest survey can help identify areas that need improvement. Neutral reviews also offer hotel management an opportunity to engage with past customers, making them feel cared for and heard, thus building trust and brand loyalty.
Positive reviews offer even more data into what guests are wanting from their holiday or travel experiences as the things that they are commenting on will be things that they really value.
Ensure these things remain – and are constantly improved – on your guests’ journey.
Positive reviews are also the gems you should be using in your marketing to sell your property. These are your social proof to attract potential guests.
How to keep track of your reviews?
While monitoring your guests’ feedback is the secret that can solve many a manager’s woes, it is also tricky to keep track of the myriad of platforms available for guest reviews, think Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Google, and Facebook to name but a few.
Products like STAAH ReviewMinder are a great way to keep across the online reviews across multiple channels, including alerts to new ones and responding to reviews in one click. Using visual dashboards, it is easier to monitor reviews, including the sentiment of each. Combined with insightful reporting, making informed decisions from your online reviews to inform your guest journey will be a breeze.
To sum it up…
Online review management is one aspect of the overall guest experience, but a very important one. The more we interact and communicate with satisfied, dissatisfied and neutral guests, the more insights we will glean from them. We can learn from all types of reviews and ultimately improve every subsequent guest stay.
This article was first published on https://blog.staah.com/featured/how-online-reviews-shape-your-hotels-guest-experience.