You know that positive guest reviews are essential to your property’s success, and as we covered in a recent post, the public is becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to spotting hotels’ false attempts to accumulate this all-important feedback online.
Reviews are best when they generate themselves without any interaction on your part. In an ideal world, all your guests would be so bowled over by your first rate customer service that they would gladly type up a review on TripAdvisor straight after check-out, allowing you to effortlessly surround your hotel with a steady stream of positive word of mouth. In reality, most people have busy lifestyles and require a gentle prod if you want them to take time to share their experience with others online. With this in mind, here are 3 simple ways to start getting more reviews now.
Examine your guest lifecycle
Starting from the initial website visit, lay out all the steps that make up your standard guest lifestyle, from booking to check out and post-stay correspondence. The point is to recognise all the opportunities you have to influence a review during your online and in-person interactions with your guests. Could you ask during the check-out process? Do you send out a thank-you email as part of your post-stay follow up correspondence? Defining these valuable contact points will be crucial to the next stage of your task.
Don’t make a review your reason for contact
Once you’ve noted all the opportunities you have to get in touch, think about when you normally contact your guests via email, and which times of day typically see the best engagement rates. When you’ve identified when the best time is, it’s time to send out some carefully crafted communication that is not specifically geared towards driving a review. Perhaps you send out a guest survey several weeks after check-out? If a guest takes time to respond to your questions you know they’re engaged with your brand and probably open to the idea of leaving you some more feedback in the form of a review, so don’t be afraid to politely ask them in your next correspondence. The whole process is basically about identifying those people who are engaged with your property the most, then helping them to help your business.
Promote social media engagement
As always, a successful social media presence is key to driving engagement (and reviews and engagement go hand in hand).
By this point you’ve probably identified the social networks that work best for you in terms of audience engagement, website traffic and conversions. Now all you need to do is remind your guests of your existence on these sites at every stage of the lifecycle - through your email campaign, business cards and printed materials, receipts and even restaurant menus. Integrate your social media presence into every stage of the guest booking cycle and you may find the number of people choosing to leave feedback for their stays gets a healthy natural boost.
Do you use any of these tactics to drive online reviews? Let us know in the comments below!