Hotel reputation management describes a suite of tools and strategies that hotels can use to monitor and manage the public perception of their property, primarily online.

Ever-larger investments in reputation management are being made by hotels (and other businesses), to the point that the outlay can often exceed costs relating to staff training and marketing.

Small, independent hoteliers are more likely to deal with reputation management themselves. But reviewing and replying to endless reviews across endless platforms demands a significant amount of time and effort.

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Hotel reputation management strategies 

From soliciting feedback to capitalising on hotel reputation management tools, here are 10 effective strategies. 

1. Analyse feedback

Never remove poor reviews. Look at patterns which emerge with a few comments and try to work on your drawbacks. This will reflect to your customers, both loyal and potential ones, that you are committed to them in providing quality care and hospitality.

Taking action will stop negative responses from repeating themselves and create a steady flow of good responses and lead to more referrals. Mark out the praises and use them as leverage, if possible, in your marketing campaigns.

2. Respond to reviews

An interactive website gives far more credibility to the reputation of your business because it indicates that you care and are striving to satisfy your customers in every way.

Correct your mistakes and respond accordingly to those who cared enough to help you improve. Be grateful for both types of reviews—good and otherwise. Responses from guests which require clarification or an apology should get the highest priority.

As a hotel manager, you should check these regularly and respond to them when necessary. Not only does this help the guest who had an issue during their stay, but it proves to other guests that you are committed to customer service.

3. Optimise your presence on these sites

Updating your profile once and letting it be for posterity is not going to make any significant improvement in your online reputation. As your business grows, you need to keep the consumers up to date with the developments.

Add images, videos, customer feedback and accurate information on as many websites that deal with your field of business. If you have any particular Unique Selling Point—like being an eco-friendly property or being one of the oldest small hotels in town, highlight it in every way possible.

4. Be more searchable online

Ensure you have a presence wherever potential guests might be searching for a hotel like yours: 

  • Google: A Google Business Profile will ensure you come up as a result on Google Maps, Google Hotels and in rich results.
  • Social media: Consider which platforms your ideal guest uses, whether Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or something else.
  • OTAs and metasearch engines: Create and manage a listing on all major booking channels.

5. Improve your amenities and customer service

Always look to do better and be better. Place yourself in your guests’ shoes and consider how their experience could be enhanced. Ask guests for feedback, analyse competitors, and keep your finger on the industry pulse for ways to improve your offering.

6. Deliver value when your guests stay at your property

By paying attention to the little details — such as offering a warm plate of cookies upon arrival — and adding extra guest services, your guests will find that they enjoy more than just a great room for the price of their stay.

Concierge services, local travel recommendations, and added amenities on your property all add value to any guest stay.

7. Manage social media

What goes on in social media circles once stays there for an extremely long time. Appoint someone from your staff to handle this monumental task and let this be their only responsibility.

Social media is one of the easiest platforms to get publicity and this attention can sway both ways. It is imperative to have a positive presence. Reputation management tools are also available online to help out and act as a primary gatekeeper.

8. Think of your guests and provide them with solutions

Let your guests know that they are the strongest pillar in your business and allow them to stand on a pedestal in case of any disagreement. Try to work out an amicable solution.

While offering discounts over such issues, never involve an outside source. Request clients to approach you directly in order to reduce third parties from creating unnecessary bad publicity.

9. Communicate with people

Take your online presence beyond the screen and communicate with your guests as they arrive. Personalise their experience.

In today’s world riddled with just virtual presence, human connection takes you a long way in creating a positive online reputation!

10. Implement a seamless online booking process

Remember that the guest experience begins prior to their arrival at your property. Implement a seamless online booking process in order to make a good first impression. More travellers are looking to book their rooms online, and many are beginning to prefer mobile booking options.

Make sure that your small hotel not only accepts online reservations and payments, but also sends automatic confirmation emails, pre-stay booking information emails, and post-stay emails requesting feedback about their stay at your hotel.

This ensures that you communicate with your guests throughout the entirety of their experience.

How to improve your hotel online reputation management

On top of the strategies listed above, there are a few other ways in which a hotel can work to enhance its reputation, including: 

1. Hotel website

The good thing about your small hotel website is that you have total control over it. You tailor the experience that your guests will receive when they visit your site – and this experience should match the level of customer service that you bring to them in person.

The main challenge is how to make sure your website gets found. You can boost your website’s rank through search engine optimisation (SEO) tactics, as well as encouraging ‘The Billboard Effect’.

2. Facebook page

Many of your ideal guests are using Facebook to help them find and book the right accommodation. In fact, 87% of those younger than 34 are using Facebook to solicit advice before making bookings (Stikky Media).

The good thing about Facebook is that you’re almost in total control – and the biggest challenge is the fact that you can’t control what people post to your page.

3. OTA listings

Listing your small property on OTAs can greatly strengthen your online reputation. The problem is the limited amount of control you have.

While you can control your property descriptions and which rooms you’d like to sell, you have less control of the entire guest experience, because it’s being managed by the OTAs.

Other challenges include having no control over what your rating is, the fact that you have to monitor and respond to feedback, and the fact that you have to pay if you want higher visibility on OTA listings.

4. Encourage guest feedback

Listing isn’t enough. These sites allow people to submit their feedback, which you must monitor and respond to. We shouldn’t have to convince you of the impact of online reputation—they can make or break your business.

Encourage guests to leave reviews and respond to each and every one.

If you silently watch both positive and negative reviews that get posted on your page—without doing anything—it sends the message to future guests that you simply don’t care about what your guests have to say about their stay with you.

It’s worth noting that a quick response is necessary. It shows that as a business owner you care what people are saying about your property to others, and you’re always trying to improve your guests’ experience.

Hotel reputation management tools

Managing the perception of your property is so much easier when you have access to the right hotel reputation management software. The following tools can make a huge difference to how efficiently and effectively you monitor, manage and ultimately enhance your reputation:

  • TripAdvisor Reputation Pro: One of the most important hospitality review platforms, TripAdvisor’s Reputation Pro tool offers a far simpler and more effective way to manage your TripAdvisor reputation.
  • GuestTouch: This smart tool helps you conduct guest surveys, solicit reviews, and monitor guest sentiment and your overall reputational performance, all in a single dashboard.
  • Experience Hotel: This CRM allows you to communicate seamlessly with your guests from the moment they book to long after they check out. This ensures you give them an experience that they’ll want to tell other people about.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).