Proactive approach to managing online reputation has benefits

Recently I visited TripAdvisor, looking for a place to stay. One of the top Hotels in town was sitting there, staring at me with a four-star review. Meanwhile, a local chain just up the road carried the same four stars.
Reading reviews of the Hotel that deserved more stars left me even more confused:
Five-star review: “It’s the last place you want to stay before you die. Hotel is beautiful and modern. Wonderful breakfast, awesome lounges. I’d definitely stay there again! ”
What a wonderfully colorful review.

Three-star review: “Expensive.”

Not really a review as much as an indictment.

Yes, the place is pricey, but well worth it for the quality of the stay and experience. The reviews said nothing about the quality of stay or the experience that Hotel provides

I noticed some of the higher-rated Hotels on TripAdvisor had more reviews, undoubtedly encouraged by the owners themselves. The ones suffering from harsher reviews had fewer, and most were from years ago.

I came to three realizations:

Reviews are subjective, and without a large enough data set (I would say 100+ reviews), it’s hard to get a true picture of just how good or bad the place is. My good experience didn’t prompt me to write a review, but someone with a bad experience definitely was motivated, and is far more likely to in the future. Face it: people love to complain.

• A Hotel that has more reviews closer to its grand opening is more likely to have lower scores. Hotels have problems when they first open, and it takes time to attract the ideal guests and get your process running smoothly. Hotels also need to get more & more reviews every time as frequency matters a lot.

• TripAdvisor can damage you if you’re not playing the game. If you’re not consistently encouraging happy guests to leave reviews when they check-out from the property, you are leaving the playing field open to the few who are dissatisfied.

I recommend using Facebook to collect feedbacks or reviews. As Facebook is non-comparative, any of your guests who are looking for your property will most likely see the result and only your page which leads them to book. Whereas, a prospective guest searching on TripAdvisor for your Hotels, can be lead to various other options who are shelling out more value to TripAdvisor. Also, on Facebook, a prospective guest can see their circle of influence liking or reviewing your Brand page which gives you an advantage.

Most times, when you see photos on a Hotel website, they depict the location itself, and perhaps the living or dining area, pool, etc. Yes, your customers are uploading pictures of their stay so it wouldn’t hurt to make sure your Hotel is presented in its best light by snapping a few photos yourself.

Some people may read this and frown at the idea of “playing the game.” But in the long run, if your hotel is terrible, no amount of good reviews will help you. If you’re not doing everything you can to help your customers make an informed decision, then they will listen to people who may not have an accurate view of what your Saturday evening musical live shows are like.

I switched gears, using Facebook and was pleasantly surprised to see the hotel in question has taken full advantage of this strategy. The Hotel’s page has numerous pictures that accurately reflect the experience, and the hotel enjoys a 4.7 out of 5 Facebook review based on 350 votes. Needless to say, I can also see all my friends who have stayed in there and reviewed positive which gives me a boost to book the perfect stay for myself.

Good for them. I may just select and book a stay for myself.

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