The COVID-19 global health crisis dramatically changed the future of travel. In what was always a very competitive business, the future of the travel industry is at risk.
People will continue to travel, but how often, to where, and when are serious questions that seemed unthinkable to ask not very long ago.
The hotels and travel companies that emerge from the coronavirus crisis will seek every opportunity to win the customer back.
Price and customer service will continue to drive hotel reservations and advance bookings, but 93% of travel and hospitality business owners think online reviews are among the most important factors affecting the future of their industry.
91% of travelers turn to search engines when looking for a place to stay, with the majority -- 81% preferring to use Google.
What do people see when they Google your hotel or travel company?
Bad reviews, misleading news, and blog articles, negative comments in forums, and online defamation by angry customers, former employees, or jealous competitors can destroy your online reputation.
This is why the future of online marketing must include online reputation management.
76% of consumers are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores. 49% of travelers will not book a hotel without reviews. Negative reviews have convinced 94 percent of consumers to avoid a business. 88% of consumers will sort out hotels from their searches with poor review scores.
When it comes to managing a business in the hospitality industry, your ultimate goal should be to increase the number of reviews and boost positive ratings. The most important travel review sites, in order of number of reviews are:
TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel site. 463 million travelers visit TripAdvisor every month. There are more than 860 million reviews and opinions across greater than 8.7 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.
96% of TripAdvisor users consider reading reviews important when planning trips and booking hotels. 83% of TripAdvisor users will “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding to book a hotel.
TripAdvisor also enjoys an enviable place on Page 1 of Google for almost every hotel in the world. It's a great place to be if your hotel enjoys 4-star and 5-star reviews from happy travelers. There is no place to hide if you have a poor rating and negative reviews.
TripAdvisor does not allow the removal of negative reviews, but business owners and social media managers can make a Management Response, which we recommend as a public way to acknowledge positive reviews, respond to negative reviews and connect with current and future guests.
TripAdvisor will remove a review if it can confirm that the review violates its review guidelines. Fake reviews, competitor reviews, and reviews that attempt to blackmail a listing all violate TripAdvisor's review guidelines.
To report a review that does not meet TripAdvisor guidelines:
Opinions are protected speech and TripAdvisor will not inquire into the facts in dispute. However, if there is a basis for an online defamation / cyber libel claim, Tripadvisor will respond to a court order and remove a review that is found to be defamatory.
TripAdvisor will also comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and remove content that infringes on a legitimate copyright interest. Notices of claims of copyright infringement on TripAdvisor can be emailed to: ta-copyright@Tripadvisor.com
It is also possible for the individual who posted the review to remove a Tripadvisor review. It is not possible to edit reviews posted to TripAdvisor. To remove a review posted to TripAdvisor:
According to Lightspeed Research, 62% of consumers surveyed said they would change their mind after reading 1-3 negative reviews. However, negative reviews are inevitable in the travel and hospitality industry. You can't please everyone all the time. You need a strategy for responding to negative reviews on Tripadvisor and other travel review sites.
We generally recommend that hotels first respond privately to the individual posting a complaint or criticism whenever possible. It is best to respond to reviews within the first 24 hours.
Generally, the best approach is to have a conversation offline to discuss the issue. The best response is when the owner or hotel manager reaches out to the individual who posted the complaint in near real-time, expresses an interest in resolving the issue, and provides contact information so this resolution can actually take place.
If a positive outcome can be reached privately, encourage the individual to update his or her review with the resolution and maybe even update the original rating. If the individual posting the review cannot be reached or is not amenable to any reasonable resolution a public response is necessary.
Fake reviews are a problem in every industry. At the risk of sharing insight that will probably be used by some unscrupulous PR or travel companies intent on gaming the system, here are a few ways to tell if a hotel review is legitimate:
Detailed reviews. The more detail the better, when trying to tell if a review is real or fake, look for mentions of room numbers, the name of a helpful concierge or hotel manager, etc. The more effort that someone put into the review the more credibility it has. In our experience hotels looking to boost their image with fake reviews are naturally inclined (or financially incentivized) to put in the least amount of time into getting a 5-star review.
It's also helpful to see online reviews that mix positive and negative. Someone’s negative (e.g., “not a great place for children”) might be exactly the kind of quiet, romantic destination someone may be looking at for a honeymoon.
Multiple reviews. When reading a travel review look at other reviews the individual wrote while on his or her trip. It is possible someone went to Italy for two weeks and just wrote about one hotel, but very likely they will have written a review about another restaurant, tour company or hotel. This is a great sign of authenticity.
Real photos. The presence of traveler photos along with a review is a helpful indicator of authenticity. Professional photos have an almost too good to be true quality so we're not talking about those, but most photos we take on vacation or while traveling for business look wonderfully average. An average picture of a nice hotel room and an above-average review is a very good sign that the accompanying review is legitimate.
Our social media management team are online marketing experts who know, based on data analytics and experience, what to post, when to post, who to target, and why and will help develop a consistent, clear, and credible “voice” for you and your brand online. For hotels, social media has been a powerful tool for brand awareness and engage current and future guests.
At 2.2 billion, Facebook has more monthly active users than Twitter (336 million) and Instagram (1 billion)—combined. Facebook continues to reign in popularity over other social media channels. Even more importantly, 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a local business, like a law firm, if it has information available on a social media site. Reputation Rhino can help you identify the most effective ways to help you and your firm stand out online.
Instagram is a highly engaged global community with more than one billion active accounts. People come to Instagram for visual inspiration and the simple design allows captivating visuals to take center stage. Advertising on Instagram has the power to move people — inspiring them to see a brand or business differently or take action.
With over 68 million users in the U.S., Twitter is a powerful platform to improve brand awareness and expand your reach to connect with new and existing clients.
Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by 'pinning' on images or videos to their own or others' boards and browsing what other users have pinned. With a combination of great demographics (predominantly higher-income female audience) and highly visible and shareable content, Pinterest is a powerful branding opportunity for any visually-oriented business.
Reputation Rhino is led by an extraordinary team of experienced social media, marketing, and PR experts. We can help:
Hotel reputation management is the monitoring and management of online hotel reviews, and online media, to maintain a positive online reputation. A positive online reputation is crucial to success in the travel and hospitality field, particularly since 88% of travelers prefer to book hotel accommodations online and most people do travel research online before making a purchase. Hotel reputation management will combat negative comments and reviews, and promote positive reviews so hotels have the opportunity to win loyal customers.
Managing a hotel’s online reputation involves generating positive reviews from satisfied guests and customers, as well as creating informative content that builds trust and relationships. It also involves responding to negative reviews with appreciation and an effort to correct the problem. Positive reviews should be acknowledged and addressed directly, in order to nurture relationships and create lifelong, loyal customers. This is imperative, considering that negative reviews will cause 94% of consumers to avoid business, according to a survey by ReviewTrackers.
Online reviews can greatly affect a hotel’s reputation. 88% of travelers will set their filters to hide hotels with average ratings of less than three stars, according to TripAdvisor. That means if your reviews are not strongly positive, many potential customers won’t even know your hotel exists. To combat this, encourage reviews from satisfied guests and customers, address negative reviews directly and try to resolve situations where service or the guest experience were below expectations, engage with positive reviews to compound their effect, and turn the best reviews into testimonials on your website and other highly visible online sources.
Hotel reputation management is more important now than ever. The hospitality industry has taken a massive hit from the global pandemic, and hotels should be looking for every opportunity to gain trust and increase bookings. A positive online reputation will help to accomplish that. More than ever, customers will be looking for cleanliness and adherence to local COVID-19 health guidelines. If guests see something they like or don’t like, they’re going to let the world know in an online review.
Social media has proven to be integral to hotel success, to engage current and future guests. The travel and hotel industries are rooted in hospitality, which means focus on the customer. Social media provides the perfect platform for attention to guests with engagement, feedback, and acknowledgment. It provides an environment where a hotel can establish its unique brand voice and give potential customers a taste of what they’ll experience during a stay.