Online reviews are a currency worth taking note of. With research from Bright Local showing that 8 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation for a business, product or service, there’s no getting away from their power to send your bookings into the stratosphere. To benefit from the power of online reviews, you first need to cultivate them. It’s important this is done consistently given 73% of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant. If you’re looking to reputation management services as a way of driving traffic to your website and therefore, your booking engine, it’s also worth noting that 54% of people will visit a website after reading a positive review of the business. That means you should get at least a 50% return on your efforts and see a spike in traffic when you take a pro active approach to cultivating online reviews. No matter if your hotel is new, your reviews to date non-existent or simply neglected, try these strategies to cultivate more online reviews from today.
The easiest and quickest way to add to your store of fresh reviews is simply to ask. 7 out of 10 say they would leave a review if approached to do so. The way you ask is entirely up to you. You can set up marketing automation to send a request via email or social media after a guest has stayed with you. This is time efficient and you can program a follow-up if there’s no response after a pre-determined period of time passes.
2.Be present on a number of relevant review platforms
If you’re serious about reputation management services, you need to go where your guests are. That means maintaining a presence on a variety of review sites. This gives consumers a choice and means your presence is spread across a number of web properties, giving greater visibility in local search. You could invite reviews on your Facebook business page, via TripAdvisor, Yelp and Foursquare for example. Make it easy for guests to leave a review and they are more likely to do so – if you limit the review option to just one platform, you’re also limiting the number of reviews you’re likely to receive. 3.Offer an incentive If you run a loyalty program for regular guests or have some other type of rewards system, you could offer an incentive such as extra points for leaving a review. Incentives don’t have to be limited to rewards systems though – you could just as easily offer a discount off the next stay or a voucher towards a spa treatment or lunch. Before you send an incentive, check the terms and conditions of the review site. Some prohibit incentives because they feel it can skewer the review towards the positive unnaturally.
4.Incorporate reviews into your site
Making reviews visible on your site, along with the information on how to actually leave a review, is another simple way to increase the volume of reviews you gather. A landing page providing links to your review sites is easy to implement. Platforms such as TripAdvisor also provide widgets so make use of the tools your review partners make available to businesses and incorporate them on your site as much as possible.
5.Add a link to your emails and other materials
If you email copies of invoices or confirmations of bookings to guests, add links to the review sites you’ve selected into your email footer. You can take this same approach offline too and add the icons for your preferred review providers onto business cards, compliments slips, do not disturb signs and letterheads. Remember that an important part of carrying out reputation management services is also to review all of your hard-earned reviews as they are posted. Responding to positive comments and taking a professional approach to dealing with negative reviews can amp up their usefulness and limit damage in the case of less than flattering remarks.