Can we consider Online Reputation as a science? Perhaps it is a bit pretentious to go that far, but what is undeniable is that it has become one of the central pillars of hotel management.
At thinkIN we have a good habit of always welcoming new colleagues into the meeting room. In fact, a few weeks ago, a person with experience in large hotel chains joined our revenue team and, when presenting the Online Reputation department, his response was directly “you do an extremely important job“.
It may only seem like a simple office story, but it serves as a very clear example of the leading role that this work has been acquiring within the hotels. Until recently, Tripadvisor and company were considered blank books for guests to express their frustration, but today they are platforms that hoteliers review almost daily.
When Online Reputation determines the sale
It is estimated that the user booking process goes through three distinct phases: search, option selection and purchase. However, in recent times the role of opinion portals has come into play, which usually burst in between phases two and three, with a decisive role in the purchase phase.
In the work of any revenue manager, the rating of OTAs and other opinion portals is also a decisive factor in pricing, as we have noted on other occasions. Furthermore, given that hotel distribution is such a highly detailed subject that depends on so many variables, it is completely normal that Online Reputation management has gone from being a customer service task with personalised responses to a whole exercise in analysis.
Against all odds, the hotelier seems to have put an end to a long-standing stormy relationship with Tripadvisor. This peace agreement comes about precisely after understanding that guest opinions are not a threat, but rather function as an interesting tool for constant improvement.
The SWOT matrix, based on Weaknesses, Threats, Strengths and Opportunities, is a classic in the business world. It helps any company to determine its strengths and weaknesses, with the aim of further improving its products and services.
At thinkIN, after several years working on managing reviews and comments, we have seen how hotels are paying more attention than ever to their responses. Now we know that the Tripadvisor algorithm favours those owners that carry out personalised reviews, that the greater the management the higher the score, that online surveys are excellent options for increasing the number of reviews and that, far from what is thought, not only is the user with a negative experience prone to comment, but there is an important segment of loyal customers who are excellent prescribers.
How can Online Reputation Analysis really help host establishments? As a rule, hotels are composed of several departments that are usually analyzed separately. For example, when giving opinions, Booking asks users to rate certain categories, such as WiFi, cleaning, entertainment or location. With an exhaustive study of the guests’ opinions, it is possible to go to the root of the matter and correct anything that does not work, either directly or through those responsible for the different services of the hotel.
Of course, Online Reputation must be understood as a long-term value. It is important that this analysis is always done effectively, but the decision to change is in the hands of hoteliers and how they use the information to continue improving. Experience tells us that, as a general rule, guests are aware of and value the efforts made by establishments to change.
To think that an accommodation is always going to be stuck in the same position as Tripadvisor is an invisible wall that hoteliers should be encouraged to overcome. It is necessary to use as much information as possible to make decisions based on objective issues. It will only be a matter of time before the Online Reputation strategy achieves better results.