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5 Steps to Manage Negative Guest Reviews Every Hotel Should Know

With 75% of online travel buyers checking at least three reviews sites before booking online, not responding to a negative guest review post which is read by thousands of potential guests could result in severe revenue consequences. Unfortunately, many hoteliers do not take the time (or have the time) to respond. Lodging Interactive has developed an easy-to-use and extremely affordable Guest Review System that enables guests to post reviews directly on the hotel's website, making managing the response process far easier and much quicker for management.

Lodging Interactive is an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry for the past ten years. The company's Guest Review System is a web-based tool that is successfully helping hotels verify, review and display customer comments directly on their websites. By allowing management to respond to comments in real time, hotels are improving hotel-to-guest communications and boosting guest retention and loyalty.

"Remember when your mother said: 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?' Those days are long gone, and rightly so when it comes to online customer reviews," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Posting comments about bad experiences is a good way to warn consumers about shoddy business practices and inferior products and services.

"In the hospitality arena, warning travelers about poor hotel accommodations and inadequate service has fueled management to raise the bar on standards and strive to continually do better," he said. "That's a good thing for travelers, owners and the industry overall, because negative reviews give owners and operators an opportunity to fight back and use social media to turn unhappy customers into brand advocates, and actually win back guests, thereby driving loyalty."

A study conducted online by Harris Interactive found that 68% of consumers who posted a complaint or negative review on a social networking or ratings/review site after a negative experience got a response from the business. Of those, 18% turned into loyal customers. By listening and proactively responding on the review site to the customer, businesses were able to turn disgruntled consumers into social advocates. The survey also found that, of those who received a reply in response to their negative review, 33% turned around and posted a positive review and 34% deleted their original negative review.

While some hoteliers are still wary of negative reviews, fearing that they are simply propaganda started by competitors, Vallauri said "responding" is key to preserving a hotel's online reputation.

The Guest Review System alerts management in real time when reviews are posted to their web site. This ensures that there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property. Additionally, consumers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website.

"Establishing an online Guest Review System gives owners and operators control over what they want to display on their website," Vallauri said. "It boosts the hotel's credibility and displays trustworthiness on behalf of management. Not only can management capture lost potentially business from third-party review sites, but they can vastly improve communications with guests. After all, that's what hospitality is all about."

Lodging Interactive offers the following 5 Tips for responding to negative reviews:
1. Thank the guest for his or her comment
2. Acknowledge that there was a problem and offer an explanation
3. Tell how the situation is being corrected to improve the guest's experience
4. Invite ongoing communication and provide direct management contact information
5. Encourage the guest to return

"The fact that a negative comment occurred isn't the issue; Rather it's how the company responds to the bad review is key to maintaining an impeccable online reputation," Vallauri said. "When a negative comment arises, it's critical that the hotelier respond as quickly as possible. Be thankful, polite, and respectful of guests, even if you feel their complaint is not warranted. Remain calm and always be courteous. Tell the guest how you are going to address their complaints, and what the next steps are. Tell the guest that you take his or her complaint seriously, and that there is a plan in place to resolve the matter. More importantly, give him or her a way to stay in touch with you, and invite further feedback."

With Lodging Interactive's low-cost, turn-key Guest Review System, hotels can be up and running in 10 minutes. If finding the time to respond is an issue, Lodging Interactive is staffed to reply on the hotel's behalf.

"It's important for independent hotel owners and operators to know that they can easily and affordably compete with brand Guest Review programs and take control of their online reputations today through Lodging Interactive," Vallauri said.

Lodging Interactive is offering a free trial of its Guest Review System. There is no contract to sign and hotels can cancel anytime. For more information, visit http://www.guestreviewsystem.com. The company will be exhibiting at the 2012 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show in Atlanta May 2 to 5 at the Omni Hotel and the Georgia World Congress Center in Booth No. 124.

Lodging Interactive Launching Affordable ‘Hotel Website Solutions’

When it comes to website design and development, web hosting, maintenance, and search engine optimization, there are three key ingredients that today's mid-size and independent property owners are looking for: Price, Price, and Price. Therefore, Lodging Interactive is unveiling a new Hotel Website Solutions program designed to offer online marketing services at a low, month-to-month fee with all upfront costs removed. The service will include website design and management, reputation management, search engine marketing, real-time analytics and accountability, PLUS Lodging Interactive's Content Management System and its coveted Guest Review System.

Lodging Interactive is an award winning interactive agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, and its subsidiary, CoMMingle is an outsourced social media marketing agency that also develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas. Hotel Website Solutions will debut at the Asian American Hotel Owners' Association (AAHOA) Annual Convention in May in the Lodging Interactive Booth #124.

"It's time to make online marketing easier and more affordable for everyone," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "With social media channels making online marketing more critical than ever before, smaller hotels and independent properties need the same quality design and maintenance services as the big resorts but without the expense. Unlike some companies that try effortlessly to convince small- to mid-size property owners that they need a costly full-service web-management program, we have designed an alternative program with fairness and affordability at its core."

With Hotel Website Solutions, hoteliers can refresh their web site every two years, supporting up to 25 web pages, at no additional cost.

Included in the Hotel Website Solutions package:
• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• InnterACT client reporting online portal
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting & Server Management
• Robust Content Management Solution (CMS)
• Optional Guest Review System Inclusion at no additional cost

InnterACT by Lodging Interactive provides real-time website analytics, key performance metrics, and the latest social media monitoring tools. Using a digital dashboard, hoteliers can remotely access analytical production information about their website performance, search engine ranking performance, as well as the bounce rate and average time spent on the site. Owners and marketing managers can log in and access real-time ranking reports to determine where their website is positioned on Google, Yahoo and Bing, and view their traffic and determine where it's coming from. Because the dashboard can be customized, hoteliers can view these reports in such a way that is personal to them, so that when they log in, the information they need most is always present, such as website traffic analytics and landing page views.

Also part of the Hotel Website Solutions package is Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System. This web-based tool is successfully helping hotels verify, review and display customer comments directly on their websites. By allowing management to respond to comments in real time, hotels are improving hotel-to-guest communications and boosting guest retention and loyalty. The GRS posts traveler's comments and scores their hotel experiences based on service attributes. Hotel managers receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews pop up, eliminating delays in addressing concerns and turning potential problems into new opportunities.

"At Lodging Interactive, we understand the importance of a well-maintained and up-to-date website, as industry reports show direct bookings via the hotel's proprietary website are on the rise," Vallauri said. "Hotel Website Solutions will enable hoteliers, regardless of their hotel segmentation, to keep their websites fresh with relevant content that is recognized by the various search engines, and benefit from customized programs. "

Also at no additional cost, Lodging Interactive will include in its Hotel Website Solutions program: Initial SEO research and analysis, creation of strategy and implementation; InnterACT client portal real-time web analytics; Weekly website analytics; Monthly SEO ranking reports; and, Quarterly SEO refresh (review, analysis and implementation recommendations). Customers will also have access to Lodging Interactive's Content Management System (CMS), giving property managers the ability to modify page content and images.

Hotels interested in learning more about Hotel Website Solutions should call 877-291-4411 or visit www.LodgingInteractive.com. The company will also be exhibiting at the AAHOA Convention in May in Booth #124.

HOW GOOD IS YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE REPUTATION? Lodging Interactive Sites 5 Top Reasons Why Hoteliers Should Add a Guest Review System to their Website

Today's travelers love to tout their experiences whenever and wherever possible. Whether they post their travel reviews on Facebook, Google+, TripAdvisor, Amazon.com, Yelp, or simply send an email to their universe of friends and colleagues, the bottom line is, good or bad, the information is going to get out. As hoteliers, the best possible way to stay aware of that content and control the hotel-to-guest relationship is to add an easy-to-use and extremely affordable Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive directly onto their website.

Consider this: Statistics show that the average Facebook user has approximately 130 friends. In the social media realm, that equates to approximately 10,000 friends of friends, and over 1,000,000 friends of friends of friends. If a Facebook page has 500,000 fans (fans are people who clicked ‘Like’), you can imagine the vast reach each guest review can have in attracting travelers.

"There are many reasons why a hotel — especially an independent property — should add a Guest Review System directly onto its website," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "In addition to the obvious need to take control of their online reputations, the Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive is the easiest way for travelers to automatically link their reviews from the hotel's website to Facebook, instantly sharing their adventures with their network of friends. When you consider that one review has the potential of reaching thousands of “friends”,' it's counter-productive not to embrace this technology. This is just one of many reasons why website-based reviews are so critical to business today. Her are a few others . . ."

Top Five Reasons Why a Website Guest Review System is Critical to 2012 Operations:

1. Gain Control Over What You Want Displayed on Your Website.

Due to the nature of the Web, there is no real way to validate whether or not a person claiming to be a guest with a bad experience actually stayed at your hotel. Placing guest reviews directly on the hotel's website puts a stop to fake reviews posted by competitors or dishonest guests looking for refunds. This not only helps hotels maintain an impeccable reputation, but it gives hotel owners and managers an opportunity to interact personally with their guests more frequently. By having complete control to approve or deny any guest review that appears on your site, hoteliers can better manage their online reputations.

2. Boost Credibility and Display Trustworthiness.

As travelers are doing more and more of their research online, hotels and resorts are relying on online reviews to entice new guests to stay at their properties. But consumers are getting smart. With critics complaining that an entire cottage industry of paid reviewers has sprung up, travelers are questioning the validity of reviews found on booking sites like Orbitz, Travelocity and Hotels.com. This makes moving reviews to the hotel's website even more valuable. Hotels that post replies — both positive and negative — will be seen as more credible and trustworthy.

In an recent blog post titled: Keeping negative Facebook comments leads to more trust in your brand, Internet consumer psychologist Dr. Brent Coker wrote: "It is rare that a brand does not have some unhappy customers on occasion. These customers should be given the chance to publically display their disgruntlement. In other words, brands should never tamper with their Facebook page by deleting negative comments, only allowing the positive comments to shine through. Ideally, responding to negative comments creates an opportunity to show the world that you care. The result is greater feelings of trust, honesty, and genuineness towards your brand."

3. Capture Lost Business From Third Party Review Sites.

Hotels risk losing website visitors if those potential bookers are forced to leave the website in search of guest reviews on third party websites. Once gone, they may never come back or worse, they may book with the competition or third-party distributor such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia or Hotel.com that sell rooms at a considerably lower rate. Adding a Guest Review System keeps your guests on your site and turns lookers into bookers at rates that you are comfortable with.
Studies have shown that 75% of online travel buyers will check at least three review sites before booking online.

4. Improve Communications with Guests Via Real-Time Email Alerts.

According to Forrester, 49 percent of people won't make a reservation at a property that has no reviews; only 7 percent of hotels are responding to reviews even though 71 percent of travelers say that seeing a management response is important. In addition, 79 percent of people say that seeing a response to a negative review is reassuring. When deciding between two hotels, Forrester reports that 65 percent of people seeing a management response would sway them to book with the responding hotel. But be careful in how you respond. Forrester advises that aggressively worded management responses will do more harm than good according to 60% of the people.

By adding a Guest Review System to the website, hoteliers receive real-time email alerts for every guest review submitted, ensuring their business is always on top of what guests are saying. This means no more delays in addressing guest reviews. If a problem is identified, real-time damage control is rendered, and a potentially lost customer can be saved.

5. Expand Social Media Effectiveness Quickly and Cost Effectively.

Integrating a guest review system with Facebook is key to expanding a hotel's social media effectiveness. This link enables hotels to collect and share their guest reviews right from their hotel Facebook pages. In addition, past guests can share their own reviews via a hotel's Facebook page.

"Implementing these five steps is easy via the Lodging Interactive Guest Review System," Vallauri said. "Our web-based tool empowers hotels to collect their own guest reviews and post management responses on their websites. The Guest Review System lets consumers post their comments and score their hotel experiences based on service attributes. Additionally, consumers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website. The Lodging Interactive Guest Review System is a low cost turn-key system any hotel can use to manage their guest reviews. There is no programming required and hotels can be up and running in 10 minutes."

Lodging Interactive is offering a free trial of its Guest Review System. There is no contract to sign and hotels can cancel anytime. For more information, visit www.GuestReviewSystem.com.

Yelp Reports Wider Loss for 2011 After Marketing, Development Costs Climb – Bloomberg

Yelp Inc. (YELP), the user-generated review site that’s planning an initial public offering, reported a wider loss in 2011 after increasing spending to attract reviewers and make the service easier to use.

via www.bloomberg.com

Hotels Embracing Guest Reviews, Good or Bad – ABC News

In a sign of how powerful online reviews are to travelers, some of the world's biggest hotel companies are adding customer reviews of their hotels to their own websites.

via abcnews.go.com

The Wilshire Grand Hotel Raving about Lodging Interactive’s Guest Review System

The Wilshire Grand Hotel is taking control of its online reputation by implementing the new, web-based Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive. This tool enables The Wilshire Grand Hotel to verify, review and display customer comments directly on its Website, and instantly post management responses to comments for better hotel-to-guest communications and heightened customer-relationship management.

Lodging Interactive is an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The company's Guest Review System posts traveler's comments and scores their hotel experiences based on service attributes. Hotel managers receive real-time alerts advising when pending guest reviews pop up, eliminating delays in addressing concerns and turning potential problems into new opportunities.

"I'm a big believer in soliciting guest reviews, but unfortunately, due to the nature of the Web, there's no real way to validate whether or not a person claiming to be a guest with a bad experience actually stayed at your hotel," said General Manager Ed Reagoso. "The Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive puts a stop to fake reviews posted by competitors or dishonest guests looking for refunds. This not only helps us to maintain our impeccable reputation, but it gives me an opportunity to interact personally with our guests. When travelers take the time to honestly talk about their experience, it should be recognized and rewarded with an immediate reply.

"Thanks to the automated GRS tool, I can personally post responses to comments quickly,"
he said. "Not every hotel review site makes that type of interaction possible. It's not only great customer service, but it gives me the chance to really sell our hotel. Almost daily our reservations agents hear from guests who say they read the reviews on our site and truly appreciate that we took the time to respond. We attribute it all to Lodging Interactive and the excellent training they provide to us as part of their service."

An added benefit of the Guest Review System is that it enables travelers to share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website.

"Lodging Interactive does an exceptional job for The Wilshire Grand Hotel of optimizing our web presence and providing us with the tools and training we need to truly enhance our guests' experiences and keep them coming back again and again," Reagoso said.

 

 

 

Hotels Collect Guest Reviews From Facebook

Lodging Interactive, an award winning Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, announced today the integration of its Guest Review System with Facebook. The Facebook integration enables hotels to collect and share their guest reviews right from their hotel Facebook pages.

“Our Guest Review System continues to gain momentum with hotels, restaurants, and spas since our launch only 3 weeks ago,” said Mr. DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive’s Founder & President. “And now with the integration into Facebook hotel pages, hotels have an opportunity to collect and share their guest reviews to over 800 million Facebook users.”

The Guest Review System is an online service that enables hospitality companies to collect, manage and share guest reviews on their own websites. As a result, consumers no longer need to visit third-party review sites to read reviews or to leave their own reviews.

“The Guest Review System is integrated into our Facebook page and it’s a great way for consumers to have instant access to our guest reviews and ratings. Also past guests can share their own reviews via our Facebook page,” said Mr. Ed Reagoso, General Manager of The Grand Wilshire Hotel in West Orange, NJ. “The Guest Review Service allows me to validate all reviews for authenticity and I receive real-time alert messages every time a review is made.”

 

Another benefit of the Guest Review System is that it allows hotel management to respond to guest reviews, which often helps consumers make informed choices. “Nowadays, every hotel should routinely monitor online reviews closely,” added Mr. Vallauri. “This makes our Guest Review System increasingly valuable because it allows management to control online reviews and post responses as needed”.

The Guest Review System is a low cost, turnkey system for any hotel seeking the ability to control its own guest reviews. “There is no programming required and hotels can be up and running in just minutes,” said Mr. Vallauri. “It’s very easy to use and we even offer a free trial with no long-term agreements, hotels can cancel anytime.”

More Information: www.GuestReviewSystem.com

Reaction To Controversial TripAdvisor Reviews

It’s getting to be “review turnabout time” as more tourist-oriented providers attempt to dilute the influence of TripAdvisor in an effort to take more control of reviews.  New article worth reading on Travel Mole:

http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1149941.php?mpnlog=1&m_id=_rY!Y!s~vY

 

 

Starwood Hotels to publish online customer reviews

I applaud Starwood Hotels for being the first major hotel brand to enable the posting of online guest reviews on their websites.  Clearly they "get it" and it's only a matter of time before Marriott and Hilton follow suit. It will be interesting to see how Trip Advisor will react to their move which is a direct threat to its business model.

I'm pretty sure we've all seen this movie before, when hotels took back the control of their net rates from the OTA's.  Deja vu for sure.  

Independent hotels can also deploy their own collection and management of guest reviews on their websites by subscribing to our Guest Review System.  We offer an inexpensive, web based solution which can be up and runnig in less than 10 minutes.  We even offer a FREE TRIAL to our Guest Review System.

Let me know what you think,

DJ Vallauri
Founder & President

Lodging Interactive & CoMMingle 

HotelCast 2.0. NEW! – Guest Review System, Google Flights and Groupon Travel

This Lodging Interactive Podcast has got the scoop on the new Guest Review System that allows properties to gather and post guest reviews directly to their website.  Is Groupon Travel a good deal for properties or consumers?? 

Lodging Interactive does the research, you get the news on Google Flights…really cool stuff!  And, while protecting your high school reputation was important…Protecting your property's reputation right now is crucial.  Commingle is an ace in the hole you cannot be without.   New technology that effects you!  The hottest 10 minutes in the hospitality business is right here at HotelCast 2.0.

 >> Click Here to Listen to Lodging Interactive Fall HotelCast 2.0 podcast <<