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#AskDJV Episode 30: 3 Tips on avoiding Negative Hotel Reviews

It’s inevitable.  Every hotel is going to have negative reviews at one time or another.  In Episode 30 of #AskDJV, we discuss what you can do to minimize negative hotel reviews.

Negative Hotel Reviews – Tip #1

Be Pro-active.  There are many times a guest will be staying at your hotel and it takes 2-4 hours for someone from the property to even send an acknowledgement to them.  You want to prevent your guest from going to social media marketing channels such as Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor or another OTA and posting a negative comment or hotel review.  Speed is of the essence when it comes to avoiding hotel reviews.

Negative Hotel Reviews – Tip #2

Own the problem or complaint – even if it isn’t your department.  Whether the complaint belongs to you or not, own it, take responsibility for it and try to turn a guest complaint into a positive hotel review.  Don’t blame someone else or look for the “easy” way out of the situation.

Negative Hotel Reviews – Tip #3

Restore confidence and goodwill with your hotel guests.  Remember, to put yourself in your guests’ shoes.  If you were staying at a hotel and someone promptly attended to your issue with a positive attitude, wouldn’t you be more likely to write a positive review about your experience?

Sometimes, all it takes to avoid negative hotel reviews is to be attentive and caring when responding to guest complaints.  Learn more about what you can do to avoid negative hotel reviews today.

Thanks for watching. Until next week!

Report Shows Trust in Hotel Online Reviews is On the Rise

A June 2013 Local Consumer Review Study reveals that 79 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Findings from the study suggest "more consumers are reading reviews as part of their pre-purchase research before selecting a local business to use. They are forming opinions faster and needing to read fewer reviews before they trust (or don’t trust) a local business. This puts increased emphasis on local businesses to manage their online reputation closely and ensure that any negative reviews are dealt with in a swift and positive way." As hoteliers budget for 2014, it's clear that guest reviews need to become part of their online marketing strategies. Hotels with limited staff and financial resources to manage the feedback process can easily afford adding the Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive.

"What this data shows us is that travelers are diligently seeking out online reviews before they make any purchasing decisions," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "This validates why hoteliers — especially those operating independent properties — should be adding online guest reviews to their websites. If resources are lacking, both in staffing and finances, the Lodging Interactive Guest Review System is an ideal option.

"Our Guest Review System is a web-based tool that is successfully helping hotels verify, review and display customer comments directly on their hotel websites," Vallauri said. "By allowing management to respond to comments in real time — or outsourcing that task to Lodging Interactive — hotels are improving two-way hotel-to-guest communications and boosting guest retention and loyalty."

Lodging Interactive is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. The company's Guest Review System dispatches real-time alerts to hotel managers advising when pending guest reviews pop up. This eliminates delays in addressing concerns and turns potential problems into new opportunities. The system also stops fake reviews posted by competitors or dishonest guests looking for refunds, helping hotels to maintain their reputations. In addition, directing guests to the hotel's website to post comments and reviews keeps them from being redirected to an OTA where they will never come back to book direct.

Social Media Benefits
"The Lodging Interactive Guest Review System is also proving to be a valuable part of a hotel's social media marketing initiative," Vallauri said. "Travelers can share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends, opening up avenues to new booking audiences, and again, more revenues. Lodging Interactive's Facebook Widget links comments from the hotel's website to its Facebook page in real time. This enables potential guests to read guest reviews on Facebook and enables past guests to leave reviews directly on Facebook as well. Leveraging social media as a communications platform for guest reviews is a natural extension for Lodging Interactive's solution. Better yet, there is no additional cost to implement the Guest Review System on Facebook and our team will even handle the set up for the hotel.”

According to the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Nearly six-in-10 global online consumers (58 percent) trust messages found on company websites, and half trust email messages that they signed up to receive.

If your hotel is lacking a guest review program or the resources to manage the one you already have, call Lodging Interactive at 877-291-4411 ext 701 or visit  www.GuestReviewSystem.com. The Company offers a 10 day FREE trial of its Guest Review System and no credit card is required.

USA Today and ABC News Report Guest Satisfaction Lowest in Seven Years

A recent article in USA Today reports that hotel guest satisfaction has dropped to its lowest level in seven years, noting that check-in and check-out, guestrooms, food, Internet/WiFi fees, and facilities such as pools and business centers top the list of travelers' dislikes. ABC News also reported that how a person books their hotel stay may also be related to their satisfaction. In Hotels with Highest, Lowest Guest Satisfaction, Travel & Lifestyle Editor Genevieve Shaw Brown wrote that "guests who book their hotel stay with online travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia and competitors) tend to be less satisfied with their stay then those who book directly with the hotel web site or over the phone. These travelers tend to be more price-sensitive, have lower levels of satisfaction with their stay, are less loyal to hotel brands and tend to report more problems."

The underlying message for hoteliers is twofold: 1) If you don't take direct control of your guest reviews NOW, chances are the comments they post will not only turn travelers off, it could keep them away.  2) It's time to refresh your websites because enticing travelers to book directly on your website will improve your chances of having satisfied customers, thereby increasing your chances of receiving positive reviews.

"It only takes one unhappy guest to post a bad review, then the company's reputation is damaged, which in turn effects their sales," said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive, an award-winning, interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. "Today travelers have no problem telling the world what they like — and more importantly, don't like — about their hotel experience. Knowing how easy the Web and social media has made it for consumers to find their voices, hoteliers should be fearful to create an atmosphere whereby a negative review can even occur. Those hotel companies that have been identified in recent reports by travelers as providing below average service need to act — and quickly — to salvage their reputations and restore faith in their patrons."

Lodging Interactive has established a Guest Review System for hotels that alerts management in real time when reviews are posted to their web sites. This ensures there are no delays in communication, and the appropriate staff can immediately fix any pending problems before the customer leaves the property or has the opportunity to post negative reviews on third-party websites. 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.

"Negative reviews will happen; no matter how stellar the hotel's reputation, someone will find something to complain about — even if it's a competitor posting a fraudulent review," Vallauri said. "The key to containment comes with responding immediately to the post and flipping the negative experience into a positive — preferably before the guest has even left the property. Equally important is responding in an appropriate manner. Be thankful, polite, and respectful of guests, even if the complaint is not warranted. Remain calm and always be courteous. Tell the guest how the situation will be addressed and what the next steps are. Tell the guest that you deem the complaint to be serious, 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 management, and invite further feedback."

Hotels can quickly and cost-effectively add Lodging Interactive's low-cost, turn-key Guest Review System in about 10 minutes. All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code inserted on the hotel's Website. Once initiated, managers can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. In addition, the company is staffed to reply on the hotel's behalf if staffing is an issue.

But wait, there's more . . .
Hotels needing to update their websites to provide fresh content and simplify the direct booking process can actually receive the Guest Review System absolutely FREE!

"Adding guest reviews to a hotel's website is critical for business success today, but if the website isn't fresh — featuring new, visually appealing photos and links to social media channels to ensure more chatter — owners and operators are just compounding the problem," Vallauri said. "Lodging Interactive's Hotel Website Solutions program enables hoteliers to refresh their web site every two years, at no additional cost, and we'll throw the Guest Review System in at no additional cost."

Included in the Hotel Website Solutions package is:

• RFPLink group lead capture and reporting
• Online analytical reporting
• Homepage call-to-action tile images
• Website Hosting and Server Management
• Robust Content Management, and
• Guest Review System at no additional cost.

"It's important for hoteliers to know that they can easily and affordably take control of their reputations by simply and affordably updating their Web sites and adding a Guest Review through Lodging Interactive," Vallauri said. "Hotel companies that have been ranked as providing below average satisfaction to guests can easily boost their credibility, restore consumer confidence, and regain lost business from third-party review sites."

Lodging Interactive has identified the following five ways for hoteliers to interact with their guests and prospects and better grow and manage their use of online marketing and social media channels for 2013 and beyond:

1. Keep Your Hotel’s Website "Fresh" by updating websites at least every two years
2. Take Control Of Your Hotel’s Guest Reviews by adding review functionality to your web site
3. Invest in Mobile Marketing
4. Enhance your presence on all social media channels
5. Manage our online reputation by monitoring chatter

 

Does Guest Review Management Really Pay Off?

Does posting guest reviews and using social media to air travel grievances really make a difference? Lodging Interactive, an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry for the past 10 years, knows that it does. Together with its subsidiary CoMMingle, a social-media marketing consultancy, the two companies have spent the last five years helping hoteliers grow and better manage their use of social media channels for hotel marketing, of which monitoring and managing guest reviews is a big part.

Consider this scenario. In a recent USA Today column titled "Airing your hotel problem on Twitter can pay off," Travel Columnist Barbara DeLollis recaps a story shared with her by one of her "Hotel Check-In" readers:

"About 18 months ago, I checked into the [hotel] for staycation when a friend was visiting from Seattle. When I opened the mini-fridge, to my horror and disgust, there was a leftover box frozen solid into the freezer section, with strong odor of what may have been a lovely Mexican meal gone bad. I immediately took a picture with my iPhone and Tweeted [the hotel] before heading out to dinner with my friend. In the middle of our appetizer, I received a Tweet apologizing for the mishap and an offer of free breakfast for two the next morning. When I arrived back in my room, a bottle of wine and a hand-written note were waiting for us. Needless to say, the frozen dinner was gone. Since then, I have used [the Twitter handle for the hotel] for everything from confirming early check-in to ordering room service. The consistent, immediate and non-intrusive service of [the hotel's Twitter handle] is probably the No. 1 reason I've remained loyal to the chain. Since the above-mentioned incident, btw, I have made Diamond status with [the brand] and will probably be a customer for life."
Lin told USA Today's DeLollis that he believes "Twitter is almost always faster than calling the front desk or corporate to get results." The biggest bonus, he said, is that "he can just type a quick message while on the go instead of taking the time to get someone on the phone and talk."

While this situation was resolved via Twitter, Lodging Interactive professes that using a hotel's own website to enable guests to post reviews works equally as well, and it helps to better manage channel shift from third-party sites to the brand or property site. In addition, for hotel managers who may not be as social media savvy, being able to reply to guest reviews via a laptop or desktop onto the hotel website makes the response process that much quicker and easier.

"Social media is more about psychology than marketing," said Rosella Virdo, Director of CoMMingle Social Media Marketing. "When guests take the time to post a review on Twitter or the hotel's Facebook page, for example, someone needs to be monitoring the channel ready to post a response. It's a way to take online marketing to the next level. Frequent traveler Lin who corresponded with USA Today was fortunate that he stayed at a hotel that had social media monitoring tools in place. Most hotels don't; but that's where Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle come in."

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. By allowing management to respond to comments in real time, hotels are improving hotel-to-guest communications and boosting guest retention and loyalty. The Guest Review System alerts management in real time when reviews are posted. 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.

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 hoteliers 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," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Those that want to go the extra step and also monitor the various social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and blogs can benefit by partnering with CoMMingle. This group is designed to assist hotels with social media engagement via strategic planning, growing and managing social media channels, word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization."

The challenge for hoteliers is not just being visible via the various social channels, but being interactive and engaging, constantly monitoring content and keeping the conversations going, Vallauri said.

"If a hotel does not have a dedicated staff member serving as its social media watch dog, it's easy for the plan to fall apart," he said. "That's where CoMMingle comes in. We become the eyes and ears of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting instant replies if desired. So the next time your hotel gets a Tweet from a disgruntled guest like Mr. Lin, management will have a team in place to Tweet a reply and turn the negative situation into a positive one. Easier yet, by adding the Lodging Interactive Guest Review System to the hotel website, management can monitor reviews and respond to complements or concerns in a format that they are more comfortable with."

FREE OFFER!
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 offer is being made available now through June 28 at the conclusion of the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC).

AAHOA Members Offered FREE Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive

Members of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) attending the Annual Convention this week at the Omni Hotel and the Georgia World Congress Center are receiving an unprecedented offer from Lodging Interactive. For the first time, the interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry is offering 90 Day FREE USE of its Guest Review System by simply visiting Booth No. 124 and registering for the service.

Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System enables guests to post reviews directly on the hotel's website, making it easier to verify, review and display customer comments and instantly post management responses to comments for better hotel-to-guest communications and heightened customer-relationship management.

Lodging Interactive'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.

"Hotels risk losing website visitors if those potential bookers are forced to leave the website in search of guest reviews on third party websites," Vallauri said. "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 Hotels.com that sell rooms at a considerably lower rate. Adding the Guest Review System keeps guests on the hotel's website and turns lookers into bookers at rates owners are comfortable with."

Integrating the 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.

Ed Reagoso, General Manager of The Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, N.J., had this to say about Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System:

"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. 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. Thanks to the automated GRS tool, I can post responses to comments quickly. 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."

Added Offers Abound
As an Allied member of AAHOA, Lodging Interactive strives to build relationships with hotel owners and assist them in all areas of online marketing, from reputation management and guest reviews to Web presence and direct web bookings. Therefore, the award-winning company will introduce new financial models at the AAHOA Convention designed specifically for small hotel owners and those running full-service properties with multiple flags.

Members also will be encouraged to sign up for a no-cost, no-obligation social media marketing audit through CoMMingle, Lodging Interactive's full-service social-media marketing agency. The CoMMingle team will assist AAHOA members with planning their unique social media strategy based on their individual property goals. Then they will teach members how to socialize online, 'comingling' and managing their message on the channels (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and more) that work best for their properties. CoMMingle ensures that each hotel's message is communicated smartly, efficiently and effectively, constantly measuring each plans' critical success factors and fine-tuning each strategy for long term success.

"By leveraging the support of Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle, we are confident that AAHOA members will be widely successful in 2012 and beyond," Vallauri said. "We encourage anyone interested in our FREE Guest Review System, FREE Social Media Marketing Audit and learning more about our new financial models for web design, web optimization and content management, visit Lodging Interactive in Booth No. 124 at the 2012 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show."

For more information on Lodging Interactive, visit http://www.lodginginteractive.com.

Technology + People = Reputation Management

Is your hotel using its reputation management software to its fullest potential? Are you responding to guest reviews in a timely manner? Are the reports you are generating being analyzed to correct issues in operations or guest services? For the majority of hotels, the answer likely is "no." Adopting social media technologies that monitor a hotel's or brand's online reputation is critical today to better connect with travelers. But unless those tools are being maximized, reputations and business practices can still suffer.

CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive has teamed up with leading hospitality reputation-management companies to supplement their technology applications whereby CoMMingle will provide the human resources necessary to answer guest reviews and manage guest responses on behalf of the hotel.

Consider this data provided by ReviewPro:

• A negative review or comment on the Twitter, Facebook or You Tube Web sites can lose companies as many as 30 customers (Convergys Corp)
• 92% of Internet users read product reviews and 89% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decision. (e-tailing group)
• 85% of executives use social media during a purchase decision (Forrester research)
• TripAdvisor reviews are viewed three times more often on partner websites than on TripAdvisor.com (Tnooz)
• 69% of online shoppers said they trusted the Internet for advice, vs. 43% for magazines and 35% for TV (Yahoo)

"With guest review management becoming critical to the success or failure of a hotel's social media program — and its online marketing campaign overall — hotels would be remiss not to dedicate a full time team to social media monitoring," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "But let's face it, unless you are a mega brand or luxury resort, finding the financial or human resources to monitor social channels to their full potential and creating effective responses to guest reviews in a timely fashion, is increasingly difficult. That's where CoMMingle comes in.

"We have spent the last few years building relationships with guest-review companies so that we can complement their technology with 'our people,'" Vallauri said. "Hotels that are using systems such as Revinate, for example, can outsource social media monitoring and guest review responses to us. Our teams log in as the hotel, and reply to guest reviews accordingly, always keeping the hotel apprised of comments and alerting it to concerns. It doesn't matter what type of guest-review technology platform a hotel is using; CoMMingle can work within the tools to maximize the messaging and deliver more consistent responses. Hotel General Managers especially appreciate this service, since it saves them considerable time in personally responding to reviews."

Lodging Interactive is an award winning interactive agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry. CoMMingle by Lodging Interactive is an outsourced social media marketing agency that develops customized solutions for hotels, restaurants and spas. The company works with its customers to grow and better manage their use of social media channels, provide reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization. CoMMingle is designed to assist hotels in engaging online with social media strategic planning, growing and managing social media channels, word-of-mouth marketing and experiential marketing, reputation and consumer sentiment monitoring, and social search engine optimization.

Technology + People = Success
Revinate is a software platform designed exclusively for the hospitality industry that makes it easy for hotels to take control of their online reputation by using online reviews and social media to learn from and connect with travelers. CoMMingle works side-by-side with Revinate customers to provide staff to respond to the reviews.

"As a software company, we provide software, extensive training and best practices, but look to partners for managed services," said Marc Heyneker, Revinate Co-Founder and VP of Sales. "Having partners such as Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle division handling the social media at hotels makes it a very robust solution for online reputation management — as well as using data to drive operational changes and engage with clients. Revinate provides the technology backbone, while CoMMingle serves as the eyes, ears and mouthpiece of the hotel, monitoring conversations and posting instant replies if desired."

CoMMingle has been providing social media assistance to hundreds of hotels since 2009. The company works closely with each property to understand its goals and objectives, then crafts a strategic plan, backed by proprietary technologies and experienced social media marketers.

"Hoteliers need to understand that just because they purchase reputation management software, it can only do so much to improve communication between the property and its guests," Vallauri said. "While hotels receive a dashboard of information as to how the property and its service is perceived by travelers, it also needs to interpret that data and respond to reviews to manage their ongoing relationships with guests. That alone can get overwhelming. CoMMingle, however, is able to help."

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.

Tripadvisor banned from claiming its reviews are real – Telegraph

They argued that wording on Tripadvisor’s website – claiming that the site contained “reviews you can trust” and “honest” opinions from “real travellers” – was misleading as Tripadvisor could not prove that the reviews were genuine.

via www.telegraph.co.uk

Online Guest Reviews Gaining Momentum; Good News for Independent Hoteliers

Think guest reviews aren't that important to your ongoing web strategy? Think again. In a recent USA Today article titled "Hotel giants embracing guest reviews — good or bad," author Barbara DeLollis reports that some of the world's biggest hotel companies are adding customer reviews of their hotels to their own websites "betting that their best customers will put more faith in reviews that are on their websites because they — unlike TripAdvisor — have the ability to confirm whether a review writer really checked into that particular hotel." The good news for independent hoteliers is that an easy-to-use and extremely affordable Guest Review System is available from Lodging Interactive that enables them to mirror — and even surpass — these brand initiatives.

In the article, DeLollis reports that Starwood, Marriott and Four Seasons already have their own customer review-posting portals, and Hilton, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Radisson are in the processes of evaluating or launching programs later this year. IHG Marketing Vice President Michael Menis was referenced as saying . . . "reviews are important because they play 'an important role in helping a customer make their ultimate booking decision.'" Likewise, Hilton Senior VP of Global Online Services Chuck Sullivan, was quoted as saying: "Consumer reviews are a very positive thing. They help provide customers with a real understanding of a property. We believe that direct channels — specifically, our Web brand hotel pages — have to be seen by the guest as the ultimate source of truth."

Truth in Advertising
With so many brands either leaning towards a proprietary web-based guest review program, or already implementing one, Vallauri said consumers will soon expect it to be a standard part of every hotel's website. Lodging Interactive’s Guest Review System is leveling the playing field for independent hotels by giving them a tool that is quick to implement today and enables them to compete with the big boys while also enhancing their web strategy.

"Recent studies confirm that more than 60 percent of online shoppers and travel planners visit and seriously consider peer-written reviews prior to making their online purchase," Vallauri said. "Being able to monitor what people are saying about their individual property 24/7 is important, but enabling guest reviews to reside on your website gives hoteliers the opportunity to respond in real time to posted reviews — good or bad — thereby keeping potential problems in check.

"Through the Lodging interactive Guest Review System, any independent hotel that wants to validate and respond to reviews today can do so on their own website, and with no capital investment," he said. "Our Guest Review System makes it easy for travelers to share their reviews on Facebook with their network of friends. It's a tool that independent hoteliers need for their properties, but without the cost of development."

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