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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.

The Hotel Industry: A Global Year in Review

"For most industries, 2010 was a time of challenge, recovery and hope, as  many finally started to see a light at the end of the tunnel after what was likely the worst economic crisis of our time. For the hotel industry, it wasn't just the U.S. that has been slowly regaining momentum in sales and profits. In fact, markets around the world, including Europe and Asia, have seen vast improvements in hotel occupancy, rates and RevPAR, indicating great hope for the new year."

Read entire article by Jean Francois Mourier on www.ehotelier.com

U.S. hotel outlook uncertainty begins to dissipate

"The recovery of the U.S. lodging industry continues to improve, buoyed by a sustained expansion in the demand for hotel rooms across the country. Accordingly, Colliers PKF Hospitality Research has edged up its forecasts for U.S. hotel performance for 2010 and re-affirmed the outlook for 2011."

Read more via www.hotelmarketing.com