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Absence of a Guest Review System Could Land Your Hotel on the NAUGHTY List

Looking for the "gift that keeps on giving" this holiday season? A gift that gives travelers a feeling of appreciation, knowing their personal service requests have been heard? What about a gift for owners that improves the hotel's perceptions in the online marketplace and impacts purchasing decisions of future guests, resulting in a more healthy bottom line? This ideal gift is not a specialty item, nor is it a here-today/gone-tomorrow fad. It's something that 71% of travelers say they want and 68% say determines whether or not they at your hotel, according to Forrester Research and TripAdvisor. This gift is the Guest Review System available from Lodging Interactive.

Lodging Interactive's Guest Review System is hotel-based guest comment system which enables guests to post comments about their hotel experience and provides hotel management with the ability to respond in real time when reviews are received. The Guest Review System 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, travelers can share their guest reviews on their Facebook wall and to their network of friends. If the legitimacy of a negative review is in question, hoteliers can validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website, providing hotels with complete control on which reviews are made public.

Do You Hear What I Hear?
"No matter how great the service, there will always be a Scrooge ready to write a bad review," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "Oftentimes complaints are justified and demand an immediate response and resolution. Other times, the rant is simply a bad seed planted by a competitor looking to give the hotel a black eye. Nonetheless, each provides a critical opportunity for the hotel to put its best foot forward."

A 2011 Forrester study found that close to 50 percent of consumers will not book a hotel that doesn’t have online reviews. Likewise, PhocusWright reports that people who read online hotel reviews are 59 percent more likely to book. Hoteliers can't afford to ignore these statistics, yet many still do. As of August, only 32% of hotels worldwide are responding to reviews, according to a recent Tnooz article. That leaves a large universe of hoteliers who are turning a blind eye to their customers. The hotels that are engaging with guests are seeing a 6% increase in review scores (Tnooz).

"Replying to reviews gives travelers confidence that they are booking at a hotel that will take care of their needs," Vallauri said. "Even responses to negative reviews written about a hotel makes 79% of travelers feel reassured, according to Forrester researchers. In today's economy, giving guests assurance and comfort is critical to gaining market share and boosting occupancy, average daily rate, revenue per available room and the bottom line. Investing in a Guest Review System is a small price to pay for loyalty and repeat business."

The Guest Review System from Lodging Interactive is low cost and can be implemented 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. As an option, the company is staffed to reply on the hotel's behalf if staffing is an issue.

"Lodging Interactive can help hotels that may have had below average guest-satisfaction scores move from the NAUGHTY to NICE list easily while rebuilding credibility, restoring consumer confidence, and regaining lost business from third-party review sites simply by adding our Guest Review System to their websites," Vallauri said. "It's easy to win guests' over — even before they arrive — simply by posting your position about guest service, immediately fixing what may be broke, and saying 'thank you' to those who complement you for a job well done."

The following are the Top 10 Rants and Raves in 2012 based on a survey of 1 million guest reviews that landed hotels on either the NAUGHTY or NICE list as reported on Tnooz:

 NAUGHTY
  1. Unprofessional/incompetent service (11,785 mentions)
  2. Small room (8,669 mentions)
  3. Expensive/overpriced (8,390 mentions)
  4. Tasteless, bad breakfast (8,243 mentions)
  5. Bad food (5,956 mentions)
  6. Dirty room (5,439 mentions)
  7. Unfriendly service (5,123 mentions)
  8. Bad bathroom (4,600 mentions)
  9. Bad service (4,266 mentions)
 10. Loud, noisy room (4,123 mentions)

  NICE
  1. Friendly, professional, efficient service (103,440 mentions)
  2. Great, well-situated location (98,668 mentions)
  3. Good room (40,191 mentions)
  4. Great food (42,868 mentions)
  5. Great breakfast (41,356 mentions)
  6. Clean room/hotel (27,513 mentions)
  7. Large room (23,867 mentions)
  8. Good, affordable price (23,292 mentions)
  9. Good bed (11,369 mentions)
 10. Nice view (9,147 mentions)

"Travelers have no problem telling the world what they like and don't like about your hotel," Vallauri said. "It's important that hoteliers take the NICE approach to their response: 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 each guest a way to stay in touch with management, and invite further feedback."

Hoteliers Take Control Of Guest Reviews For Less Than $65 Per Month

In a recent Wall Street Journal Article titled "Big Flaws in Hotel Rankings," it was said that "influencing reviews and ratings is a time-honored tradition in the hotel and restaurant industries." After about five years of printing reader letters about hotels in the 1960s, travel-guidebook legend Arthur Frommer said he realized that hotels were writing letters about themselves. "Hotels are so dependent on reviews that of course they will generate their own," Frommer said. "They would be crazy not to." As for online reviews, which have replaced guidebooks for many travelers, Mr. Frommer has disdain. "It's a vast buzzing, blooming confusion."

Lodging Interactive, an interactive and social media marketing agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry, has designed a way to remove this "blooming confusion" from the "buzzing," online marketing/social media equation. The company's Guest Review System sits on a hotel's proprietary website and enables travelers to post comments and score 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.

"The impact that guest review sites are having today on consumers buying decisions is off the charts — just look at the rapid growth of TripAdvisor and its competitors Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, Orbitz and Hotels.com," said DJ Vallauri, Lodging Interactive Founder and President. "The rise in review-site popularity — and their associated challenges — has spurred some of the large brands, such as Starwood and Marriott, to migrate the review process to their proprietary websites. This is good for the industry overall. With the brands leading the way, soon hotels of all sizes and across all segments will follow suit, leveling the playing field for hotels worldwide and making the industry more competitive and more in control of their reputations. Hotels that want to jump on the bandwagon but don't know how or where to start, can easily and affordably turn to Lodging Interactive."

All that is required for a hotel to get up-and-running is a snippet of code attached to their Website. Once initiated, hotels can immediately begin collecting real-time reviews on their own websites and respond to customer concerns in real time. This empowers hoteliers to interact personally with valued customers. When guests take the time to post their experiences, their time, effort and patronage should be recognized and rewarded with an immediate reply. 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.

"Third-party review sites do have merit when they make interaction between the reviewer and hotel possible — but that's not often the case," Vallauri said. "As hotels strive to deliver the ultimate customer service today, adding a proprietary Guest Review System raises the bar for service delivery and gives operators the ability to really sell their hotels. With direct bookings on a continual climb industrywide, adding this service to the hotel's website is the next evolution in website optimization and improved customer relations."

As an added benefit of the Guest Review System, travelers are encouraged 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.

FREE GRS Trial
Lodging Interactive is offering a free trial of its Guest Review System. There is no contract to sign and hotels can cancel anytime. When the trial concludes, hotels can maintain the service for about $60 per month with no long-term agreements and the ability to cancel at any time.

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

Google flight search breaks vow, Expedia says

"Google Inc. is breaking a promise it made to antitrust regulators who approved its purchase of ITA Software Inc. this year by ranking its new flight information service ahead of competitors, according to Expedia Inc.

Google, which introduced its own flight search service Sept. 13, “excludes any link to online travel agencies, which are key options for comparison shopping,’’ according to testimony by Tom Barnett, Expedia’s outside counsel, prepared for delivery today at a Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing on Google’s business practices on the Internet."

via boston.com – read full article

TripAdvisor upset over lost Google traffic

"TripAdvisor, whose top source of traffic is Google, acknowledged that its traffic from Google dropped by more than 10%, on a seasonally adjusted basis, since mid-October – just before Google announced the latest change to the way its search engine shows information about local businesses."

via www.hotelmarketing.com

TripAdvisor: Why hoteliers always get the last word

"Are hoteliers being whiners when it comes to TripAdvisor or is the system truly flawed? Daniel Edward Craig talked to TripAdvisor co-founder and CEO Stephen Kaufer for his perspective. Here he talks candidly about why TripAdvisor will continue to allow anonymous reviews and why hoteliers always get the last word."

via www.hotelmarketing.com

TripAdvisor traffic up 60%

"TripAdvisor has experienced tremendous growth in site
traffic, with more than 40 million unique monthly visitors, according to
comScore Media Metrix July worldwide numbers for TripAdvisor sites, up
60 percent from the beginning of the year. TripAdvisor additionally
features 20 million registered members, up from 15 million in January
2010.

TripAdvisor, already the world’s largest travel site,
celebrates becoming the first travel brand to have more than 40 million
unique visitors in one month."

Read more www.hotelmarketing.com

TripAdvisor launches “Reviews at a Glance”

"TripAdvisor's new feature summarizes the most frequent review phrases
for hotels with the a large number of reviews on TripAdvisor. The
feature gives travelers a new way to quickly browse the pros and cons of
a particular property, making it faster and easier to get the world’s
most trusted travel advice."

Read more www.hotelmarketing.com