97% of people look at reviews before shopping with a local business. That staggering number is why, when we are contacted by a new customer, we often ask them the following true or false question during their initial consultation: "Managing your online reputation means reading and responding to reviews on websites like TripAdvisor, both positive and negative."
For those who respond with an answer of “False” we know that a little bit of education and coaching is likely in store.
How Important is Responding to Reviews Online?
Engaging with your online audience through the use of management responses is certainly important and we have spent and will continue to spend a lot of time talking about the value of management responses in other blog posts. But this is just one of several action items that should be part of a comprehensive reputation management strategy.
Management responses present value in engagement, and while it is said that Response Time might play a factor in the algorithm of OTA (online travel agency) websites, responses on sites like TripAdvisor do little to drive your business up the popularity index.
In order to fully maximize the online reputation of your hotel or restaurant, business leaders should:
Past and future guests certainly want to see that you are invested in the feedback that is shared. By responding to reviews with unique, timely and meaningful management responses, you tick that box.
What good is feedback if it’s not used to find opportunities to elevate the guest experience even further? Tools like Revinate or TrustYou provide tremendous amounts of information by compiling data from your past reviews so your business can make impactful changes.
Compare and Monitor
What was the average TripAdvisor score for your business last month? How did that compare to others in your competitive set? How did it compare to those hotels or restaurants which are just behind you or just above you on the popularity index? How consistent was it to last month or the previous six months?
Elevate Scores and Reviews
Once the past information has been studied, develop a strategy and Action Items aimed at increasing your overall score moving forward. If the number of reviews your business earns is not in par with your competitors, find opportunities to drive more guest feedback by responding to reviews and carrying out other impactful strategies.
Recognize that this is a Team Effort
Driving results like those you are aiming for cannot be accomplished by just one person. This needs to be a discussion in your business every day, this needs to be part of your culture and your team members need to understand why it is important and how they can impact and contribute to your collective success.
Don’t let a day go by where your online reputation is not a focal point within your business. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and generating results takes consistency and time.
The Virtues of Asking for Help
While many hotels and restaurants have welcoming colleagues who thrive on making each guest feel special, and leadership teams which excel in sales, marketing, revenue generation and operations, there is often a struggle in identifying the appropriate resources to manage online reputation, responding to reviews and related tasks. If your business has ever outsourced Social Media, Public Relations or Graphic Design, there is no reason to be adverse to exploring a partnership with a Reputation Management Agency which guarantees you daily eyes, ears and hands focused on this evolution every day.
Responding to reviews and making adjustments to the business based on what those reviews have shared is certainly critical, but these are the reactive points that must be managed. A comprehensive approach includes these imperative tasks, as well as a proactive strategy.
At The Reputation Lab, we work with hotels and restaurants to facilitate a reputation management strategy aimed at increasing online visibility, engaging your customers, and converting more shoppers to future guests and revenue producers. If you are interested in learning how a reputation management strategy can benefit your business, we invite you to email us via our secure contact form to set up a no pressure consultation or call us at 855-979-6800.