It’s no secret that online reputation management is absolutely essential for travel and tourism brands. Not only does it serve as a means to advertise and attract new customers, it also measures guest satisfaction and points out any areas of weakness in service.
Travel & Tourism brands have taken notice - in a TripAdvisor survey of over 10,000 travel businesses worldwide, online reputation management came out as a top investment priority - outranking renovations, marketing, training and tech!
Your Customers' Google Search Is Extremely Important
When a customer searches your brand on Google or looks into your social media profiles, the results will inevitably have an overwhelming influence on their opinions and whether they choose to book you or not.
Large review websites such as TripAdvisor and social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter show up prominently in search results, sometimes even ahead of your own website in listings. Furthermore, research by Deloitte found that 59% of consumers say that review sites and social media have the most influence on their booking decisions. These trends are only continuing to grow in 2018.
Here’s how to manage your online presence in 2018:
1. Manage Customer Expectations
Provide a full and accurate description online of the properties, services and experiences that your customers will enjoy when they book with you.
These descriptions set the expectation that your customers will have. For example, if you notice that customers frequently comment on the size of your hotel rooms, you may want to update your description to let customers know that rooms are smaller and cozy.
2. Automate Monitoring
You should be on top of all the mentions of your brand, on both social media, review sites and any PR your brand might be getting. Online tools makes this easy! Use Google Alerts to setup an automated email whenever your brand is mentioned. Hootsuite makes monitoring social media incredibly easy.
3. Verify ALL Online Properties
Even if you haven’t registered your business on online review websites, chances are it’s still there and customers are adding content, descriptions and reviews themselves. It’s important that you verify yourself as the manager of ALL online properties (most of the time this will involve a phone call or postcard being sent to your address).
As a manager you will have access to all features and be able to control important information such as opening hours and other business information.
4. Be Present On All Platforms
It’s important that customers can reach you wherever they choose - having active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the minimum can be the difference of a person choosing to book with you or booking with a competitor.
5. Automate Requests for Feedback
At the end of your customer’s experience, consider an automated email that asks for customer feedback on your review websites. If your brand isn’t ready to invest in automation, a personal note can go even further. Some review platforms will send these emails automatically when a customer books your services with them.
6. Respond to Feedback
Responding to both positive and negative feedback is important to build a lasting relationship with customers and to encourage new customers to come.
Responding to negative feedback allows you to apologize for an experience that did not live up to your brand promise, and also allows you show the customer and future customers who may read the review that your brand cares about service and is making a change.
7. Bring The Online Experience In Person
Make sure you are mentioning online review websites and social media in person with signage and business cards where appropriate. These serve as extra reminder cues to leave reviews and continue to interact with your brand.
8. Add Reviews And Social Media Badges To Your Website
Add review badges and social media icons to your website so that your customers know where to find you. You can even consider allowing customers to write a review for you directly on your website. Reviews on your website can show up directly in search results and help with your SEO.
9. Recognize and Reward Staff
Amazing! You got a great review and one of your staff was called out by a customer for delivering a fantastic experience. Make sure to recognize and reward that staff member as well as continue to highlight the importance of the online experience to all staff.
10. Take Action Where Needed
When an issue with service or any aspect of your customer’s experience is brought to attention on any platform (in person or online), it’s important that it’s addressed and fixed immediately. If one customer finds issue it’s likely that more will as well. Make sure that your management team takes reviews seriously and fosters and culture of change and improvement.