User-Generated Customer Reviews for Hospitality Brands
Online reviews are an extremely valuable tool for hospitality brands to leverage their customers’ success stories into effective brand reputation management. Positive user-generated reviews are gold and should be used to promote brand awareness through various channels including social media, reputable travel review sites, newsletters, promotional emails, websites, and blogs. We’ll help you understand some of these various channels and how to harness the power of these reviews to benefit your brand.
Set Up an Easy Way for Your Customers to Post Their Reviews
One of the most important things to consider when setting up your customer review process is: how easy is it for them? The faster and easier the review process, the more success you will have in generating new reviews. This is especially true for positive reviews.
When a customer is happy with their experience, they often consider leaving a review. However, this does not always come to fruition. When they get back home, inevitably something comes up, and following through with their best intentions may never actually happen. Conversely, when a customer is upset about their experience, they are often more motivated to leave feedback in the form of a review.
So, what’s the best way to capitalize on the satisfied customer?
Here’s what you can do to positively reinforce your customer to leave a review. Send your customers an email asking for a review while they are still staying with you. Additionally, gently ask them for a review while they are at checkout or have a computer set up specifically for them to do so.
This might also give them a forum to voice any negative feedback verbally, which allows your staff to address this immediately and hopefully, resolve it before a negative review is submitted online. It may also give your staff an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Reviews
Posting user-generated customer reviews on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is an excellent way to continually add new engaging content for both your current and potential customers. This is an extremely valuable strategy to help leverage these reviews to grow your brand and reinforce a positive reputation.
Make sure to include social media share buttons on your website and or blog. This will enable your customers to essentially do the heavy lifting for you. While they may be sharing their personal experiences with those in their network, they are also simultaneously helping you promote your brand.
Post Your Best Reviews Front and Center
This may seem obvious, but only because it holds great value. Post some of the best, unedited customer reviews and testimonials in a visible place on your website. You want new visitors to see these reviews and start to associate your brand with the type of feedback that these types of reviews are displaying.
This tactic is too often overlooked. So, don’t make that mistake. Be sure that the first experience a new visitor has with your brand is a positive review, from a customer just like them.
Newsletters and Promotional Emails
Sending out newsletters and promotional emails containing customer reviews is also a very effective way to promote these reviews. It’s important to make the emails and newsletters pop. People receive so much promotional information through these channels, from many different sources, that you need to make sure yours stands out and peaks their interest. These are great ways to promote your brand and showcase your stellar customer reviews at the same time
Set Up a Free Account with TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is a great tool to find unbiased reviews. Many travelers use this resource to better understand what kind of experiences others have had and what to expect from a certain property. It is one of the most commonly used review forums for American travelers.
Once you get a listing, you can also set up a free business account. This account will allow you to respond to customer reviews, as well as update your information and promote your listing. Enlist someone on your team to respond to any reviews, positive or negative, promptly.
All Reviews Can Help
Embrace all types of user-generated reviews. With the right strategy, you can use both positive and negative reviews to your advantage. Glowing reviews are incredibly useful to growing trust in your brand. But the occasional negative review can also be useful, if you respond and address it in a timely and empathetic manner.
By responding to the review, it shows you are vested in more than just the customer’s experience while they are at your location, but also their lasting impression. If in their review, they list a specific problem, take responsibility for it. Make sure they understand you are aware of the problem, and the effect it had for their specific circumstance. And, if an apology is warranted, give one.
Next, explain what measures you are taking to prevent similar issues from happening in the future, or reasons why the problem will not occur again. Finally, if there is an opportunity to resolve the situation for them immediately, or extend some sort of incentive or refund to them, do so.
Customers want to see that you care about their experience, and by attempting to resolve the issue or at least understand it more accurately, the customer will often feel like their concerns are being heard. What will be far more damaging to your brand reputation is receiving a negative review, and saying or doing nothing. The lack of response conveys the opposite message to prospective customers, that you simply do not care.
For more information on How to Use Digital Technology in the Hospitality Industry, check out our blog: 5 Big Ideas to Master Digital in Hospitality.