Optimizing User Feedback

By Jerry Tarasofsky CEO, iPerceptions Inc. | January 27, 2012

Your site could and should encourage feedback from your users. It makes sense to hear what people have to say. The more you listen, the sooner you can create a user experience that really connects.

Feedback is particularly important for the marketing team working on your site. They need to listen carefully to their audience. They need to understand what your users want and what they need in order to understand what upsets or pleases them. After all, if you don't know whom you are talking to, how on earth do you know what to say to them?

At the end of the day the key objective of most web sites in the hospitality sector is help boost revenues as an alternate reservation channel or to support and enhance the organizations marketing and advertising efforts as well as strengthen the organization's relationship with its customers. And because relationships are dynamic, what web site users need today to build a strong relationship with your hotel may be different from that of tomorrow.

By continuously listening to and responding to what users like and don't like about your property and/or its e-commerce media, a strong relationship is created that turns users into repeat customers and repeat customers into loyal advocates - in effect, your users become "in the trenches" visionaries for your hotel as well as advance scouts and pro bono consultants so to speak.

The key to building such loyalty is not only discovering these previously invisible connectors, but also knowing how to use them to increase the bond between the organization and the user. The deeper the bond, the greater the value each brings to the relationship, and the stronger the brand.

When organizations regard users as long-term assets, they maximize this exchange of value. By listening to users, responding to them and collaborating on what the relationship means from their point of view, an organization not only increases the web site's ROI, it gains other valuable benefits such as user advocacy, brand loyalty and trust.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.