Successful Review Site Marketing Strategies and How Bad Reviews Can Impact Business

By Jennifer Dunphy Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Vayu Media | September 15, 2013

With the growing popularity of consumer-generated media and review sites, it is critical for hotels to have a strong presence on the top review sites. Good reviews can create a solid foundation for future bookings, while too many negative reviews can lead to the demise of the hotels future booking potential. Up to 70% of global consumers say that online consumer reviews are the second-most trusted form of advertising. An additional 46% of travelers post hotel reviews after their vacations. There are strategies that can be implemented to take a proactive approach to receive more positive reviews and actions that need to be taken to mitigate the backlash from any negative reviews and to restore the hotels good reputation.

In today's hyper interactive and socialized online world, there must be room in the hotels marketing budget for managing the property's online reputation on the top social media and review sites. This includes sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TripAdvisor, Air B & B, Yelp, FlipKey, BookIt and dozens of other sites. Over the last few years, online guest reviews and social media have reached an unprecedented level of awareness within the hotel industry. With Google+ Local now utilizing Zagat reviews, and Bing now incorporating Yelp reviews, you are taking quite a big risk if you are not monitoring and responding to reviews. By incorporating a strategy for managing your hotels online presence into your marketing budget, not only are you taking a proactive step in improving you online presence, you are also able to become less dependent on online travel agencies.

Where are Hoteliers Spending Their Marketing Energy?

Hoteliers are finally beginning to see the writing on the wall, with 13.4% of hoteliers having stated that social media and review optimization are among their top 10 initiatives for their hotel marketing strategy this year. So where are hoteliers spending their marketing energy this year?

While only a small percentage of hoteliers are pushing the envelope with their social media marketing and review site optimization strategy, 33% have stated that redesigning their website is a top priority, 27% are focusing on SEO, and 26% On SEM (Pay Per Click). Even with all of the advancements in digital marketing and all of the hot new ways to promote a property, 24.3% of hoteliers are still going the old school route and focusing on email marketing while 15.6% are ahead of the curve tackling exciting new opportunities with Mobile marketing, another extraordinary opportunity for Hoteliers that are early adopters.

It comes as no surprise that 12% of hoteliers pegged online video marketing as a priority, 12.3% are focusing on retargeting strategies, 15.7 on display advertising and 14% on local search marketing. While all of these marketing endeavors are worthwhile, some are more deserving of attention than others and will yield a much higher return on investment.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.