Increase Your Brand Reputation by Listening to Social Content

By Jeff Catlin Co-Founder and CEO, Lexalytics, Inc | September 27, 2015

Your brand reputation translates directly into higher revenue, and nowhere is brand reputation influenced more than online. What is important to understand is that reviews are only one place where brand and experiences are being shared.Get too focused on them, and you miss the off-the-cuff tweet about a great meal, or a complaint to friends about a bed that's too hard, or a pool that needs some work.

This social currency, online reputation, directly influences a hotelier's sales volume: good reputation, higher sales - poor reputation, lower sales. The upshot is that in the hospitality industry, increasing your reputation (and revenue) means listening to social content and basing your business decisions on the feedback you receive from guests. And I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but remember that good reputation isn't just for high-end establishments. There's a lot to be said for value for money, and smaller, more modest establishments can often gain the most from careful management of their online reputation.

An article recently featured on Customer Experience Report encourages a focus on Return on Experience, rather than Return on Investment. This customer-centric viewpoint represents an excellent perspective to adopt; the genesis of any revenue increase is found in an upswing in customer satisfaction, and that satisfaction culminates from favorable experiences with your brand. Depending on your brand, and the "emotional expectations" of your brand, you may just need to ensure that everything is in order, or you may be called on to make this a truly special, personalize experience.

How, then, should you accomplish this? In an earlier article I discussed big data and text mining, and their myriad applications to the hospitality industry: for Customer Experience Management (CEM), text mining is the first step. The Internet is an ocean of information, and text mining tools are the trawlers whose nets gather what's relevant to your enterprise so you can act upon it. First and foremost in any CEM solution, you must hear; you can't expect to make informed decisions without first hearing from your customers. Along with the standard "review card at the front desk" – encourage your guests to tweet. Give them an @handle or hashtag to use. You can have fun with this - #summerstay or something topical. It is important, though, to make sure that if you have an @handle for them to talk to, that you actually do respond to questions and comments that come across Twitter.

As the buzz and budget permits, implement a Social Media Monitoring solution to analyze your position. SMM systems gather brand mentions from reviews, Twitter, Facebook, forums, and just about anywhere else on the Internet - the information gleaned from this text paints a vivid picture of your hotel's place in the social media web. Analyzing this social content will reveal actionable details to help you answer three key questions:

  • Who is talking about my competitors and me?
  • What specifically are they talking about?
  • How do they feel about it?
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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.