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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.