Looking Beyond TripAdvisor and Online Surveys

Why You Should Listen to More Than 3% of Your Customers

By Felix Boos Co-Founder & Director, FeedbackNow | February 12, 2017

Co-authored by Julius Jung, Co-Founder, FeedbackNow USA

Are you approaching customer feedback reactively, trying to patch up holes in order to prevent damage to your reputation? Or, are you using it as a source of information to help you become more profitable? If the latter, then you need to know and understand the different channels for feedback, and select and combine them according to your needs.

The tools to measure customer experience and satisfaction are key success drivers for your business, but in many cases, these tools are not used to their full potential. Service-driven businesses must optimize their way of listening to their customers in order to receive timely and objective feedback. This helps toward improving customer experience and, in turn, your business' profitability.

The Purchasing Decisions of New and Existing Customers

Since the rise of the internet and social media, our businesses--and their reputations--have become more transparent. From services to consumer goods, a multitude of media platforms are available that provide access to crowd-sourced reviews and ratings. Customers can rate your business' quality of service and performance with a few simple clicks, and they can share it with the world. For potential customers, this transparency holds many benefits and has become a major factor in individual purchase decisions.

Studies have shown that 90% of customers new to a business or product will use online reviews to decide which service or product to buy. That still leaves 10% who will base their decision on their attachment to your brand, or on firsthand feedback from friends, family, and colleagues. But what about the other side of the equation, your existing customers? In service-driven businesses, the customer experience is more important than ever before. When deciding to stay at your hotel again or not, a returning hotel guest will rely on their experience from their previous stay rather than on online ratings. It's important to capture the loyalty of existing customers who will repeat business with you and who will also influence new customers who rely on their reviews and firsthand experiences.

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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.