Latest Reputation Trends Impacting the Hotel Industry
By R.J. Friedlander Founder & CEO, ReviewPro | July 24, 2011
While attending The LeWeb Conference in 2005, I became convinced that user generated content would revolutionize the web. But it was not until the last few years that the implications in the hotel industry started to become evident. In fact, until just this year, hotels were not making significant investments in this area. But with feedback from the social web now affecting all hotel departments, the case for investing in reputation management is stronger than ever.
In my conversations with managers of small independent hotels to executives at some of the largest hospitality groups in the world, I have noticed a few major trends related to reputation management that are affecting the industry.
Customer service is becoming a new form of marketing
The reality is that consumers trust corporate marketing and advertising messages much less now than they did in the past. Research from Econsultancy and eMarketer indicate that people are turning to their friends and social circle for advice on purchasing decisions. If companies want their brands to be a part of these conversations, they must act in a way that inspires positive word of mouth. Clearly, the most reliable way for hotels to do this is by providing an experience that exceeds guest expectations for their stay at a given property.
Since most social media conversations are public and can be seen by anyone, this presents a marketing opportunity for your hotels. Every interaction your hotel staff has with a guest provides an opportunity to build loyalty. Since so many travelers today are sharing their thoughts online, creating a positive experience affects more than just that one guest: it can improve the perception of your brand for all others who will see what that guest shares online. And this is how service can act as marketing: by getting people to share a positive impression of what it is like to stay at your property.
Semantic analysis of online reviews is being used to improve marketing and operations