How to Drive Word of Mouth Recommendations
By Robert Patterson Vice President of Content & Social Strategy, MMGY Global | February 26, 2012
The Importance of Word of Mouth
According to the 2011 Portrait of American TravelersSM, a national survey of 2,539 U.S. households, family and friends were selected as the top source of information for "Ideas and Inspiration" (52%) and "Insights and Advice" (54%) when making travel service purchase decisions.
The conclusion is significant: no form of media is more powerful than human relationships. The influence of personal recommendations may trump your marketing efforts, but that does not mean you can't positively affect consumer behavior and attitudes. Influencing consumer word of mouth is a powerful tactic hoteliers must adopt to ensure long-term success.
Create a Culture of "Wow"
A satisfied guest is one whose basic expectations have been met. They paid for a hotel room and they got a hotel room. Transaction complete. Merely satisfying a guest's expectation is not going to lead to word of mouth recommendations. To influence guests to become your advocates, you need to exceed their expectations with "wow" moments.
Creating "wow" moments requires a culture of happiness embraced from the top down. From the general manager of the property to the newest hire, guest elation needs to become your property's mantra. This is not news. Every successful hotel knows that customer service can make lifetime customers or public relation nightmares. However, in practice, many hoteliers miss the mark and settle for status quo satisfaction.