Online Reputation Management - How Important Is It Really?

By Jane Coloccia President & Chief Creative Officer, JC Communications, LLC | February 09, 2014

If you're keeping abreast of hot topics in hotel trade publications and at industry conferences, you'll notice there is quite a lot of chatter about online reputation management. Some hoteliers seem to be fixated on what guests are saying about them on TripAdvisor, Facebook, and in OTA review columns; others display a modicum of concern and wonder if they should be doing anything about them; and then there is a group that frankly, just doesn't give a damn. So where do YOU fall?

There was a time when all you had to worry about with regard to the reputation of your hotel was the actual physical appearance of the property, the professionalism of your staff, efficiency of operations, how your brochure and collateral materials looked, and what bona fide journalists said about you. Then the worldwide web arrived and opened up a new can of worms. Suddenly you needed to think about a website presence, then it had to have a booking engine, e-mail marketing was rearing its ugly head, and not being a technologically savvy bunch, hoteliers seemed quite overwhelmed.

Fast forward to circa 2014, and now there are all of these social media sites to contend with. But in the grand scheme of things, they don't really matter right?

Dead Wrong

The White House Office of Consumer Affairs reports that "A dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people."

A decade or two ago, a guest would come stay at your hotel and have a bad experience with a dirty room or a surly front desk clerk. Maybe they would complain to you, perhaps they would tell their spouse when they got home if the situation was still bothering them. And then MAYBE it would come up in party conversation a week later when a friend inquired about their trip.

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