The Best (and Worst) Responses to Online Hotel Reviews

By Stuart Butler Chief Operating Officer, Fuel Travel | February 24, 2019

Have you ever had a hotel experience that was so remarkable and unexpected that you wanted to pass on your appreciation to the staff? Or, on the flipside, have you ever had an experience so bad that you wanted to tell the whole world to stay away from the offending property?

In my many travels, I have certainly had both. And I like to take both my praise and concerns to the staff in-person. More often than not, the manager's reaction -- dropping what he or she is doing to accept praise on behalf of her staff or dodging or downplaying a customer's complaint -- reflects the property's culture and how they view the importance of each individual guest.

While I like the in-person approach to share my accommodations experiences, many guests turn to online forums to share their good, bad and downright ugly feelings. And these online interactions also demonstrate how the property views the concerns of their unhappy or satisfied guests -- both to the guest leaving the review and all potential future guests.

To illustrate my point, here are some examples of real property responses:

Review 1: Stamford Plaza Brisbane

A guest who had previously stayed at the property was assigned a room next to the service elevator. After hours of interrupted sleep, the guest contacted the front desk and asked to move rooms. The staff member was less than accommodating and made the guest feel like they were a nuisance. Despite the fact that the problem was resolved, the staff member created a bigger problem by displaying a poor attitude.

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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.