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Are you monitoring your main source of influence or burying your head in the sand?

Steven Pike

Media monitoring and social listening are paramount to brand building and reputation management. By having eyes and ears on what people are saying about you, you can make the necessary operational changes and improvements before issues escalate. In the hospitality world, the main source of consumer influence is, undoubtedly, online reviews. But are operators doing enough to manage and monitor them?

If you were to sit down all your guests and ask what influenced them in visiting your establishment, I’d be prepared to stick my neck out and say that almost all of them will mention one of the review sites.

To be fair, the statistics are very much in my favour. According to Dimensional Research, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. Guests’ faith in review sites is unwavering – 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, according to a BrightLocal survey. And positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.

Right, that’s enough stats.

What I’m trying to say is that online reviews can be the defining factor in the success of your business. So, it’s crucial that you’re managing and monitoring your reviews effectively.

We’ve all seen Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Hell / Kitchen Nightmares and wondered “How on earth have they allowed it to get to this?”. Often, the owners of the business in question have buried their heads in the sand and refused to see any of issues that are turning guests off.

Failing to monitor your online reviews effectively is tantamount to burying your head in the sand. Monitoring reviews enables you to spot trends and weaknesses in your service before potential new guests do, so that you respond and make the necessary improvements in a timely manner, before the issues start to define you.

To spot trends, however, you need actionable insights. Just like sites such as TripAdvisor aggregate reviews, you need to find a way of collecting all your reviews in one place so that you can make an accurate assessment of your performance.

Reviews now come from various sources, not just TripAdvisor – we’re increasingly seeing more reviews coming from the online booking services, such as OpenTable – so it’s important that you spread your net wide and capture as many guest experiences as possible.

The focus shouldn’t entirely be on the negative reviews and comments, either. Sometimes it can feel like a bit of a battleground trying to respond to unhappy guests, but it’s just as important to celebrate success.

Continuous improvement is crucial to ongoing success – as well as identifying any shortcomings in your service, monitoring reviews should be about recognising what you do well, so that you keep on doing it.

If you’re part of a group of hotels or restaurants, why not use online reviews to create a sense of competition? The team that comes out on top each month could be rewarded in some way, perhaps?

The review sites don’t tend to make it easy to do month-by-month analysis – it’s often difficult to say which team or branch performed the best or made the most improvement.

That’s why we’ve created The Hub. The Hub is a Guest Experience Management (GEM) platform, designed to help busy managers quickly benchmark their performance. Using a range of guest experience measures, such as social reviews, surveys and mystery guest assessments, managers can easily identify actions for team development and business improvement.

Want to learn more about how The Hub can help you? Watch a video here or get in touch today on 01225 470999 or email enquiries@hgem.com

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