For years now, travelers have been able to share their feedback in real-time through online reviews and social media posts. With the reach of Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Google, reviews both good and bad will fly at record speed around the world. This 24/7 feedback cycle creates a sense of immediacy for all business owners but hotel managers in particular need to stay ahead of them. Responding in real-time is not hoped for – it’s expected. This can be overwhelming without a plan. Utilize these four proactive and reactive methods to make the most of customer feedback:
- Engage with online reviews. Hospitality managers should monitor their hotel’s online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Yelp, and Google. While thanking reviewers for their positive feedback is a best practice, engaging with negative reviews is imperative – but only if it’s done without getting defensive. Reacting to negative feedback from a solution-oriented standpoint has the potential to deflect what would be a negative situation into a neutral or even positive one. By interacting directly with online reviews, hotels can provide an exceptional level of customer service for all to see while also helping protect their reputation. Be sure to thank the person for their review even if it’s negative. It’s all feedback and can be learned from to enhance your business and your guests’ experience. Address their issue publicly along with a solution you plan to put in place. Always be humble and never make excuses. Even if they are real, people don’t care about why – they just care about how you’re going to fix it.
- Send an in-stay survey. Rather than wait for feedback, consider a more proactive approach by sharing a brief in-stay survey via text or email. Similar to the staff asking, “How is everything going with your stay?” these surveys provide a channel for direct, easy-to-monitor feedback that also allows for improvement during the stay. In-stay surveys help prevent many issues from becoming public on social media or trip review sites – but only if you’re monitoring the responses and addressing the issues immediately. Doing this could get you a positive review at the end instead of finding out after that they were unhappy.
- Have your partners on-call. Regardless of how you collect feedback, be ready to fix the problem at hand. Having your maintenance, HVAC, and pest control partners on-call helps bring about solutions faster. With an on-call team, your hotel sets a precedent for addressing customer feedback swiftly and shows dedication and immediacy that customers will notice. It could turn a possible negative review about a problem into a positive one about how quickly the problem was dealt with.
- Stop potential problems before they become issues. Yes, it’s great to have a reliable and efficient on-call team, but it’s even better to solve issues before your guests even notice them. By performing maintenance tasks and pest control regularly, you help to reduce your instances of big, overwhelming issues that negatively impact your customer experience. Bed bugs are an issue in all hotels so having a canine detection team come in to inspect will catch just one bed bug (even just one bed bug egg) so you can treat before anyone knew there was a problem. Scenting services can also create a calm environment as well as neutralize pest-attracting and guest-deterring odors. It’s an easy one to add that can have a large impact.
Following these four easy steps will help your hotel stay on top of the trends by utilizing customer feedback in real-time. As a reminder, make sure to turn on all notifications for any site your hotel may be mentioned. Check your junk mail and make sure they don’t get stuck there. That way, you will be alerted of any review that mentions your name. You can also create a Google alert for your hotel’s name and location. That will help you see them immediately as well.