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    13 October 2023

    Hotel Reputation Management: 7 Tips for A Good Online Review Strategy

    Hotel reputation management

    As hoteliers, you know that the foundation of your success lies in providing top-notch service and creating memorable experiences for your guests.

    But in today's digital age, it's equally important to manage your online presence effectively. This is where hotel reputation management comes into play.

    In this article, we'll explore how you can take control of your online reputation and leverage it to your advantage. Let's dive in and start creating a robust hotel management strategy! 

    What is Hotel Reputation Management?

    To begin, let's explore the concept of 'hotel reputation management'. This term refers to the strategies and tools used to monitor hotel online brand perception. It allows hoteliers to oversee, respond to, and enhance the way their property, service, and brand are perceived in the digital landscape.

    Implementing initiatives to improve your hotel's reputation directly contributes to elevating visibility, attracting new and repeat bookings, and ensuring a consistent revenue stream.

    Within our industry, one of the most important reputation management techniques is online review management, which we'll delve into throughout this article. Learn more about creating an effective hotel reputation strategy with a focus on leveraging reviews and addressing them.

    Why Are Reviews Vital in the Hospitality Industry?

    Before we dive into the details, it's worth mentioning some key findings from a TripAdvisor study regarding the importance of reviews and how to handle them.

    This study revealed that 79% of surveyed users preferred accommodations with higher ratings when comparing two identical options. Additionally, at least 81% of travellers always or frequently read reviews before booking accommodations.

    These insights are especially encouraging for small and independent hotels, as they serve as a reminder of how your property can shine without the support of a well-known hotel chain. By encouraging guests to leave reviews about your property and implementing an structured procedure for handling them, you can make a significant difference.

    While you may not have full control over what people say about your hotel online, it doesn't mean you can't shape the narrative. There are various tactics to help you stay informed about what's being said about your property online and turn these comments into opportunities that align with your interests. Keep reading and discover some of the main techniques we recommend.

    1. Streamline Your Approach with Automated Feedback Surveys

    Rather than simply receiving and handling reviews, actively ask your guests for feedback via automated messages containing a customer satisfaction survey. 

    Guests tend to be more open about their experiences when directly invited to provide feedback. This approach allows you to gather honest input, which you can then share on your website or social media profiles —with the guest's permission.

    What's even more relevant is that by implementing this initiative, you have the opportunity to address any unsatisfactory experiences before they lead to negative online reviews.

    2. Monitor Your Online Reputation

    Now, it's time to discover what your guests say about their stays at your property. Begin by identifying the key websites and platforms where guests can leave comments about your hotel. These typically include Google Reviews, TripAdvisor and (if your guests have booked through an OTA), among others.

    Additionally, it's beneficial to search your property's name on Google to identify other websites featuring your hotel, beyond the commonly known platforms. This will provide a clearer picture of the online landscape you should monitor.

    Without a doubt, Google is one of the first places your clients turn to when seeking guest reviews. Keep an eye on these reviews and respond promptly as they appear. Google reviews significantly influence users' decisions to visit your website and eventually book.

    Moreover, did you know you can set up alerts for new reviews? This is crucial for addressing reviews as soon as they're posted, especially the negative ones. There are free tools to assist you with this task. For example, Google Alerts allows you to monitor mentions of your brand or company. It tracks keywords and provides email summaries of search activity around specific terms. Simply go to Google Alerts and enter your name.

    There are also reputation management tools that streamline your monitoring process. Here are some useful tools to help you in this task, with some being free and others requiring a small fee:

    • Review response tools like Reputology allow you to monitor and respond to online reviews from a single dashboard.

    • Review collectors such as Swell automatically reach out to your guests with customisable invitations to leave a review on a platform of your choice.

    • Listening tools like Mention help track online discussions about your hotel happening on various platforms.

    Consider adding a reviews module to your website so that users can easily access and read about others' experiences. You can synchronise it with the latest reviews from Google, TripAdvisor, and other platforms, or manually select which ones to display.

    Besides, creating a dedicated landing page for guest testimonials and reviews can significantly enhance your website's trustworthiness and SEO.

    3. Regularly Respond to All Reviews

    In the TripAdvisor report mentioned above, 65% of users prefer hotels that respond to reviews, and 85% are more impressed by hotels after reading a manager's thoughtful response to a negative comment.

    The way reviews are handled provides valuable insights into how much a business cares about its guests' feedback. Apart from the quality of your responses, the timing of your responses matters.

    Maintaining a consistent approach and providing regular responses is a significant part of managing your hotel's online reputation. Timely responses help you address problems promptly, such as maintenance issues or guest concerns.

    Additionally, it offers the opportunity to turn negative feedback into a positive one. Guests appreciate it when companies take their complaints seriously, and addressing their concerns quickly can lead to satisfied guests who may even revise their negative comments.

    Therefore, allocate a few minutes each day or week to review these platforms and see what your clients say about your property. 

    4. Streamline Your Responses with Templates

    Consider creating templates for responses to both positive and negative reviews. Often, there's a tendency to prioritise negative comments while neglecting positive ones. However, it's equally important to acknowledge and express gratitude for positive comments, as it shows appreciation.

    You or your staff can keep these templates accessible in your management system or in the cloud for quick reference. Nevertheless, it's worthwhile to customise the template for each guest's feedback to demonstrate that you've read and appreciate their specific comments. Using the same response for multiple reviews can seem impersonal and insincere.

    Here are some recommendations to help you structure your hotel review responses.

    For all cases:

    • Express appreciation for the guest's feedback.

    • Use courteous and professional language.

    • Address the guest by their username/name, rather than using a generic 'Dear guest'.


    For positive reviews:

    • Reiterate the compliment the guest gave, reinforcing why the hotel is an excellent choice for other readers.

    • Encourage the guest to return and stay at the hotel again.


    For negative reviews:

    • Offer solutions to address guest complaints and offer genuine apologies.

    • Address each concern with respect and without a passive-aggressive tone.

    • Reiterate one key point from the review for the benefit of other readers.

    • Acknowledge where the guest's experience fell short and explain the steps taken or planned to prevent a similar situation in the future.

    • Remember, avoid getting defensive. It appears unprofessional and unwelcoming to see rude or defensive replies from business owners or managers. While some reviews may be unfair or biased, constructive criticism can often be found within them. Use these as valuable learning lessons to enhance your service and team.

    5. Ensure a Consistent Brand Tone

    It's crucial to maintain a consistent tone when responding to reviews, which can be challenging when multiple individuals are involved in the process. To avoid inconsistencies, designate specific individuals to handle online reviews. Train them with your brand's tone of voice and provide guidelines for escalating issues to the appropriate department when necessary.

    6. Enhance Your Online Visibility

    Your hotel's content should appear prominently in search results when potential guests search for your hotel on Google or other search engines. Achieving high rankings in search results enhances your website's visibility and allows you to make a strong first impression on potential guests.

    To secure these top positions, consider investing resources in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to boost your direct channel. Ensure that your website's information is up-to-date and compelling, encouraging users to book.

    SEO is a powerful tool for reputation management and one of the most effective online marketing techniques. For more insights into other relevant online marketing channels, explore our comprehensive article on hotel marketing solutions

    7. Develop a Social Media Strategy for Reputation Management

    In addition to monitoring reviews on various websites and platforms, it's essential to pay attention to what guests and potential clients say about you on your social media profiles.

    Alongside implementing a content strategy and designating individuals to manage your social media presence—enhancing brand visibility and enabling direct communication with your followers—, it's equally important to track the comments left on your posts.

    Similar to managing reviews, allocate a specific daily time slot for addressing social media comments, and establish a process for escalating requests to the appropriate team if needed. Always respond in a timely and professional manner. This approach builds trust with your guests and improves your online reputation.

    Ultimately, the best online reputation management strategies can't compensate for poor service. Reputation management should begin with delivering top-notch service. The better your service, the easier it becomes to maintain a positive brand perception online, ultimately boosting your occupancy and revenue.

    At Hotelbeds, we're also here to assist you in maximising your occupancy rate and getting access to over 66,000 travel distributors worldwide. Below, you'll find a free copy of our guide, 'Understanding Hotel Distribution Channels', which unlocks everything you need to know about distribution channels, their advantages, drawbacks, and considerations for defining your hotel's distribution strategy. Download it now!

    Cover of the guide understanding hotel distribution

    Free Guide: Understanding Hotel Distribution Channels

    With this comprehensive free guide, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the different selling options for your rooms.

    Our 'Understanding Hotel Distribution' guide provides a useful overview of:

    • What distribution channels are, and the differences between online and offline distribution

    • The main channels for hotels

    • The key benefits of B2B distribution via Bedbanks

    • How to start creating your distribution strategy