How to Get Good Hotel Reviews from Guests?
Why does your hotel need good reviews? Because positive reviews influence 68% of potential guests to book a room. Remember, your future guests have no reason to trust your words. You are the hotelier. You have every reason to hype up your property. What do new guests want? Social proof. They want to see good reviews. In this article, I will tell you exactly how to bag amazing reviews.
Hospitality marketing is just as important as every other process associated with managing a hotel. Even if you can get loyal customers to come back, that’s not enough. No tourist will visit the same location and stay in the same hotel hundreds of times. The core principle that the tourism industry functions around is the thirst for exploration. So, you- a hotelier, have a very transient customer base in your hands. This is exactly why you have to ensure that you keep pulling in new customers. And the first thing that new customers check out is the online reviews.
The problem with reviews is that once you open the door to good reviews, bad reviews get through too. And 40% of your potential customers get discouraged when they see bad reviews. Let’s solve this first before we get to the good hotel reviews.
How to Avoid Bad Reviews?
You cannot avoid people’s complaints. They are going to have problems with your hotel no matter what you do. So, the solution to this has nothing to do with spending an enormous amount of time and money. What you need to do is solve the guests’ complaints before they permanently become bad reviews.
Here’s where a Property Management System like StayFlexi becomes indispensable. StayFlexi allows your customers to register their complaints on the hotel website/app through their cell phones. And this can be done during their stay. This especially helps guests who are too awkward to step up to your staff and register a complaint.
If you always keep this extremely accessible pathway of communication with the hotel open, problems will get resolved faster. Guests won’t feel the need to write a bad review after they have checked out.
Let’s look at an example here:
A guest checks in and feels that the unused room corners have not been dusted properly. This is not a problem that will make the guests rush to the front desk. But it’s a problem that will create a lingering bad impression in the minds of the guests. So, you’ll end up getting a review like: “The hotel is in a fine location but the rooms are slightly unclean.” This is obviously going to turn guests away, no matter how small the complaint is. No one wants to stay in ‘slightly unclean’ rooms.
Here’s what would happen instead if your hotel had StayFlexi:
It would take the guest very little effort to lodge a complaint (“Dusty room”) from their mobile phone. The moment the complaint is registered, StayFlexi would notify the staff member who is in charge of that room. This is StayFlexi’s Smart Housekeeping feature. The staff member would come in and solve the problem in no time. And then they’d update the task status from their device.
See how quickly the problem was resolved? Not only will this leave a lasting good impression on the minds of your guests, but good reviews are also guaranteed. And even if you don’t get good reviews, at least you won’t have bad reviews either. Even if the guest wants to write about this experience, they will probably mention that the problem was solved. This is exactly how StayFlexi turns your bad reviews into good reviews.
How to Get Good Hotel Reviews from Guests?
Encourage User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content is the best of both worlds. It counts as free marketing and it also counts as social proof. No, I’m not talking about paying influencers to come to shoot videos at your hotel. (That would count as marketing but not as genuine social proof.)
I’m talking about content that is organically generated by users. If you have millennials at your hotel, you can be sure that they are posting content on Instagram already. All you need to do is tap in on this ready-made content which also doubles as review.
The easiest way to do this is by politely asking your guests to tag your property. This will make sure that these videos and photos turn up collectively when someone clicks on your tag. You can do the same with Facebook, Twitter, and all other social media sites.
Yes, having reviews on your official website is important. But getting reviews on your social media pages is just as important. You can take screenshots of these reviews and later add them to your website if you want.
There is another trick that you can employ to encourage User-Generated Content.
Have something unique in your hotel. This can be anything- big or small. A glass-bottomed swimming pool, an organic herb garden, or just a really beautiful porch with antique chairs. Youngsters flock to spots such as these because they too know that this makes for good content. If your food selection is your specialty, make sure to highlight this. Also, make sure the food photographers all tag your establishment in their photos.
A Keepsake Gift at the End
I’m not talking about bribes. Yes, providing small incentives (like a discount code or a free dessert) does guarantee good reviews. But this is neither completely ethical, nor sustainable.
What I am talking about here is a heartfelt gift that will help your guests remember you specifically. Some hotels hand their guests beautiful ‘Thank You’ cards or postcards while leaving. I once visited an establishment that gifted us fresh mushrooms that had been plucked from their own garden.
Gifts such as these leave a lasting impression in the minds of the guests. If you end the check-out process with these gifts, guests are more likely to leave good reviews.
The reason I am mentioning this is that most check-out processes end with a discussion regarding the additional charges. There might be confusion regarding the amount, negotiation, or even outright arguments regarding money. Don’t let your relationship with the guest end on this sour note. Such interactions nullify the entire impression that your hotel created in their minds.
After the discussion regarding money is over, hand them something meaningful and heartfelt as a sweet farewell gesture.
Target the Right People
This is just common sense. Younger people are more likely to review your property online than older people. So, it is obvious that you should be targeting the millennial crowd for the reviews. As I’ve said before, you probably don’t even need to convince them. They are already posting on social media platforms.
But that does not mean that you cannot get reviews from the older generation. You just need to change your tactics. Instead of an online review format, hand them little notes where they can write their reviews.
The perk of asking the older generation to review your property is that they are more likely to take this seriously. How many times have we been asked to post a review by our Amazon delivery man? And we have forgotten each time. The older generation is much less likely to forget if you hand them an actual pen and paper. You can always digitize these reviews and post them on your site later. Plus, no one ever suspects that handwritten reviews are false.
Get the Review During the Stay
Though I have mentioned keepsake gifts before, you should preferably ask for reviews during the guests’ stay. The trick that you have to employ here is fairly simple. Don’t outright ask them for their reviews. Whenever they are returning to their rooms, gently give them reminders like:
“Do let us know if we can improve our services?”
“How are you enjoying your stay until now?”
“Enjoying the trip? Tell us your experience!”
These reminders should come when your guests are retiring to their rooms. Don’t offer these suggestions when they are headed out for a trip. Of course hotel reviews are going to be the last thing on their minds.
Also, make sure that your guests have easy access to WiFi from their rooms. If you cannot provide guests with stable WiFi, they are not going to bother with leaving a review.
As I mentioned before, having StayFlexi is a great way to facilitate communication between the guests and the hotel. The guests can directly leave their reviews on the hotel website/app.
Automate Review Requests
Though this is something that you should definitely do, don’t ignore the other points that I mentioned. Automated review requests ensure that every single guest is reached out to. This is obviously next-to-impossible if you want to personally ask the guests for reviews.
Automated review requests are sent along with post-check-out ‘Thank You’ mails. If you want to maintain a long-lasting relationship with your customer, you need to remember them. StayFlexi can help you out with this. It retains the records of all your customers so that you can contact them in the future. You can send them automated emails during their birthdays or anniversaries as well.
Along with this, attach a little review request. Just remember to stop sending these requests once the guest has reviewed the property.
Answer Your Existing Reviews
Getting new reviews feels great. But why are new guests going to review if they see you never answered the earlier reviews? After all, guests do want to feel heard.
So, make sure you pay equal attention to all reviews. Personalize your answers by mentioning the name of the guest. Don’t make the replies seem like stock answers. Guests should see that you actually interact with the reviews. This is the only way they’ll be encouraged to leave good reviews as well.
Incentives and discounts are often provided in order to get good hotel reviews. But we consciously chose to not include that in this article. Neither do any of the solutions involve spending a huge amount of money or time. That is why we also left out influencer marketing.
The reason for this exclusion is simple. Your guests are smart. They’ll be able to tell which reviews are fabricated and which aren’t. There’s no point in trying to fool them.
This article tells you all the practical, affordable ways in which you can convince guests to leave good reviews. Since StayFlexi plays a huge part in earning you good reviews, you might be interested in its specific features. Do leave a comment below to know more about StayFlexi.