Guest reviews don’t cost you a thing – but not having reviews can certainly cost you and your business. In this post we’ll explain how you can generate guest reviews to build your online reputation, drive bookings and ultimately increase revenue.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘reputation is everything’? Well, in the hotel industry, that’s certainly the case. And the most important factor for your reputation is your guest reviews.
Studies show that 96% of guests consider reviews important when finding and booking an accommodation. And size matters – the number of reviews you have can be make-or-break when it comes to getting bookings. People are less likely to trust a property with only two reviews compared to one with 20, and the more reviews you get, the higher your online ranking and visibility on search results.
This is why it’s fundamental for your business to have plenty of reviews – and that includes critical reviews, too.
It’s a common misconception that negative reviews are a bad thing. But research shows that negative reviews are actually better for business than no reviews. And there are things you can do to make the most of negative reviews – writing a thoughtful response to a negative review gives your brand legitimacy and builds trust, which can lead to more bookings. A healthy mix of both is a good middle-ground, as 68% of consumers trust reviews more when there’s both criticism and praise.
With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to prioritise generating guest reviews in high volumes. But in such a busy day and age, we know that customers have short attention spans. Not to mention that you’re busy focussing on other aspects of your business and need quick, effective solutions. So, what are some simple things you can do to generate more guest reviews?
The first – and perhaps most obvious – solution is to make sure there are places for your guests to leave reviews. Be sure to add your property on Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor so guests can write a review on their preferred platform. Your presence on these tried-and-trusted sites is also crucial for legitimising your business to potential bookers.
The second strategy for driving more guests to write reviews is also quite simple – just ask. At a property like yours, you already have a more personal interaction with guests than a larger hotel or chain – and you’ll find most guests would be happy to support a business that adds a personal touch.
There are two ways you can do this. When a guest is checking out, ask them how their stay was and encourage them to leave a review. You can also send a thank-you email post-stay and ask for their feedback. Be sure to include links to your preferred review site – whether it’s Google, TripAdvisor, or Facebook, you want to make it as easy as possible. This is also where review software comes in.
By using simple review software, you can streamline review submission on your own property website, and even embed the most recent reviews on your page. This means that when potential guests land on your website, they’ll immediately be able to read others’ reviews. You can also take advantage of direct messaging and respond to guest’s reviews personally, which is a proven strategy for increasing your conversion rate.
The third tip for generating reviews is to incentivise your guests. Consider offering up a coupon or hosting a raffle for all the customers who leave a review – the reward could be a small discount on their room when they book again, or a complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival.
Not only will these prizes encourage them to leave a review, it will also make them want to book your property again to take advantage of the prize. Personal and interactive touches like this can also drive customer loyalty – and lead to repeat bookings. A further step is to reward guests for sharing reviews on their own social channels. So, offer up a prize for guests who not only write a review on your Facebook page but also share it on their personal page. This way, all their friends are sure to see it too.
With guest reviews absolutely crucial to both your online reputation and your revenue, it’s more important than ever to invest time into generating reviews. These tips are a good place to start, but review management software can be your best friend when it comes to making the most of them – from easily writing direct responses to your reviews to getting custom reports on your review trends.