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What Do Online Reviews Mean for the Hospitality Industry?

Traditionally, brick-and-mortar establishments in the hospitality industry have relied on word-of-mouth and community-based advertising to build their brand and reputation. Given the prevalence of the Internet as well as the recent boom in online review sites, companies are now seeing more exposure than ever before.

While there are some highly trusted review sites out there, there are some sites that simply aren’t reputable by any stretch of the imagination. Despite this fact, there is great potential for misuse and abuse of such online review sites. There are also a number of shady practices, shortcuts and other tricks that can result in an inaccurate reputation.

Generating Reviews

The first step to managing your online reputation is to generate reviews which can be done through a variety of different techniques. Some of the most popular strategies include interacting with patrons and increasing customer services standards.

Others opt for the more direct approach of targeting and soliciting individual guests to post reviews online. While this practice is fine in theory, it should be done tactfully, professionally and without compensation. In other words, offering free products, services or cash for an online review is definitely frowned upon in the hospitality industry.

If you are a startup company that is trying to make a name for yourself in the hospitality industry, you have no choice but to offer compensation for an online review. When doing so, make sure the customer posts a standardized disclosure stating they have been compensated for their review. By using this strategy sparingly, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding the negative stigma surrounding paid online reviews.

Monitoring and Responding to Reviews

Monitoring and responding to online reviews is a highly useful strategy that is used by many employers today. Not only is this a great way of keeping track of your reputation, it also gives you the opportunity to address any negative reviews you may find online. You can respond to positive reviews, either as a means of expressing thanks, answering a question or interacting with the community at large.

In fact, a recent survey states that 79 percent of travelers are reassured by a company’s response to a bad review while 78 percent of those surveyed stated that managerial responses to good online reviews cause them to think more positively about the company in question. As you can see, it’s good idea to respond to the good reviews as well as the bad ones.

Online review sites aren’t the only place you’ll find consumer criticism. Social media sites also provide your customers with an accessible forum to post their questions, comments, complaints or praise. As such, it’s important to keep an eye on these sites, too. Some companies, particular larger organizations, recruit full-time social media managers in order to keep track of customer reviews, field online questions and respond to complaints.

Filling Your Roster

Whether the majority of your recruitment strategies are online or off, it can be tricky to find top talent within the hospitality industry. If you’re having difficulty with the process, or if you just want to free up some of your resources for use in other areas, contact RMG Staffing right away!