Social Media and Reputation Management a Key to Success in the Hospitality Industry.

Raman (R. P.) Rama, EVP & CTO/CIO of JHM Hotels.
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Raman (R. P.) Rama, EVP & CTO/CIO of JHM Hotels.

In the Hospitality Industry, Social Media and Reputation Management is now a big task on its own as this gives the hoteliers to communicate with the guests and potential guests. The impact and reach of good reviews go a long way in social media sites or OTAs. Today we trust more our friends and relatives and other human beings. No matter how loud we tweet our horns that our hotel is the best compared to our competition the expression of experiences by past guests speak volumes and help in increasing credibility of the hotel. Social Media is the least cost avenue for promoting your hotel and does not require as much investments as other media advertisement or promotions. One should take advantage of the good reviews and use the quotes of customers on the hotel website with the permission of the guest. The guest must be credible and these good reviews must not be manufactured. Customers will find out very soon that you played games with them and they will not trust your hotel. At check-out time the guest service agents at the front desk should ask how the guest stay was and ask each guest to give their personal review about their stay on the social media sites of your hotel. Make them like your site. The more members you have on your social media site the more popular you will be considered to be. You must have lot of followers. Let your site be one that is offering news and new events or promotions you are providing. You can also reward those that post reviews to your site. The guests are our eyes and ears and they are free inspectors for the owners and managers or management companies. One must capture all the feedbacks and share them with the staff members for corrective actions or for praises, employee awards can also be formulated based on comments received and special awards should be given to staff members whose names are mentioned as going above and beyond the call of duty to give a guest a good experience. Today the Gen X, Y & Z trust social media reviews for their decision making hence it is very important to keep engaged with the social media sites. A no response to a negative review is admitting the fault and "do not care" attitude from the hotel if not responded hence it is important to stay engaged. Social Media is a fantastic sales tool, all staff members are sales people and should help in promoting their own hotels on their social media sites or even in their groups. Social media sites are most visited sites, all statistics show that it is the most popular medium of communication in today's age.

"Today the Gen X, Y & Z trust social media reviews for their decision making hence it is very important to keep engaged with the guests and potential guests through social media sites"

Reputation management is very important. How important is our own reputation same is the importance of reputation of our hotels. Managing our own reputation is important hence follow the same principles to manage our hotel’s reputation it is no different. The hotels should take reviews positive or negative as a tool to connect with their customers. Reviews are like someone rating you for who you are and what kind of hotel you are and what kind of service you provide. Customers like to post reviews positive or negative on the social media sites, more negatives than positive reviews are seen. Let us take a hypothetical example. How would you personally feel if people were talking good about you and how would one feel if people were talking negative about you. It surely takes a lot of effort to wipe out the negative impression of a person; same is the problem with hotels. Social media reviews a fantastic opportunity to promote your hotel by commenting or responding to both positive reviews and negative reviews. It maintains a two way communication between hotels and customers. For positive reviews it is a good opportunity to thank the customers for their positive feedback and to invite them again to stay at your hotel or recommend your hotel to their friends or relatives or those that they know.

No hotel likes to see negative customer feedback, but when it happens one has to be ready to see them as an opportunity to go into action and offer feedback on what you have done to correct the situation so that other guests do not experience the same issue and also gives you an opportunity to offer them a discount to return back and experience the correction again. It offers an opportunity to give well informed responses and offer constructive feedback to the customer of how the problem is resolved.

Guests are smart they will weigh the positive feedback with the negative feedbacks and then decide if they want to use your hotel. More credibility comes into play when the hotels respond to both positive and negative feedbacks of corrective actions taken by the hotel. When a hotel is offering such good two ways communication, there is loyalty that builds between the hotel and the customer. This kind of two way communication helps in neutralizing the bad comments and also helps in promoting the hotel to the readers or the reviews. If you do nothing it means you are accepting the fault and are not doing anything about it so it works against the hotel. Today the customers have lot of options and choices and the hotels that have good relationships with their customers are the winners. So make it a point that all reviews should be read by management each day just like you would brush your teeth and clean up any negative feedback and enhance your image. The rate of return and rate of trust increases with each response from the hotel positive or negative. You can turn a negative review into a sales opportunity with your responses and inviting the guest again to experience the hotel services.

Look at what happened in the elections the party that used Social Media to communicate with the population it had a great impact on the results all positive news and responses to negative opinions were expressed and voters decided who they trusted same is the situation with the hotels. These elections were a classic example of how social media can be used for different purposes including sales.

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