Revinate eBook - Driving Direct Bookings

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Information about Revinate eBook - Driving Direct Bookings
Travel

Published on March 20, 2014

Author: revinate

Source: slideshare.net

Description

A best practices guide for hoteliers for driving direct bookings through use of social media and various other web engagement tactics.

Best Practices for the Hospitality Industry Driving Direct Bookings

2revinate.com Today, we have more access to real- time travel information than ever before. Are you curious about where to stay on your next trip to New York? Your network on Twitter, Facebook or Quora will likely have an opinion to share within the minute. Do you want to ensure that the hotel you’re considering will be just right for your romantic weekend? Thousands of reviews for any hotel are available on TripAdvisor, Expedia or dozens of other review sites and OTAs. Want to discuss the pros and cons of one hotel versus another with travel experts? All you have to do is log on to TripAdvisor forums, FlyerTalk or hundreds of other forums to get ideas and advice. With so many places online for consumers to share lodging information, hotels are quickly realizing that they must be aware of everything that is being said about them as just one highly visible bad review can cost the hotel a booking. And the flip side is that a series of great reviews can mean increased awareness and sales. But staying on top of everything that is being said online can present a problem for busy hoteliers since manual searches are time consuming and usually don’t Today, travelers have more access to hotel information than ever before. Research shows that guests are visiting numerous sites and doing multiple searches before they decide to book a room. Savvy hoteliers are quickly realizing the importance of a great online reputation and recognizing the things they can do to drive direct bookings. In this guide, we will look at some best practices for hotels looking to win customers doing pre-travel research.

3revinate.com people want to read reviews before they book travel. If a hotel doesn’t provide prospects with the ability to read reviews on your website, they will likely bounce to TripAdvisor or an OTA to read reviews. If you aren’t providing fresh reviews on your site via a review widget, such as Revinate’s SocialBuzz, or manually keeping your site updated with reviews, you are leaving money on the table since prospects will leave your site to check out reviews before booking. Once they leave your site to read reviews, there is a chance that they will book elsewhere. OTAs are masters at capturing bookings, with great booking engines, low-price guarantees and book-now messaging. Photos are critical to bookings as well. When you claim your venue on TripAdvisor you have the opportunity to add photos, which is a critical part of your listing. If you don’t add your own photos, TripAdvisor will add one for you. A best practice is to change your primary photo often, depending on the season, to best represent the google.com/alerts. You will need to create separate alerts for your hotel name, your restaurants and anything else you want to monitor. You might also think about creating mobile alerts for Foursquare so you know immediately when someone checks into your venue. Finally, to monitor your online reviews on TripAdvisor and the OTAs, you will need to claim your venue and request email alerts, if offered by the sites. If this list already sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. More than 23,000 hotels are using Revinate’s automated solution to cut down on the manual time needed to monitor so many sources of guest satisfaction data. Once you begin to understand all the places where your hotel is being talked about, you need to have an action plan for managing your online reputation. Research has shown that yield comprehensive results. The first step to ensuring a great online reputation and direct bookings is to know where people are talking you. Luckily, software services, such as Revinate’s solution for Online Reputation Management, exist to help hoteliers aggregate all reviews and social media mentions. Revinate acts as a fire hose, listening for all mentions of your hotel name and bringing everything together into a single dashboard. Revinate’s solution is tailored to the hospitality industry and incorporates the very specific sources of data that hoteliers will need, such as TripAdvisor, Hotels.com, Priceline, Booking.com, etc. While ORM solutions typically cost less than the cost of a hotel room, if you’re not ready to invest in a paid solution, there are some free services that you can use, although you won’t have the convenience of single-source monitoring. To capture mentions on blog, video and news sites, you can create a google alert by going to The Revinate dashboard aggregates reviews from dozens of online review sites. of travelers worldwide say that online reviews have an impact on their booking decisions Revinate SocialBuzz allows Paradise Point Resort & Spa to share free reviews on its website. 93%

4revinate.com that the issues have all been resolved in your most recent renovation. While TripAdvisor is clearly the biggest review site, you should visit your listings on all the review sites and OTAs, including Orbitz, Yelp, Hotels. com, Priceline, Expedia, Yahoo Travel, Google Places and Booking.com, and any other sites that might be pertinent in your region. Ensure that your photos are up-to-date and your listing is accurate. Also, many sites allow management responses, including Google, Hotels.com, Expedia and Yelp so respond to any negative reviews to show that you’re customer focused and attentive to feedback. When doing pre-planning research, many consumers will access your Twitter account and your Facebook Page to see if you’re offering any social media specials or promoting anything new. If you have a Twitter account and/or a Facebook Page the expectation is that you are actively updating your accounts and engaging with guests and prospects. If you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account but aren’t actively monitoring and engaging, it’s best to take down the page until you’re ready to devote the time and resources to the community. From a consumer perspective, there is nothing worse that looking up a hotel’s page to find no activity or content, or worse, questions that go unanswered. What kind of content helps you shine on Facebook and Twitter? First and foremost, guests saying great things about you and posting photos and videos from their stays. Many hotels are now encouraging social engagement with ‘Get Social’ cards in the rooms that tell guests that they’re communications with guests. To automate the process of driving reviews to TripAdvisor, Revinate has a post-stay survey solution that includes TripAdvisor syndication, which has been proven to drive an increase in review volume. Finally and most importantly, read the reviews that appear on the first few pages of your listing. If you have any negative reviews, it is imperative that you respond publicly to let prospects know that you are actively reading your reviews and using feedback to improve your hotel operations. And, since TripAdvisor allows you to sort your reviews by star-rating, click on your 1-star reviews and comment on any that are out-of-date or no longer applicable. For example, if a review is about a room that has since been renovated, publicly respond saying hotel experience. If someone is looking for a place to spend an upcoming ski weekend and you show a photo of your pool area, you might lose the prospect. Likewise, take a look at the user-generated photos and make sure that they represent positive aspects of your hotel. While you can’t remove photos unless they violate the terms of service, they display in chronological order so by encouraging happy guests to post photos, you can push bad photos down, where they likely won’t be viewed often. Where your hotel ranks on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index is another highly visible aspect of your listing. If you are not where you think you deserve to be in your market, you can try to improve your ranking by increasing the number of reviews that you receive and improving your quality rating as these are two of the factors that go into TripAdvisor’s algorithm to determine your ranking. To increase the number of reviews that you receive you will need to begin encouraging your guests to write reviews. Many hotels have printed reminder cards that are handed out at check-out so guests remember to write a review when they return home. It is also common now for hotels to include the link to TripAdvisor in the post-stay email and in all email Hotel Drisco ranks #1 in San Francisco on TripAdvisor. Visitors looking for a hotel in San Francisco will see this hotel’s listing first. Read how 137 Pillars House used Revinate Post-Stay Surveys to drive 2-300% more reviews and reach its goal on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.

5revinate.com listening for feedback online and want guests to tweet and post to Facebook. With more guests using social media to communicate, many hotels are using Twitter for service recovery, monitoring in-hotel conference hash tags for issues with the air conditioning, catering, or AV. Given its real-time nature, Twitter is the perfect vehicle for communicating with guests on-site. And, nothing looks better to a prospective guest than seeing a quick response to an issue on Twitter. Twitter is also a great channel for sales prospecting. Wouldn’t it be great to easily find people looking for recommendations of places to stay in your city? Revinate includes a ‘Search’ feature that allows you to automatically find mentions of your property, restaurant, or anything important to you. So, you can search for words such as ‘hotel recommendation Chicago’ or ‘where stay Chicago’ to find people looking for recommendations. The search results will include dozens of people looking for advice on where to stay. Respond to the person looking for a recommendation and ask out what he/she is looking for? If your hotel fits the bill, it’s ok to provide a rate or ask him/her to contact you to help make a reservation. But, simply sharing a rate before you know if it’s a good fit might turn off the prospect. For example, if I was looking for a budget room and I was tweeted a rate of $1200, I might not be too impressed with the hotel. Another way to drive more direct bookings is to make sure that the people associated with your hotel provide helpful, inspiring content about your local area. Encourage staff to become market experts on TripAdvisor and other travel forums, where they share their knowledge about best places to go and things to do in the vicinity. You can also search for hashtags on Twitter associated with your city and answer questions that come up from travelers and locals. Remember, you’re not doing this as a direct sales vehicle, per se. Rather, you are becoming a helpful web citizen and softly influencing sales by sharing your infectious love of your city. Then, one day, when someone you helped is looking for a place to stay or providing a recommendation, he/she will remember the helpful suggestions you provided about where to take his aunt for dinner. There is no doubt that driving direct bookings will take time and resources and should be considered a marathon and not a sprint. But investing in your online reputation will pay off with increased bookings, more loyal guests, and a greater awareness of what guests love and dislike about your hotel. In the end, it’s about providing great hospitality, even when your guests aren’t on site, which should come naturally to anyone that loves his/her profession. Example of a TripAdvisor Forum post. Example of an in-room card requesting social engagement. About Revinate There is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hospitality industry. Revinate’s user-friendly software platform, custom-designed for the unique needs of the hospitality industry, helps hotels and management companies monetize guest feedback. With both mobile and desktop solutions, Revinate helps hoteliers manage online reputation, understand the competition and collect and analyze customer feedback. For more information, please email info@revinate.com.

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