Ignore online reviews at your peril!
Can anyone help me understand why some hotel executives do not respond to online guest review channels?
Even if I’ve become used to thinking out of the box over the years, I still haven’t found any valid reasons to justify why operation executives do not respond to electronic reviews.
I have heard all kind of excuses such as: ‘we have too much reporting to prepare,’ ‘I have been busy with sales calls,’ or simply ‘I don’t have time,’ which indicate that the importance of taking this task seriously has not been understood and not delegated to a qualified team member.
For the ones who haven’t embraced this process yet, let me tell you that your competitors have found the time to ensure that any post will be addressed within a very short period of time. It has become a part of their e-commerce strategy, and they have implemented a dedicated structure to recognize and appreciate publicly the positive reviews, or try their best to convert a complaint into a satisfied response.
Even though the accuracy of some online review website can be sometimes questionable, there is no reason or excuse for a service-oriented provider such as a hotelier, to ignore a message from a client, knowing that some hotels get 35-45% of their business online.
Being silent can be interpreted as “I don’t care.” Who can afford these days to release this kind of message onto the market? Could you imagine a guest service agent who was receiving a comment about the service or about a problem with hotel facilities, leaving the desk to take care of another client without a word?
I wouldn’t be surprised if in future, some OTA’S took into consideration the ratio of the number of guest reviews sent by clients vs. the number of responses addressed by companies, in their tailor-made algorithm hotel ranking software.
If the hospitality industry continues to be supported by electronic channels, websites, and third party suppliers, you’d better start ensuring that this process is well-managed, and that all reviews are addressed. You don’t want to ruin the company’s reputation, do you?
You see, nowadays, hotel service does not end after check-out, or the airport drop off…