Raymond Wu, a TIG Global web marketing analyst, weighs in on the importance of keeping an eye on the frontlines of the travel industry to build a more favorable reputation and boost your bottom-line.
Here’s a scenario that hoteliers might dread. A potential customer looking to book a night at a hotel walks up to your hotel with a competing hotel next door. Both hotels are similar in size, style, price, amenities, and obviously, location. Being 2009, the customer pulls out a Smartphone (surprise) and looks up reviews for each hotel. With many property features being similar, the next metric the customer will focus on is service.
The best way for a customer to gauge a hotel’s quality of service, in lieu of a personal recommendation from a friend, is to read reviews from previous guests. Websites with travel reviews, such as TripAdvisor, are growing at a fast pace and customers are increasingly relying on them during their consumer purchasing cycle. Therefore, reviews of apathetic /inefficient employees or uncleanly conditions can raise flags and quickly weed your hotel out of the running, steering potential guests over to the competition.
One simple way to combat this scenario is to tap into the potential of the “frontline.” Often times, the influence of property-level employees is overlooked, when in reality, they play a crucial role in generating revenue and securing the lifetime loyalty of a customer.
For example, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company prides their reputation on its dedicated employees, as is evidenced by their internal motto, “Ladies and Gentlemen, serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” The company does its due diligence by providing employees with an allowance to deliver service that will “wow” its customers. This level of dedication might include personally delivering an item left behind by a guest, or overhearing the mention of a favorite beverage or food that later arrives in the form of a surprise room-service offering. Concepts such as these reward employees with the autonomy to deliver exceptional service to customers and create an experience, rather than a simple property stay.
Harnessing the power of frontline employees goes a long way in impacting word-of-mouth marketing. It is likely that if your employees are reaching above-and-beyond to please guests, then they will return the favor with positive feedback that stands to result in several bookings from just one stay. It is important to monitor travel review sites to keep a finger on the pulse of what your guests are saying, as well as recognize and reward the actions your employees are taking to impress your customers. Your reputation is vital to the success of your brand and bottom-line, making it more important than ever in these technological times to be vigilant and proactive in managing what your guests are saying about you online.
Want to learn more about protecting your brand online? Or, are you interested in ramping up your Social Media efforts? TIG Global offers HotelProtect, a proprietary online brand reputation management tool, as well as a full suite of Social Media solutions to boost your online reputation. Give us a call at 301-841-4700, or click here to visit us online.