Why are Reviews so Important?
Reviews have an impact everywhere online. Google uses your reviews to determine rankings in Google Hotel Search results (the map you see in Google). TripAdvisor uses reviews in your TripAdvisor rankings. So too do OTAs, AirBnB etc. Not only that - your potential guests look at reviews and they obviously have a major impact on whether or not a guest books with your property. They'll even pay more for a property with better reviews.
"Reviews are the NEW new SEO" - Ben Lloyd
Yes, I'm quoting myself here. :) Many times innkeepers tell me they don't have time to blog or money to spend on advertising or listings so what can they do? I tell them - get and respond to reviews. If you do no other online marketing activity, do this one.
How to Make Reviews a Part of Your Workflow and Your Culture
These activities are a baseline.
- Set it and forget it: Ask for reviews in Google and TripAdvisor your post-stay email (we covered this one in: Odysys Academy: Guest Emails).
- Get Notified: Set your Google Business Listing up so you receive notifications of new reviews and everything else. See: "Manage Your Notifications." We also recommend getting the Google My Business app (everyone on your team who manages reviews can be set up as a manager and use the app)
For TripAdvisor and other 3rd party review sources, do the same.
- Reply to the reviews you get: Did you know that 62% of people agree that seeing a hotel's response to reviews generally influenced them positively toward booking at that hotel? Make an effort to reply to guest reviews within 48 hours. Have a bunch or reviews you haven't replied to? Reply to them. There's no harm in going way back and responding to a review.
Done? Congrats! You’re one step closer to more direct bookings.
Next Steps & Tips
- SEO Tip: If you've got something you're trying to improve your rankings for, like say your place has a hot tub. When you reply to a review and that person used your hot tub, just say something like "We're so happy you enjoyed your stay at our bed & breakfast and made use of our hot tub, we love it too!"
- Negative reviews happen. Have a plan for responding. Keep in mind, you are writing to future guests, not the one who posted the negative review. Get tips for responding to negative reviews: https://www.odysys.com/blog/new-webinar-on-demand-all-about-reviews/