There’s one sure way (as in almost 100% guaranteed) I’ve seen Hotels, Restaurants, Lodges, BnB’s, Movie Theatres, Golf Courses, etc, etc get ahead of their competition!
I’m not going to explain why guest reviews are so important / critical in a world of always on mobile connectivity. That’s been covered in a gazillion places distributed all over the interwebs. There’s plenty of research out there and you can Google some of it here.
No one else gets reviews like Hospitality does!
I’ve regularly thought about this, and I can’t think of any other industry that get reviews as often and persistently as the Hospitality Industry does. For example, as a Hotel General Manager, you can know about a broken shower in one of your rooms before your Housekeeping department has even started their daily routine. As a restaurant manager you can be alerted to a happy or unhappy guest, before they’ve paid the bill. Reviews come thick and fast, and it’s the biggest gift, if you have the correct attitude and approach.
At their most basic, guest reviews are feedback, and feedback is critical if you want to know how well you’re meeting your guest’s / customer’s / client’s needs? Let’s be honest, if you’re not meeting those needs, you’re not going to be in business for much longer. Businesses that survive into the future will be those that are still relevant to their customer’s needs in the future.
We have and have had a lot of clients in the Hospitality Industry, and while they serve different markets, some definitely do better than others. And while it’s not good science to boil it down to just one element, there is definitely a correlation between success and those who take reviews seriously.
And it’s really quite simple….
Read / React / Reply / Repeat
That’s the magic formula that I tell all our clients. When a review comes in….
- You read it,
- you react (make the necessary changes, if any),
- you reply to the guest, thanking them, and letting them know how you reacted (by replying, you’re letting that guest, and the next guest know that you’re invested enough to take their feedback seriously),
- and you repeat, for every single piece of feedback you receive.
The majority of our clients agree, and as a business we spend much of my time replying to reviews, and in conversations with clients on how they’re reacting to reviews? When they fail to react properly, reviews in the future continue to highlight the issue, until it’s been handled properly. However when a repeating issue isn’t dealt with, they sometimes enter a downward spiral that has a negative end result.
Whether it’s a particular staff person, a team, paint that’s peeling in a bathroom, a pothole in the driveway, etc, when these are repeatedly highlighted and not dealt with, it spells eventual trouble. The last thing you want are reviews reinforcing that you’re not interested in fixing the things your guests are asking you to fix. As I said earlier, if you’re not relevant to what your guests want and need, you will soon have no business.
I’ve watched business after business, who take reviews seriously, slowly and consistently climb up whatever list they’re measuring themselves on. Whether it’s TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Lekkerslaap, Travel Ground, Google or Facebook. The formula is simple and it works for every single platform. Read / React / Reply / Repeat.
Sadly, I’ve watched other clients do the opposite because they didn’t think guest reviews were important.