Do you know your hotel’s ranking on Trip Advisor and/or the OTA’s? If you are in a small community, your hotel probably is on page one by default. But if you are in a larger city with multiple options for lodging you may be relegated to pages that no one takes the time to review. So why? You say you have good rates, you have a good product, and have good contract margins with the OTA’s.
Are you paying attention to Trip Advisor? Do you respond to every review – both good and not good enough? More importantly, do you read and respond to reviews on the individual OTA sites?
I am going to assume that you are responding to Trip Advisor reviews. Congratulations! But, if you are not also going into the Expedia’s, Travelocity’s, and Orbitz’ sites, then you may be missing opportunities to increase your visibility on the OTA’s simply because your ranking has run amok.
It is proven that many, many consumers are “sorting” results within the third party sites when looking for lodging. They are not sorting by location, or by amenities, but by consumer rankings. I read an article yesterday about a very fine hotel in New York City. This hotel was new, beautiful, in good standing, responded to Trip Advisor reviews, kept their rates low, had good contracts with OTA’s with increased margins for commissions. Their production from OTAs was good, but they were frustrated because they could not seem to be able to move their hotel past page five no matter what they did proactively. You may ask why they were trying to fix something that was not broken. To them it was more than that – they did not want to risk the production they were receiving nor leave money on table by increasing commissions or lowering rate. They (wrongly) assumed that they would be getting better production if they were on page one versus page five.
What they finally discovered was that they were producing excellent results because their customers were sorting results when looking for accommodations in NYC by the quality of the review and customer ranking on Trip Advisor and third party sites! When they tested the sort process they appeared as the number one or two hotel on the first page on every third party site. In other words, they were worrying for naught. It also goes back to word of mouth. If we thought our visibility on social media was unimportant – consider the new search-ability function on Facebook. You can now search for accommodations based on reviews of friends and friends of friends!
OK – so what is the message here? The message is that you must look at all the reviews on your site. You must look at the rankings. You must RESPOND. And, you must do all of this on every third party site. We must ask our customers to please let others know about the quality of their stay on major sites and social media. There is nothing wrong with, as part of the departure process, we remind customers that we would be very appreciative if they took time out to let us know how we did by reviewing our hotel! (Abide by your brand standards and do not violate brand rules on coercing or incentivizing customers to review.)
Please do some research on your hotel. Go to the major producing third party websites for your hotel and look at the reviews. Try sorting by review ranking. See if it makes a difference as to where your hotel is placed.
On the other side of the coin, if you are not getting any production from third party sites, then go to the major players and look at the reviews. Respond to any reviews that are there. Then make a conscious effort to improve GSS in order to garner better reviews. It will take time, but I think it is worth the investment of your time.