The hotel industry relies heavily on customers’ feedback and recommendation to build reputation and boost sales. And where do travelers share their opinions nowadays? On the internet – social channels specifically. While the latter are excellent for promoting the business, things can spiral downwards if a negative buzz is created.
Here are 4 pieces of advice on how to handle a negative buzz for the hotel industry:
- Monitor the relevant channels
These can be your hotel’s own (Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, Pinterest, blog) or external (reviews on TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Priceline, Hotels.com – as well as forums, groups and blogs discussing travelling). Sign up for Google Alerts – this will help you receive constant updates about your hotel.
- Know how to react accordingly to the channel
External sites like the ones dedicated to travel reviews could be fit for official, on the spot replies. TripAdvisor is one place where a hotel representative can deal with each complaint separately. This helps solve individual dissatisfaction while also showing the hotel cares for its customers.
However, your hotel’s Facebook Page customer care service channel. Show that you took notice of the complaint, then try to direct your users to a specific e-mail address. Here you can continue the discussion and settle the matter offline.
- Know how to respond to different types of complaints
Not all complaints have the power to generate negative buzz. Opinions and experiences of customers are subjective. Identify those who can impact your business and answer customers who really have a problem.
If you have individual, isolated complaints, you need to reply promptly and tell them you have registered their notification. Inquire for further information from the complainer after you have directed him to a dedicated customer care address. Make sure to check the information he provides with your hotel’s staff and booking evidence, in order to gain a holistic perspective on the problem.
Don’t be too specific when trying to make up for a mistake: there’s nothing worse than yet another overpromise and underdeliver!
Should you receive an unitary negative buzz from significant amount of people regarding the same issue, investigate immediately. Apologize elegantly if this is the case; offer it a positive spin by showing you always value feedback and provide immediate action. If the problem has affected a certain group of people (like problems with reservations for a certain day), use creative incentives to win those customers back to a positive opinion.
- Be prepared for negative buzz with a proactive social media strategy
It is important to own social media channels where you can officially speak in the name of your hotel. It is as important to be present on channels where your business is listed. A negative buzz can easily rocket, while a carefully thought intervention from your part could smoothly prevent it. Complaints about a hotel with an obscure online presence and no official response mean a dead end for most readers. On the contrary, a strong communication binds a possible relationship, not to mention it can draw support from previous, satisfied customers!
All in all, the hotel industry is one of the most exposed to the challenge of a negative buzz. Customers have the highest expectations in regard to their booking choice, whether on business travel or holiday. If they are dissatisfied, they will respond publicly.
Therefore, knowing how to communicate on social channels is anything but a mere side dish for hoteliers. A social media strategy completes and drives further efficiency in your conversion-oriented marketing.