Online Presence

How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.

Tips for Successful Hotel Review Management Responses

As an agency managing the online presence for many hotels, we know that social media networks aren’t the only places where businesses can shine online. In fact, hotels are fortunate enough to have additional sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, hotels.com, etc., where potential guests can read what others say about the property and gauge whether or not it’s the right hotel for them. Hotels can certainly benefit from being active members on review sites by responding to guest reviews.

Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer, TripAdvisor says, "There is no denying that reviews are a powerful and a significant part of the travel planning experience...not only are travelers referencing reviews before they book, they are clearly more highly engaged by businesses that respond to reviews.” In fact, according to PhoCusWright, 77% of global respondents usually or always reference TripAdvisor reviews before selecting a hotel.

While many hotels understand the importance of responding to guest reviews, many do not understand exactly how to respond. Many times, they get nervous that their responses may actually work against them and push potential guests away, or that it's not worth the amount of time it takes. What we have found is that guests want to see management responses. They want to know that the hotel cares enough to read reviews and respond. And with the following recommendations, your hotel will be on the path to review management success!

  • Be genuine yet professional, while still maintaining the tone of your property. Responses should not sound like copy and pasted scripts. Instead, really take the time to read and understand from where each guest is coming.
  • Stick to the facts. Don’t get too emotional, and when responding to a negative review, don’t get aggressive or angry. Try to stick to the fact of the matter while still being constructive and getting to the bottom of the guest’s dissatisfaction. 
  • Respond in a timely manner. Depending on the number of reviews your hotel receives, daily or weekly response times will be appropriate.
  • Treat each review as a learning opportunity. In most cases, the past guest is giving their honest feedback regarding their stay. Learn from their experience. If you see the same complaint frequently, do something about it on-site. The more improvements you make based on the reviews you receive, the less you’ll see these constructive/negative reviews.
  • There is no need to respond to every review. In fact, a recent Cornell University study found that "responding to some reviews may be beneficial, but perhaps that impact decreases as hotels start to respond to all reviews.” A good rule-of-thumb is to respond to all 1, 2, and 3 star reviews, and 50-75% of 4 and 5 star reviews.

Remember when you respond, you’re not just responding to the guest who wrote the review. Anyone who is looking at your hotel reviews will likely scan the review and your response. These stats from PhoCusWright were especially informative when remembering this recommendation:  

  • 87% of users agree that an appropriate management response to a bad review "improves my impression of the hotel.”        

  • 70% of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review "makes me less likely to book that hotel" 

  • 62% of users agree that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally "makes me more likely to book it" (versus a comparable hotel that didn't respond to travelers.)

Lastly, if you are responding, and plan to take action, be sure you thank the reviewer and let him/her know that you will be investigating, or taking some action based on their review. Not only will this be a positive mark for the guest to read, but also other readers.

 If you are looking to partner with an agency and have experts manage your review management, don’t hesitate to contact us

How’s Your Online Reputation?

In today’s age of social media and online presence, there isn’t a business that can’t be impacted by a customer review. It can take as little as a couple of hours for a bad customer experience to go viral and impact the bottom line.

Online reviews provide a kind of social proof to potential customers, and in some instances weigh more importantly than a personal recommendation. In a recent survey by BrightLocal, 87% of consumers valued an online review as much as a word of mouth by a friend, and 93% of customers used reviews to decide if a business was trustworthy or not. In other words, not paying attention to your online reviews could cost you the opportunity to build customers' trust in your business.

It isn’t just customers who pay attention to reviews, search engines are watching closely, too.  A positive customer review is considered a sign of whether a business is good or not, and will contribute toward a higher search ranking. For small businesses it can be very difficult to compete with sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, who have a higher authority ranking with Google and automatically rank higher in search results. However, businesses with better online reviews will show up before those with poor reviews, even if the search ranking of the websites is equal.

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Take Charge

Controlling what customers write is impossible, but you can manage your online reputation by registering on major review sites and monitor them proactively. Keep track of the reviews customers leave and respond to them when appropriate and in a timely manner. Remember that a negative review is another chance to offer outstanding customer service. Most review sites allow you to respond directly to the customer’s review, thus giving you an opportunity to apologize and amend the situation. In a best-case scenario you may even win back a loyal customer. Of course, you won’t be able to please every unhappy customer, but the way you handled the situation will be taken into account by others when they are making their decisions.

Online Reputation Management

Managing your business’ online reputation can be time consuming and it may be best to assign one team member to manage it. It’s important that your brand voice is brought forth in a consistent manner and that your responses are personalized to the review. Always use the customer’s name. Be sure to research the issue before you respond and get as many details as possible. No matter how negative the review may be, always thank the customer for taking the time to bring their concerns to your attention. Finally, apologize to the customer for the poor experience and highlight the changes you have made or intend to make.

Encourage Positive Feedback

Customers are more likely to write a review after a bad experience which means you will have to encourage positive feedback. If a customer has a good experience, let them know how much you would appreciate their positive feedback. To make the process easier for the customer, include links to your review sites in follow-up emails, on your website or make it a part of the ‘check-out’ process at the point of sale. Make sure you respond to positive reviews as well as negative reviews. Let the customer know how much you appreciate their feedback and that they had a good experience. This will encourage others to leave positive reviews, which in return will improve your reputation and your search ranking.

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Keep in mind that while monitoring online reviews can be a challenging endeavor, the positive side is that we now have infinitely more feedback on our businesses than ever before, and that should be a good thing (trolls not withstanding).  Good luck with your online reputation and feel free to give us a call if you would like us to give you a hand.

Social Media Aids in Rescue Efforts

The growth of social media has been an integral part of our society over the past 10+ years. From keeping up with friends and family; to getting a new job; to finding new clients, people across the globe have found one reason or another to be on a social network. Recently, people in the lines of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma used social media as a way to seek help during the storms.

With limited cellphone service and electricity out for thousands of people, social media came as a form of rescue by providing real-time updates on storm tracks, and a place for people to state where they were located so emergency crews could provide help.

One of the best examples of social media coming to the rescue was when a photo of residents at an assisted-living facility were shown sitting in waist high water due to floods went viral. According to USA Today, Twitter user Tim McIntosh tweeted the photo from Tampa, FL just before 9am Eastern along with a cry for help. His mother-in-law actually owned the facility in Dickinson, Texas, just outside of Houston. Thankfully, the tweet was retweeted almost 3,000 times and the residents were rescued a little after 12 pm.

 Photo: Trudy Lampson

Photo: Trudy Lampson

Also, since cellphone service was dicey during the storms, many people relied on Facebook and other networks instead of calling 911 as they normally would. Amie Swinford, an unofficial volunteer during Hurricane Harvey, was able to help those in Houston by using the Facebook group Hurricane Harvey 2017 – Together We Will Make It. "When you see that somebody has posted that they're on their roof with their one-, three- and four-year-olds and the water's up to the roof line, you have to be willing to make that phone call for them," she says. Winford, located north of Houston, contacted emergency services and sent out tweets on behalf of those who reached out in this group to help get them to safety (www.npr.com).

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Over the years, people have complained about Facebook and other networks being used as a platform to belt out harsh political views over and over again and to share ‘useless’ videos. It’s been refreshing to see social networks used as a true lifeline for those desperately in need of help. As a social media manager, you tend to think you’ve seen it all. In this case, I welcome that ‘in awe’ feeling of seeing what communities can accomplish in a time of need in the future.

The Facebook Pixel: What You Need to Know

Unhappy with your Facebook Ads results? Not exactly sure how Facebook Ads work, but by now, you think you probably have made some sales from them? With the Facebook pixel, you can take the guesswork out. You can also access analytics galore (more than print, radio, and television, by the way) that can help you target the right customers in order to reach your ad goals.

What Is It?

In simplest terms, the Facebook pixel is a tool that allows advertisers to measure effectiveness and track conversions from Facebook ads, automatically optimize ads, and create retargeted ads.

Track Conversions

Yes, the Facebook pixel actually allows you to see if you’ve made any sales based on a Facebook ad click. Not only this, but your campaign will tell you how many sales occurred, when they happened, and in many cases, the amount that was spent and how much each conversion cost you in terms of ad spend. What's more, you can dive in deeper and see which gender made the purchase, which day of the week it was made on, and more! Facebook will also set you up with ways to target the right people in order to help you reach your conversion goal, or “event.”

In addition to purchase/reservation transactions, advertisers can track a number of website events, which include:

  • Purchase

  • Lead

  • Complete Registration

  • Add Payment Info

  • Initiate Checkout

  • Add to Cart

  • Add to Wishlist

  • Search

  • View Content

  • Custom conversions

If your business is hoping to track any of these events, then the Facebook Pixel is a must.

How It Works

Facebook will provide you with a code specific to your ad account that you will then place on the backend of your website code. Trust us, it’s not as scary as it sounds. You then activate it on Facebook and voilà -- your pixel is tracking.

Optimize Audience

As mentioned before, once the pixel reaches a conversion threshold (e.g. Purchase, Registration Complete, Add to Cart, etc.), Facebook will start optimizing your ads in order to show them to people who are more likely to convert based on your goals. A lookalike audience can be created from this data, which essentially is an audience that Facebook believes is similar in demographics & interests to the people who have visited your website.

Retargeting

Have you ever shopped for shoes online, left the store’s website without purchasing, only to find that those shoes are following you around Facebook? That’s remarketing (aka retargeting). With the pixel, you can retarget visitors who have been on your website, back on Facebook. You can choose to retarget everyone who visits your website, just those taking a specific action, or those visiting specific pages of your website.

So while we’ve just covered the basics of the Facebook pixel here, there is no doubt that this little tool is packed with power. It can take a lot of the unknowns out of how well your Facebook ads are performing, and if your business is making any conversions from advertising. If you need assistance or just have questions about the Facebook pixel, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can help set your website up with the Facebook pixel, run Facebook Advertising for your business, or simply just answer a question you may have about the pixel.