There are clever, smart ways to encourage guests to leave good reviews for your hotel… and then there are the rather more daft approaches made by Basil Fawlty types.
For an example of the latter, look no further than the owner of the Royal Clarence Hotel in Somerset, who decided to label one group of guests “muppets” after they allegedly demanded a refund in exchange for a positive review.
Harsh? We’ll let you be the judge of that, but there’s no arguing this isn’t really the way to treat guests - or paint an image of yourself online as a hotel owner.
This chap’s anger is understandable, even if his way of dealing with it is somewhat questionable. Hoteliers know the value of good reviews - they improve rankings on review sites, OTAs and search engines - therefore obtaining them and dealing with the negative stuff is a highly emotive topic.
It goes without saying you shouldn’t bribe guests into leaving decent reviews on TripAdvisor, but there are a number of legitimate, fair ways you can increase the chances of them doing so:
Never compromise on service - ever
Let’s get this one out of the way, immediately.
For guests to leave decent reviews, you need to provide a stellar service each and every time they step into your hotel. If you run your business like a tight ship and have a team that values customer service above all else, you’re already halfway there.
Mention it during the check-out process
Think about how often you’re asked by waiting staff to leave reviews on TripAdvisor when they hand you the bill at the end of the meal.
As a hotelier, you absolutely need to do the same thing. During the check-out process, encourage reception staff to ask if the guest had an enjoyable stay. If the answer is “yes”, encourage them to share their experience on TripAdvisor.
This is by far the best time to ask, because the positive vibe you’ve created for them will be fresh in their mind.
Send a follow-up email
Clearly, not every guest is going to take up - or remember - your suggestion that they leave a review, but there’s a neat way you can remind them to do so.
A day or so after the stay, schedule a follow-up email (most decent hotel booking systems will have this feature built in) that repeats the words of the reception staff and includes a direct link to your hotel’s listing on TripAdvisor.
“We’d love to see you again”, “thanks for staying with us”, “why not leave us a review?” are the kind of things you want to be saying in this ultra-simple email.
Keep an eye on social media
If you’re using software to keep an eye on mentions of your hotel on social media, you can pounce on the positive stuff (you’ll need to do the same with the negative mentions, but that’s for another blog).
For instance, if you spot a tweet that tells the story of a wonderful stay at your property, retweet it first, but then reply. Thank the guest for taking the time to tweet and kindly ask that they leave their happy thoughts on TripAdvisor for you, too.
Positive guest reviews aren’t easy to come by, no matter how high your guest satisfaction rate.
People lead busy lives, and therefore often need encouragement (and the odd reminder) to do their bit on TripAdvisor if they thought your hotel was particularly wonderful.
Don’t be afraid to give them a gentle nudge!