Our recent webinar on maximizing reviews on TripAdvisor brought together a lot of hoteliers and professionals from the hospitality industry. It was clearly a topic that interested all kinds of accommodation providers. Our panel of experienced speakers included Fernando Oliveira, Senior Manager of Review Express, TripAdvisor and John Pribble, owner of German Village Guest House – Ranked the #1 B&B on TripAdvisor in the Columbus metropolitan area, who were best suited to address the topic.
While Fernando shared interesting statistics about how travelers are considering reviews before making a reservation and why hoteliers should embrace reviews to drive business, John elaborated from an independent hotelier’s perspective and also shared his secret sauce for attracting travelers.
Highlighting the Power of Automation
Both John and Fernando emphasized how an automated review collection strategy using tools like Review Express integrated with a PMS can help hotels increase the number of reviews a hotel receives. Both were of the opinion that automation allows an independent hotel to ‘Set it and Forget it’ so that they can focus on improving guest experience and marketing.
John Pribble, who uses the Hotelogix PMS to automate his review collection pointed out how the integration has increased the number of reviews he receives by 300%, giving him an edge over his competitors. He now focuses on improving the guest satisfaction and responding to reviews.
This webinar was also the first time that Fernando spoke about private surveys to a group of hoteliers and explained the advantages of using it in combination with Review Express.
The last few minutes of the webinar had Fernando and John answering questions, which revealed some interesting insights, such as:
What do you think personally is more valuable for a hotel manager – review on TripAdvisor or the personal survey?
John: They both have value for different reasons: I think the reviews allow guests to comment on the things that are important to them and the surveys allow the innkeeper to ask focused questions to optimize a specific part of the service.
Does Review Express work with a Legacy PMS?
Fernando: Well, in the ideal scenario, Review Express can be automated with a Cloud PMS. With a legacy system, in our experience, it can be very complicated; you may need to update your system in order for it to work, etc. So I would say the ideal solution is to use a Cloud PMS and that’s why we’re working closely with Hotelogix.
Will the number of reviews increase my hotel’s ranking on TripAdvisor? What are the factors that can increase my ranking?
Fernando: The number of reviews itself will not increase your ranking. As John and I mentioned during the webinar- the recency, the quantity and the quality; all go into increasing a hotel’s ranking. These are not the only factors, but are very important.
How do you respond to bad reviews?
John: First, I try to correct the source of the problem so that it doesn’t create more bad reviews. Then I acknowledge the guest’s point-of-view, apologize for the issue and accept responsibility for every part of the situation that we own. Most of the time, I think a guest just wants to make sure that they have been heard. Often our best guests will let us know we have dropped the ball privately rather than using a public forum.