How to boost you hotel review score?
The importance of a good review score on online sources for the hotel is difficult to overestimate. All hoteliers, regardless of their experience, know that review score directly affects their financial performance.
It used to be different in the past – a hotel with quite a low review score could still have high occupancy and a good ADR, but 2020 has made significant adjustments to this practice.
First of all, it happened due to changes in priority segments during the period of quarantine restrictions – the segment of "group tourism" has significantly decreased, for many hotels, the FIT (frequent individual traveler) segment comes out on top. And guests of this segment particularly tend to take into account the ranking when choosing a hotel.
- 81% always or often read the reviews before booking
- 79% will give their preference to the hotel with higher review score if all other indicators are the same
- 52% will never book a hotel without reading the reviews.
How to get the coveted numbers?
You will find many articles about treating guests as your friends, anticipating their wishes, and that every hotel employee should embody the care for the guest. In general, it is true and, if desired, easily implemented for small family hotels.
However, how do you get this to work in a larger hotel? What if you have several hotels? In Mozart Hotel Group we are deeply convinced that the growth of rankings is one of the highest priority tasks, which means that the work should be organized systematically. This article is devoted to the construction of a working system for increasing hotel review scores.
The main components of the system:
- Training and standards
To manage the situation, you should be well-informed about it.
The first stage is data collection. It is necessary to collect and structure the information about your review score on the priority Internet resources for your hotel. Write down the most common complaints of guests, and also indicate what the hotel is most often praised for. Add information about your competitors to the same table (analyze at least 5 main competitors).
Based on this data, you will clearly see what the main pain points of the hotel are, how it feels compared to its competitors, so you will be able to develop a package of measures to improve the situation. For every bad review, the staff will have a reason, and, in most cases, "there are no culprits".
This is a subjective picture though. Comparing reviews, rankings, and the state of affairs of competitors, you will add objectivity to it. No need to choose weak players, choose the strong ones, but only those with whom you can really compete, then the analysis will not be wasted and it will help you move forward.
In addition to the list of actions, you need to set targets for a certain period and the points of control. For example, in Mozart Hotel Group, the Management Company and the top management of the hotels approve the annual and monthly review score plans.
It is important to determine which indicators to set in the form of a plan. The visible score on different sites is calculated differently in accordance with the internal regulations of the resource, and it is not always possible to quickly influence its change due to objective reasons.
For example, if you had a lot of bad reviews last year, then it does not mean that in the current year, even with a large number of positive reviews, the visible score will change, it simply takes time.
That is why we set a plan for reviews within periods. We will not discuss the calculation system in detail here. It is important that you can really influence the implementation of the plan in a given period.
We use reports with rankings and the number of reviews for a long period of time, which are updated monthly, so when setting plans, it is possible to predict in advance how the result achieved in a month/year will affect the visible score.
Set your priorities. There are a lot of online sites, where reviews are posted, and setting a plan for everything means dispersing your efforts. Choose 1-3 of the most important ones for you and focus on them. Many years of practice prove that it is enough because the efforts aimed at improving reviews on these sites affect others in a positive way.
You need to monitor the situation constantly. Determine the frequency with which you will evaluate the achieved result. Do not forget to work with the reviews you get, not only responding to them, but also taking actions based on them, because this is the most important source of information.
To do this, it is convenient to use one of the platforms for working with reviews, there are many of them, choose one based on your budget and needs.
Training and standards.
So, you have formed the action plan to improve the reviews, found your pain points, and even set a goal that you will strive for. Now it is time to work on the standards that will help bring this plan to life.
If you already have standards, check them for relevance and compliance with your goals, create them if you haven’t developed them yet. Do not write long stories, be brief, describe only important processes and what you can implement now.
Leave for the future the scenarios that are unrealistic to implement at the moment, you do not need to include them in the documents, hoping that they will work later when something changes. The staff very quickly loses interest in documents that have no practical value and the attitude to them becomes as follows – they read diagonally and forget.
Unfortunately, the written standards will not work themselves, it is important to properly convey information to the staff. Remember yourself at the university, did you learn a lot from textbooks or lectures?
Most students could better remember the information from practical classes when the material was presented in an interesting way when the teacher involved them in the process. Implement this approach in the training of your employees. You can either organize training yourself if you have the potential or attract experienced trainers.
Training should not be one-time, refresh their knowledge and upgrade your employees ' skills periodically. Of course, checking the knowledge and skills plays an important role. You can use evaluation systems, testing systems, mystery guests, and other tools.
To achieve results, it is important that employees not only know what to do and how to do it but also really want to do it. Many people will be ready to argue with me on this issue and say that employees receive salaries and must perform their work efficiently.
Yes, such conscious employees, of course, exist, but it is naïve to seriously expect that the staff of a hotel with a noticeable number of rooms (or a small chain) will consist exclusively of selfless workaholics.
The motivation system will help increase the level of employees' interest in achieving the planned indicators. There are a lot of different systems, choose the one that is suitable for you. Correctly identify the key people who influence the achievement of the desired result, and aim the motivational program at them.
All hotel employees influence guest reviews in one way or another, but if you can afford to allocate only a small budget for a motivational program, it is better to choose a few key people and focus on them than to "spread" money on more people, since small bonuses do not motivate.
Based on the experience of the Management Company, we can say that even a motivational program aimed only at the General Manager of the hotel gives good results.
In addition to financial motivation, do not forget to share the results with the staff, praise them for good work, inspire them emotionally to achieve new goals, arrange internal competitions and spur their enthusiasm.
May you have Good reviews and high RevPAR, colleagues!