We know that the Hotel Customer Experience today starts Online, and in many ways is influenced through your Hotels customers Social Network activities.
Still some of the key challenges today is;
- - Why don’t we see increased booking conversions?
- - How can we increase occupancy and revenue with Social Media?
- - How can our Hotel tap into New Media market segments?
- - How do we address concerns gone viral?
- - How can Social Media help us improve our Review Ratings?
The AIDA model
Hotel Customers goes through a four step process before they make an educated booking decision;
A – Awareness
The first process is awareness.
This is a split process where customer first identify a need that will require an Hotel Reservation. The second part is where the Hotel trigger awareness that meets the Customers needs. Obviously if the Customer is not aware of your Hotel then you will experience some challenges with persuade them.
I – Interest
The second part of the process is interest.
This is also a split process. First part consist of listening to their challenges. The second part it to engage with them, and demonstrate things that can solve their challenge.
D – Desire
The third part is desire.
This is the part where narrow down the interest, and create a desire towards what you want them to do. Here you can show how others approve your service, and also show how your solve their challenges.
A – Action
The fourth part is action.
If all the previous elements is in sync the customers is then in position to make an educated booking decision. You want to be in a positon where you can ask your customer for a Direct Booking on your Hotels Website.
Social Networking & Collaboration the spice that trigger Reviews
According to TripAdvisor 44% of US Travelers will in 2013 made an educated booking decision based on online reviews. In 2012 TripAdvisor reported that 42% use Social Media for Travel planning, and 40% for Travel Inspiration. 76% said they share their experience with their Social Networks.
The primary reason travelers share their trip experiences on social networks is to update friends and family on their whereabouts, according to 36 percent and 27 percent noted the fun to share all their exciting photos and news. Thirty-seven percent think social networks have made travel planning easier.
Like many Facebook user I have my connected my Facebook account with my TripAdvisor account. This shift has started to develop new unique patterns. My Social Networks friends opinions will have more weight then a standard opinion. And when I see that someone from the Hotel took time to respond to my Social Networks friends opinion this add even more value when I make my booking decision.
My friends at Software Advice a company that provides free reviews of hotel management software, did a case study “How the Four Seasons Hotel Maintains Top TripAdvisor Ratings”.
The Four Seasons Hotel in Austin had dropped from 20th to 27th on TripAdvisors Popularity Index. This triggered action from the management team where they started to monitor Social Media Mentions. The Team also utilized the power of Social CTA (Call To Actions) in emails.
But the team discovered there was a connection between Social CTA and Reputation Management. They teamed up with Revinate to go beyond the Like, Follower, +1 and Connections.
The key to understand here is that Social Networks is very Dynamic, all content and interaction here is live. And the time frame for capturing and responding to vital information is very short.
Reviews with 3 stars or less has a response time within 24 hours. The team has put in place a great content strategy for their responses:
- 1- Thank the customer for their time writing a review
- 2- Acknowledge any positive comments
- 3- Apologize for the specific complaint or issue
- 4- Explain a specific, forward-looking plan of how the hotel will fix the problem
- 5- Invite the customer to come back
The Customer Experience contains new elements that like Social Network and Collaboration. Customer today no longer share their experience with their ten closest friends they share it with thousands of their Social Network Friends.
Even brands like Four Seasons that is known for their maintaining a high level of service can’t afford not to monitor and measure their online reputation. Services like Revinateallows them to indentify and respond to concerns within proper time frames.
Social Networks like Facebook and Google+ has now added Five Star rating to their service. 2013 has just show us the tip of the iceberg where Reviews and Reputation Management is heading.
I will say so strong that if your Hotel in 2014 leave Review and Reputation Management strategies off the table you’re on the path to closing the doors. With the explosion of Mobile devices Hotels will miss the boat if they don’t get onboard soon.
Should Hotels stick to business as usual, or do you believe Review & Reputation Management will be part of every Hotels tool box?