Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written two posts that attracted a lot of attention and feedback. Both the “12 Reputations Every Company Should Monitor Online” and “Advice for Managing Negative Reviews of Hotels or Small Businesses” posts caused quite a stir, so I thought I’d combine the two. Hence my 10 reputations every hotel should monitor online.
Level 1 – Critical
1. Your Hotel Name
Without doubt, if a guest is going to have something negative (or positive) to say about your hotel, she’s going to mention the name of it. At the very least you should monitor the web for the name of your hotel and any variations. For example, while your official hotel name may be “Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel,” many guests will refer to it as the “Hapuna Beach Hotel” or maybe simply the “Hapuna Hotel.” Determine the most common variations of your hotel name, and track these at a minimum.
Level 2 – Important
2. Your Legacy Hotel Names
This is somewhat related to #1 but may not apply to all resorts. If your hotel has recently changed ownership–or just changed its name–you must continue to monitor the web for the old name. While you may now be known as the “Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans Hotel,” a complaining guest might still post a negative review using the older “Riverfront Hotel” name.
3. Your Restaurants
Maybe a guest had a fabulous time staying at your hotel, but found a cockroach crawling in one of your restaurants–yuck! Many travelers rate their experience of a hotel by the quality of its restaurants’ food and service. Make sure you add the names of all your in-house restaurants–especially if you have guests dine with you, who perhaps don’t even stay in one of your rooms.
4. Your Hotel Manager
There’s a good chance your guests know the name of your hotel manager. Maybe they met him at a cocktail reception, perhaps they saw his name over the reception desk, or maybe they complained to him onsite and felt he didn’t adequately address their concerns. Either way, there’s a good chance that any complaint or feedback will include the name of your general (or shift) manager.
Level 3 – Valuable
5. Your Concierge
You hope that the one person who ensures your guests have a fabulous stay is your concierge. After all, its the job of your concierge to help travelers find great activities and attractions. Monitoring the web for the name of your concierge has two benefits. One, if he’s not up to par, you’ll know you need a new one. Two, if your guests are bragging on TripAdvisor about how great your concierge is, perhaps you need to give him a raise!
6. Niche Travel Writers
If you’re monitoring the above items, the chances are you’ll know if a travel writer or blogger has mentioned your hotel in a review. If you have the time, you might want to specifically monitor the name of those individuals that focus on your resort area or destination. Knowing that a finicky critic just reviewed a local hotel and found it to be terrible, will give you a huge advantage. First, you’ll know that the writer might still be in the area and may descend on your resort. Second, you can read what they did or didn’t like and adjust your hotel services accordingly–maybe even drop them an email in the process.
7. Your Disgruntled Employees
The hospitality industry has a high employee turnover rate. You employees may be with you just for the high season, they may move on to another resort, or you might have to fire someone for stealing from a guest room. If an employee left on particularly bad terms, then I’d recommend keeping an eye out for where he might re-surface. If he starts a “[Your Hotel Name] Sucks” blog and starts airing your dirty laundry, you’d want to know about that pretty quickly–certainly before your future guests find it in Google.
Level 4 – Optional
8. Your Resort Area
You may not have the time to monitor ALL of the news from the travel and hospitality industry, but it might be worth taking the time to monitor news from your resort area. Knowing which hotels are closing, new conferences coming to the convention center, or planned developments, will give you an early warning of anything that might effect your accommodation.
9. Your Parent Chain
Honestly, if you’re owned by Hilton or Intercontinental, your parent company should already monitor the web for attacks on the global brand. The reality is that not enough hotels monitor reputations at the corporate level. Monitoring the web for mention of “Hilton” would overwhelm most individual hotel management. Instead, if you do have the resources, monitor the impact your parent company has on your local area. If you’re owned by the Hilton group, then monitoring the web for “Hilton California” might alert you if the LA Times decides to write an investigative piece on the chain–of interest, if you’re located in Los Angeles!
10. Your Competition
Lastly there’s definitely some value in keeping a close eye on neighboring hotels and resorts. An alert whenever your big rival offers a new promotional rate, planning a renovation or just received a 1 star review on a travel site, might help you determine your next marketing strategy.
Is this a complete list? Not by any means! What reputations your hotel monitors will depend on its unique circumstances, and how you respond would fill up dozens more articles (reading my book Radically Transparent is a good start). If you have any suggestions of other reputations to monitor, please leave them in the comments below. And feel free to contact me with any questions or if your hotel needs reputation management advice.