In my daily reading yesterday morning I came across this article: What Hoteliers And Restauranteurs Can Learn From The “Ford Fiesta Movement” By Tom Costello http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/154000392/4055989.html. I highly suggest you read it first and then come back here. The point about brand advocates is very important to take to heart.
It brought to mind the same question that I keep getting asked by innkeepers, at conferences, on the phone, by emails, by twitter and on my blog. “Do we or should we respond to every review, especially positive reviews?”
Various marketer disagree on this, they think that only bad ones should be replied to. I don’t agree.
Fallowfields Hotel in England I think does a fabulous job of responding to reviews, ALL reviews.
For those innkeepers with small establishments who say, it’s a hotel, it’s a very small hotel, it only has 10 rooms. Anthony does all his own social media plus running an inn and a restaurant as well. I am always amazed.
Think about it though, a response, while targeted to the reviewer, is primarily for the thousands of people that will be reading your reviews (and your responses) for many years to come, on the 800 lb gorilla that is Tripadvisor, and many of it’s smaller cousins, its not just for the reviewer.
In responding to reviews, both positive, negative and in between, you are showing viewers of the reviews that A. You take the time to care what’s being said about you. B. You are going the extra mile to thank them for leaving the review (some thing that is so simple yet goes so far) and C. Showing engagement, in that there is a response.
Why should a Tripadvisor review be any different from a fan posting something complimentary on your Facebook Fan page? Hopefully you would respond to that. Why not a review, where the target eyes on your business listing is a hundred times, nay a thousand times, larger in terms of visibility?
Tripadvisor likes to encourage lodging, to encourage their guests, to leave reviews (not from the lodging establishment though). So you as innkeeper send out emails, send postcards, leave note cards in the rooms and include the suggestion in email newsletters amongst other things.
From the perspective of a guest at that point who is home, busy, probably working or at work, with a bazillion other things on my mind, if I had a nice time where I stayed, and I took time out of my very busy life to stop, actually go to Tripadvisor (or wherever) and write a review, I as a guest have gone out of my way for you.
As an innkeeper, your past guest just did you a huge favor, a few words back is the least you can do.
Both Tripadvisor and Yelp send reviewers an email if there is a management response. The point in the blog by Tom Costello is that guests who leave good reviews are your brand ambassadors and brand advocates, take the minute to respond to them and keep them. Retention is key.
A Thank you doesn’t cost anything except a minute of your time. Whats the ROI on that? Priceless.