Dan Fernandez, Concord, HSMAI Marketing Advisory Board Member
The HSMAI Marketing Advisory Board met to discuss the trends and impacts in online reputation management, spurred by several recent studies. One study published by STR, Cornell, and Review Pro showed that even a small increase in online reviews could have a big impact on conversion rates and ADR. A second study by Hospitality Technology found that positive consumer reviews were rated as extremely important to travelers when making their decision to select one hotel over another, second only to free Wi-Fi.
We discussed how to best manage online reputations and ratings. In addition, we discussed how reputational management seems to be evolving past the stand numbered ratings, with increasing influence from consumer generated videos and photos shared on social media.
Top 3 Insights from the HSMAI Marketing Advisory Boards Discussion on Online Reputation Management
- Reputation management is much more than the number rankings – there is a lot of intangible content within social media that we find impacting a consumer’s perception of our properties.
- Videos could become even more influential as platforms like TikTok and YouTube are increasingly used as sources for travel information on specific properties. For Gen Z, TikTok is often used as their primary search engine.
- Strengthening communication between digital and operations is key to utilize and improve reputation management.
Where Does Online Reputational Management Live?
For reputational management, many companies are strengthening their communication between digital and operations. Often, the digital team is the keeper of the data and analysis and there has been an increase in collaboration with operations to improve any pain points and continue activities that were garnering positive reviews.
- Conduct regular sentiment analysis – read all the positive and negative reviews and identify trends to share with operations.
- Hold regular meetings between the digital and operations teams to share learned feedback from the analysis of guest commentary.
Reputation Management is Evolving
Our discussion quickly turned towards trends in online management and a shift, especially in younger consumers, toward social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram as a source for travel information. The group wished there was more sentiment analysis available for such platforms. The value in reviews from sites like trip advisor is the functionality they offer in breaking down categories of the review. It helps both consumers find what is important to them and helps us identify trends in our operations.
- Measure the potential of social media’s persuasiveness to potential guests by looking at the number of views, comments, and if possible, conversions happening across these channels. Factor in guest perception into your social content strategy.
- Reviews with images, videos, or are verified have more value and could be encouraging the trend towards video or visual based medium.