In the hotel business, guest complaints are inevitable. But negative reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp are not. By being proactive about customer service, hotels can reduce the number of negative reviews they receive on these influential websites.
Online reviews can make or break a hotel. We know, anecdotally and through industry studies, that reviews matter to customers when they decide where to book. One study suggests that if prices are equal, travellers are almost 4 times more likely to choose the hotel with higher ratings. Many travellers will even pay higher prices for a better-ranked hotel.
In today’s online marketplace of hotel bookings, even one bad review can exert a big impact. A survey conducted by TripAdvisor indicates that 80% of TripAdvisor users read six to twelve reviews of a hotel before booking. With the stakes this high, preventing customer dissatisfaction has never been more important.
Of course, customers will always have grievances and requests. But hotels can respond to these requests more effectively. Fortunately, most customers don’t expect perfection. What customers want is simply to be heard. When a customer makes a complaint to a hotel employee, they want and deserve an appropriate response from hotel management.
When this doesn’t happen, a guest leaves the hotel unhappy. Negative reviews are the predictable result. In fact, many negative reviews say that the customer brought an issue to the attention of hotel staff, only to be ignored or poorly placated. To change this cycle, hotels need to ensure that every complaint is addressed before a guest checks out, not after.
If and when a guest encounters a problem, hotels actually have a unique opportunity to impress and engage customers. But in order for problems to be handled well on a consistent basis, effective systems need to be in place.
How can hotel owners and managers ensure that all guest complaints are recorded and dealt with appropriately? While hotels have many different procedures in place to respond to customer issues, it’s surprising how few hotels make full use of modern cloud and mobile technology.
As any user of a smartphone knows, recording information in an app tends to be much easier to retrieve than entrusting memory or scattered notes. Fortunately, new software programs for hotels can intervene, helping hotels improve their customer service on a systematic level.
One such program, HotelTap, allows staff to create a database of all guest complaints, organized by department. This benefits both managers and staff members. For staff, tasks that need completion become much easier to track. Managers and owners are alerted immediately about any problem, and can take steps to rectify the issue as soon as possible. The software is fully compatible with mobile devices.
Because HotelTap uses the cloud to store data, it is not even necessary that managers be on the premises to monitor guest complaints. As long as an owner or manager has an Internet connection, it’s possible to remain aware of even the smallest of details.
On a larger level, HotelTap enables managers to keep track of long-term trends in guest complaints. Is there a certain type of complaint that keeps coming up? Or a location within the hotel that produces a disproportionate number of complaints? HotelTap can tell. With this information in hand, managers can be pro-active and work to prevent guest complaints in the first place.
In today’s world, customer data is critical even for small businesses. To make your hotel the very best it can be, you need to know what guests are saying while they’re at the hotel. That might give you the chance at rectifying any problems and keeping guests happy. Train your staff to be proactive in asking about a guest’s stay before they check out. By far, this system is preferable to learning about customer grievances on TripAdvisor or Yelp a week later.
For employees, managers and owners in limited service hotels, who are using paper log books for communications, we offer a cloud solution for responding to guest requests, completing tasks, and managing their operations with email and mobile notifications. Visit www.hoteltap.com or call us at 1-844-381-7221 to schedule a demo.