As people have become more open about what they doing and sharing thoughts about almost everything online and it has started to influence people.
The amount of data shared shows that not everyone is worried about privacy and they are happy to share their experiences with whoever is listening.
This lead to something very interesting, people believing the word of a complete stranger and they base their decision on it.
We are all seeing the impact of this on various sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and many more.
The better the rank is, the more traffic and bookings a hotel gets. All of this is based on the fact that people trust the wisdom of the crowd. This is why what is being said online about you has become so important to monitor. Your business rides on this because if the crowd says that this hotel does not provide great experiences then you can expect to not get bookings as a result.
Now, how do you maintain this reputation?
First step, provide remarkable experiences consistently.
This leads to people talking about you on these channels and it starts fuelling word of mouth growth.
Here is why this is important (source:Nielson.com)
•90% people trust recommendations of friends and family.
•70% people trust online reviews.
Once you provide the experience it spreads and people look for recommendations offline or online.
The ones who are comfortable with leaving reviews online add to the wisdom of crowds. These are the individuals who fuel your online review growth. Give them the tools with which they can share the experience.
How can you get them to review you?
There are two ways, ask them or provide such a memorable experience that you don’t even have to ask.
Two easy ways to get it started if you ask are:
•Email checked out guests with a link to the review site.
•Ask them to review the hotel in person.
Here is an endorsement of two hotels that are doing well on Trip Advisor and they got it from Seth Godin. For those who don’t know him he has written 13 bestselling books, his blog is considered one of the most influential and number one marketing blog in the world.
The direct result of him talking about this on his blog resulted in bookings at each of these hotels. How do I know?
Check the reviews on TripAdvisor and read what they said.
The hotel provided the experience first and then the endorsement happened.
There is another breed of traveller, the one who shares information instantly. They experience something and then they share it straight away without any delay. These are the guests that start sharing while they are on property.
Twitter has become a major source for this because of the easy and instant nature of it.
When someone starts sharing experiences while on property, it is the right time to join the conversation if it is positive and resolve a situation (offline) if it is negative.
Here is an example of what happens when you meet where the traveller is and how he shares it with his circle of influence
Marc Benioff is the CEO of Salesforce.com, they did $2 billion in revenue in 2011, sharing his experience about Corinthia hotel meeting him “where he lives”.
The influencers/evangelists can be anywhere and on any platform. The key is to provide a remarkable experience first, then give the traveller the tools for reviewing or meet the traveller where they are talking about you and start engaging.