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Report of the 3rd Congress Love @ First Site on reviews and reputation management

HSMAI – Hands-On Advies conference Love @ first sight

Date – 23 September 2014

Location – Worldhotel Bel Air Den Haag

 

Annually the HSMAI organizes many events including the annual Love @ First Site conference. This conference, in collaboration with Janneke Nijenhuis (owner Hands-On Advice and My Reputation Dashboard) always has a online theme. The theme for the 2014 conference was:

It's all about Reviews now!

Consumer Opinion Can Make or Break Your Brand! Various studies show that consumers and guests have the power to make or break your brand. Consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and it is the most influential factor when they’re deciding to make a purchase. Online reputation and customer reviews are critical to the success of any business and therefore business owners should not be ignoring the impact online reviews of service and products can have (positive or negative)

 

This year’s conference was all about dealing with reviews, how to react, when to react, best practices and tips by experts:

 

Arne Keuning from TravelNext (www.travelnext.nl)

Stephan Bosman from Zoover (www.zoover.nl)

Jaap van Zessen from buzzcapture (www.buzzcapture.nl)

Steven de Jong from Olifant Media (www.olifantmedia.com)

Janneke Nijenhuis from Hands-On Advies and My Reputation Dashboard (www.handsonadvies.nl and www.myreputationdashboard.com)

Arne Keuning Don’t be afraid bad reviews

Arne Keuning of TravelNext was the keynote opening speaker. He started of by telling a story about the wines of ‘Domaince des Marotte’. By telling this story of birth to success of these wines he included reviews about the wine, the shop in Diepenveen and the Domaine itself.

 

Reviews describe important features of a product, store or service as experienced by consumers and users. The purpose of reviews is to give impartial, honest and true information  to help other consumers/users to make better informed choices.

 

How to deal with negative reviews – Tips from Arne

(Arne pointed out that only 9% of all tweets about the top 100 advertisers in June 2014 included negative feedback – so it’s not all negative!).

 

Do’s

  • Take time to reflect – take a deep breath and think very carefully about your response;
  • Take every review seriously;
  • show empathy and address all concerns of the customer;
  • Accept the fact that some people just want to complain;
  • Involve positive guests/consumers in the conversation;
  • Encourage positive reviews from clients (facilitate this by means of a link, ticket or private message).

Don’ts

  • Ignore;
  • Deny;
  • Discuss it online too long – take the discussion offline;
  • Be emotional.

The impact of social media on reviews
As an example Arne tells a story about RTL anchor man Jan de Hoop – He lost his luggage on a trip and upon arrival at the hotel he was told the hotel was overbooked. Jan posted a twitter message about his unfortunate luck and within 30 minutes the largest national  newspaper covered the story.  Just an example of the power of social media and what one tweet could do.

 

Arne emphasizes the PEEC method - how are you going to dialogue (through social media)

 

• Personal

(recognize the client, its destination, history and contact preferences, etc)

• Empathetic

(share the feeling)

• Efficient

(quick and efficient)

• Customer-oriented

(respond from a customer oint of view - not from your own operational point of view)

 

The PEEC method empowers your staff to respond to reviews and start a personal dialogue with guests.

 

Ranking = Business

The more reviews, the higher the ranking in both review sites as well as Google Ranking.

           

Opportunities? Plenty!

  • Listening gives insight information;
  • Positive reviews result in higher yield;
  • Reviews improve products and services;
  • Reviews alert "friends".

Jaap van Zessen: Handling online reviews?

There are limits to the credibility of online reviews. Consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations; 52% of consumers say that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business. In addition, personal reviews are found to be more reliable than anonymous reviews. Research also showed that negative information is more credible than positive information.

 

Facts

20% of consumers write reviews.
75% of consumers reads revises and is influenced by them.

 

Does one need a Full Time Web care employee?

No, even small business can organize web care without it costing too much time or money. As an example Jaap refers to the municipality of Almere which is one of the most active municipalities on social media.  Almere was convinced that there was a need for a full time staff member for web care and social media. However, after investigation it was found that only 11 tweets each day were sent out. Absolutely no full-time job.

 

In addition to this one saves time as online reviews relief telephone pressure and it provides you with excellent free market research.

 

Calculate how much time it takes to read and respond to reviews  
Twitter and Facebook accounts are created in fifteen minutes, but this is just the start. From this point onwards one has to monitor and post and respond. Therefore its suggested you try to make an estimate number of messages that are posted about your company or brand. Then you have an indication of how much time it will take you to read adequately respond. For some companies this is a full time job, for others it will only take 10 minutes a day.

 

Strategy: How to respond to negative reviews
It is important to respond in a timely and professional manner to reviews. If possible try to take the discussion offline. By trying to take the issue offline, you avoid a back-and-forth that could draw even more unwanted attention to the review. If successful in resolving the issue offline, you can  then politely ask the customer to revise their review to note that their complaint was addressed.

 

Jaap tips on how to increase involvement of consumers

  • Turn consumers into FB fans or twitter followers;
  • Follow and like others – they will follow back;
  • Ask guest to check in on Facebook or Foursquare entering your property;
  • Display tweets on a video screen in the lobby, it will encourage others to join.

 

At the end of the presentation it was highlighted that the hospitality industry is appealing for people to talk about online. Lots of consumers use social media to talk about their holidays and to show off where they have been or what restaurant they have visited. Make use of this appealing feature of this industry!

Steven de Jong: Let your FANS do the marketing

With reviews, more is more. On average, a consumer wants to see at least two to three reviews before he or she deems your business trustworthy

 

How to collect more reviews?

  • A unique promotion;
  • A unique experience;
  • A unique property;
  • A unique location;
  • Unique reviews;
  • Unique content.

 

Communication is changing, but one thing always remains the same: people collect a close circle of people around them which they trust. Today its no longer about the product; its all about the people who use the product. Rather than being informed from the brand themselves, customers now want to hear a genuine opinion from another customer with a trusted and authentic voice in this digital age of online customer reviews

 

It’s important to get into this inner circle of people through social media. If a friend likes a product or service it will be more impressive than any of the information given by your company. Offer a unique promotion, a unique experience to engage customers. Some great examples given by Steven: the T-rex in Naturalis, the Smurfs Village in Spain and platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station.

 

Facebook recently launched Facebook Graph Search

 

Facebook graph

Graph Search is a search engine that is integrated with Facebook’s social graphs. The search engine processes natural language queries to return information from across the user’s social network of friends and connections or beyond, depending on the search. Potential applications of Graph Search include job searches, employee recruitment, marketing and online dating, among a great number of other possibilities.

Here are some examples of searches:

Restaurants that my friends like in New York City.
People in my company who like running.
Single men in New York City who are formerly from Rhode Island.
Games people who like Star Trek play.
Harvard alumni who like Madonna.
Pictures of my friends from before 1995.

Searching in “sociogram”, as it is called in Dutch, is a very powerful search engine across the entire Facebook network

 

Tips from Steven:

  • Humanize your brand – show the faces behind the brand;
  • Increase goodwill by responding adequately to both positive and negative reviews;
  • Turn negative responses into a positive;
  • Encourage customer feedback;
  • Ask bloggers to review your product;
  • Encourage repeat visits.

 

Janneke Nijenhuis - Practical tips for managing your online reputation

Every business is or will be reviewed. It’s no longer just for the hospitality industry or for product reviews – every business from dentist to cab driver, from hospital to car dealers.

 

A taxi company will be reviewed on yelp, virtual tourist, trip advisor or google. Theatres on Yelp, dagje weg, Zoover and theatersinnederland.nl. Museums on Youropi, Zoover and Yelp. Even training consultants are now reviewed on sites like springest.nl

 

But not only B2C but also B2B shows a “review trend”. Today, search and the availability of independent social forums and product review sites are fundamentally changing B2B buyers. Sites consulted by B2B buyers are ie Linkedin, Consultancy platforms, Indeed, Independer, Telefoongids (Phonebook),  Facebook pages, Yelp, Review spot, Trust pilot, eengoedeprofessional, beoordelingen.feedbackcompany and many business pages

 

Employee reviews

Another trend we see is that companies are being reviewed by their employees. For example you will find employee reviews on www.glassdoor.com Glassdoor is the world's most transparent career community that is changing the way people find jobs, and companies recruit top talent. Glassdoor holds a growing database of 6 million company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more. Unlike other jobs sites, all of this information is entirely shared by those who know a company best — the employees

 

Facts

  • 51% of hotel guests is selecting a hotel based on reviews (not on price, location or promotions);
  • 93% of hotel guests is influenced by reviews and the majority book a hotel with a high       score;
  • A hotel with high scores and positive reviews is appealing to new customers: "I ​​also want to stay there";
  • The hotel, with a high score is more attractive for new talent and investors;
  • A high score motivates your team - engaged and motivated employees offer a better hospitality experience.

 

Impact of reviews on revenue

Cornell university  found a direct link between the rise or fall of revenue per available room (RevPAR) and improvements or declines in the online reputation of a hotel, driven by ratings on sites such as Tripadvisor and Travelocity.

Specifically, a one-point swing on Travelocity’s five-point rating scale on average sways room rates by 11%, according to the 14-page report. Factoring in multiple review sites, a 1% increase in the hotel’s “online reputation score” was found to boost RevPAR by almost 1%, the study found.

 

Study by My Reputation Dashboard showed similar results:

MyReputationDashboard.com carried out a study in which room rates on booking.com at a certain date were plotted against the review score of the hotel. The compared hotels had a similar location and similar star level. The research shows that the average room rate in all cities increases when the review score increases. Also when examining international cities like London and Paris, the same trends were found.

 

 

 

It is important for hotels to monitor their own position compared to the average (green line). Is the position of the hotel ADR significantly lower than the average in the city than the hotel could increase the ADR while maintaining occupancy. If the ADR that is significantly higher than the average, this would mean that the occupation lags behind the average for the city. It could then experiment with lowering the ADR while closely monitoring yield (Occupancy x ADR) in order to maximize revenue.

 

Tips

  • Be polite;
  • Respond quickly;
  • Respond professionally;
  • Thank the reviewer for the feedback;
  • Ensure that the response is correct;
  • Follow up – promised improvements should be executed;
  • Don’t make spelling mistakes

 

Tips how to internally handle reviews

  • Inform relevant departments and or employees;
  • Provide accurate information (pictures and text) on review sites;
  • Respond to negative reviews, but also to positive reviews;
  • Investigate your competitors - why do they score higher or lower ?;
  • Use positive reviews in your own communication (web-social-newsletters);
  • Ask actively for reviews;
  • Analyse trends in reviews;
  • Do what you promise;
  • Determine who will take ownership in your company for web care and social media

 

My Reputation Dashboard is a tool for hotels to easily monitor the online reputation. It contains reviews of different booking sites and contains the data of 3 to 5 competitors, an overview of the key statistics from analytics and an overview of the key statistics from the social media. It might not be the most comprehensive tool but for small regional hotels an excellent choice for a reasonable price.

 

Don’t ignore it. It won’t go away

Stephan Bosman – How to get the most out of reviews

 

Content is King

 

Stephan emphasizes the power of content marketing. Not only reviews, but also photos and videos, tips and location information should be part of your content strategy on ie Zoover.

 

Optimize your business profile!

Write detailed descriptions. After you’ve claimed your business listing, spend some time writing a detailed description of your business

Upload as many authentic and high-quality images that showcase your business

Upload videos

Contribute by giving Tips about your location, city, tourist attraction

 

Tips

  • Show off your honours – given by Zoover or ie Tripadvisor
  • Respond to Q&A
  • Make sure reviews are regularly refreshed (new reviews outweigh older reviews0
  • Make sure you have enough reviews
  • Reply politely and timely

 

Facts

Reviews = Free marketing

Higher Score = Better Occupation = Higher Margin

 

Tips

  • Show off your honours from review sites, such as the Zoover recommended awards;
  • Make use of widgets from review sites to share information on your own site;
  • Zoover Premium accounts have a direct booking button which fits the trend in the hotel industry to regain business from OTA’s to avoid commission.

 

Trends

  • “Traditional Tour operator disappear”;
  • “Price meta-search”;
  • “Virtual tour operating ”;
  • “Online booking activities”;
  • “New distribution channels”.

In addition, Stephan sees a trend that Twitter usage has declined over the last years whereas Facebook is used increasingly in the hospitality industry to share travel experiences.

 

 

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