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Operations Management in the Hospitality Industry: Managing Costs and Maintaining Quality

How to Manage Costs & Maintaining Costs with Effective Operations Management

Managing the operations of a hotel is a complex area that can have a significant impact on the success and profitability of the property. Successful operations management in the hospitality industry requires successfully balancing growth and profitability with delivering on promises and maintaining quality standards across the board. Clearly, the latter area is something that has a significant impact on the long-term success of the hotel.

Managing Costs

Managing costs is always a great area of concern to a hotel, but it can often be a mistake to simply take the approach of trying to reduce operational costs at every opportunity. While reducing costs may improve profitability over the short-term, the long-term negative repercussions can often far outweigh the initial savings.

For instance, a recent article by TFG Asset Management gave the example of salary reduction. While reducing staff pay may improve the bottom-line yield, the action is likely to significantly demotivate staff and mean that service levels are reduced, thereby resulting in a poorer guest experience. This may significantly harm long-term profits because guests will not want to keep coming back to a hotel that provides a low level of service, while recruitment costs may rise as staff become less loyal to the hotel and begin to leave the organisation. Managing costs effectively is a key challenge in operations management in the hospitality industry.

In addition, it is important to recognise that reducing costs often requires a short-term investment for longer-term benefits. As an example, taking the decision to refurbish a hotel and bring it up-to-date will require significant initial expenditure but may be repaid massively over future years as the hotel is made significantly more attractive in the marketplace.

In short, cutting costs may actually have a negative impact on the bottom line. It is extremely important to measure the impact of any action and look at the consequences it will have over the long-term.

Maintaining Quality Standards

As we have already discussed, balancing costs while also maintaining quality standards is a constant challenge for any hotel. It is important to operate efficiently – but that shouldn’t be to the detriment of guest experience. In order to be successful over the long-term, a hotel needs to work hard to maintain consistent quality standards.

When it comes to delivering high standards of service and ensuring guest satisfaction, one of the most important factors is the quality of staff that are recruited into the hotel. Successful operations management in the hospitality industry requires a strong management team, with clear leadership, a carefully planned organisation structure and well-defined roles. There should also be an effective and thorough recruitment strategy in place to ensure that the right people are recruited into each role, with enough time allocated to finding and choosing suitable candidates.

In addition, it is important to invest in the training and development of staff. This can help greatly towards ensuring that high quality service levels are consistently delivered, while also helping to increase staff loyalty and meaning that team members are less likely to leave the hotel and seek employment elsewhere. It is also important to ensure that staff are looked after and rewarded in the best possible way, with each team member being made to feel valued and appropriately rewarded. This is vital in ensuring loyalty and commitment over the long-term.

Managing Operational Changes

Successful operations management in the hospitality industry requires the hotel to constantly monitor and improve operations over time. Where operational changes are required, these should be carefully managed and implemented with a clear goal in mind, with enough time being allocated to the program. Relevant staff members should be involved in the development and implementation of practices as much as possible in order to ensure that they are rolled out effectively.

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Five Innovative Ways Hospitality Businesses Are Using Video Content

When you work in the busy world of hospitality, it can be difficult to find the time to update your social media accounts with much more than pretty pictures of food.

However, if you’re not already using video content, you probably should be! Check out this infographic from Hubspot which points out that video in email can lead to a 200-300% increase in click-through rate, as well as increasing conversion by 80% on a landing page!

The stats really add up, and if you get it right, the results from video content can be extraordinary!

Here are five examples of great ways in which businesses in the hospitality sector can utilise video content to their advantage,

Testimonial Interviews

Testimonial interviews are a great way to tap into the power of influencers and get some great brand advocacy.

While it’s great to get some big names to feature in your testimonials, it’s not crucial.

Local food bloggers can be a great way to get your business out in front of a new audience, or you could even just use some satisfied customers/clients!

Make sure to pick people who genuinely love your business so that their comments are real, and actually hold some weight, and be sure to keep things short and snappy too!

‘Making Of’ Videos

One of the best ways to show off your products and services is with a behind the scenes ‘making of’ video.

Especially in the world of online, it’s important to give your potential customers as much insight as possible and help to familiarise them with your brand.

Show off how you craft one of your signature dishes and show off what you do to give it that extra touch!

Promote an Event

If you’re planning to hold an event, try to extend your reach beyond just the people who can attend in person by taking things online.

For example, you could livestream the event, or maybe even just create a highlights video, such as this example by Sound & Colour for Northern Restaurant & Bar.

This is a great way to get the event in front of as many people as possible, create a buzz of social engagement, and hopefully get more people involved with your next one!

Create a GIF

Sometimes, the hassle of filming and editing video can be a bit much, so why not try creating a GIF instead?

For an idea of how simple and easy recipe GIFs and can be, check out this post!

There are plenty of websites which allow you to make GIFs for free such as Giphy and GIFMaker.me.

GIF are extremely popular at the moment and get great engagement, without having to put as much time and money in as proper videos.

‘Thank You’ Videos

Video can also be a great way to show your clients and customers that you appreciate their custom and give a glimpse behind the scenes at your business.

Customers always like to have a ‘peek behind the curtain’, as it makes your business seem a lot more authentic and open, creating a nice bond between them and the business.

They can also help to convey the personality and passion of your staff, reinforcing to your customers that they’re going to get great service.

Snapchat and Instagram stories are a great way to create these short behind the scenes ‘thank you’s.

Online Reputation Repair Tips for Travel Businesses

If you run a travel business, you understand all too well just how crucial it is that your business maintains a glowing reputation. Even the smallest blot on your reputation can instantly lead to less business, and damaged reputations take time and effort to repair.

 

Thanks to advancements in technology, the reputation of travel businesses are more fragile than ever. This is because of the rise of social media platforms and online review resources such as Yelp and Google. It has become easier than ever for an unhappy customer to hurt your reputation by leaving a scathing review on the internet that cannot be erased.

 

Luckily, there are some simple tips that can help you get the reputation of your business back on track. Online reputation repair requires a simple reputation management strategy that can undo much of the damage caused by negative reviews. If you’re wondering how to repair your reputation, continue reading.

 

1. Don’t Hide from Bad Reviews

When you come across a negative review of your business on the internet, it may be tempting to avoid responding to the unhappy customer. However, this only lets future customers know that you don’t take responsibility for your business and that you don’t care about the needs of your customers. It also leaves people reading reviews of your business to assume that the negative reviewer is correct in their critique.

It’s important to be upfront and respond quickly. Let them know that their voice has been heard. This lets future customers see that you hold yourself accountable for the actions of your business.

 

2. Don’t Go on the Defensive

When someone on the internet criticizes the business that is your livelihood, it’s easy to take these comments to heart and act defensively. However, any customer leaving a negative review wants to feel like their voice is being heard. Lashing out in defensiveness only makes you look immature and unwilling to meet the needs of your customers.

It’s important to be firm yet polite. Most of all, it’s crucial that you show your customers that you value each and every opinion whether positive or negative.

 

3. Set Up Google Alerts

By setting up Google Alerts, you can be notified every time a review is left on a website or social media platform. This gives you the time to diffuse the situation quickly and respond to reviews in a timely manner.

Google alerts is easy to set up and it’s free. Simply insert the keywords that you wish to have monitored and Google will notify you each time that new content is created using these keywords.

 

4. Use Hotel Search Engine Marketing

By hiring a search engine marketing company, you can have your glowing reputation back in no time for a small fee. Google reputation repair has become a huge industry over the last few years and these companies will do all the hard work for you by boosting your reputation with positive reviews of your business. By creating lots of content that reflects positively on your business, those who are searching for your business on the internet will see this positive content first when they look up your name in a search engine.

 

5. Develop an SEO Strategy

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the science of using content to rank higher in search engines. Good SEO practices include maintaining a content-heavy blog with lots of links back to the website of your business. By creating lots of content that links back to your business, this content will be the first thing that appears when prospective customers search for your business on the internet. Ideally, negative reviews will be tucked away several pages later.

 

6. Create Quality Content for Social Media

Social media engagement can dramatically improve the reputation of a business. By constantly creating quality content across various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can build a loyal following on the internet that will be less likely to side with negative reviewers. It’s important to engage with your followers regularly. “Like” their comments regularly and respond to comments as often as possible.

 

7. Claim Your Yelp Account

Anyone can make a Yelp account for your business, leaving you with little to no control of the information posted there. When you claim your business on Yelp, you not only have control of the positive information such as your business hours, a description of services rendered and a link to your actual website, but you also position yourself to be aware of any negative comments, and can reply to and work towards resolution directly. Having an updated and well managed Yelp page also makes your business look more professional to any potential customers.

 

8. Avoid the Temptation of Paid Reviews

We all know them when we see them, the overly enthusiastic, high praise comments that are way too good to be true. Fake reviews are a bad idea from a moral standpoint, but also for two practical reasons. The first is that consumers report that they tend to scan over reviews that are either “really good” or “really bad” and focus on those that fall in the middle. The second is that algorithms employed by both Yelp and Google will remove fake or purchased reviews, making it a waste of money. Although it seems like flooding your reviews with only positive praise would make your company look better and diffuse any negative reviews you have acquired, it tends to work the opposite as companies that have obviously unrealistic positive reviews are viewed as less trustworthy. While it is unfortunate, those who leave reviews are much more likely to do so because they had a negative experience rather than an insanely positive one.

 

Conclusion

It’s important to know that just because there is negative information about your business on the internet, your reputation isn’t damaged beyond repair. Online reputation repair does require some time and effort. However, by following these tips, you can overcome the damage caused by negative reviews and get your business back on track in no time.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.tgdaily.com

How to Plan a Perfect Wedding in Melbourne

Who doesn’t love a heart-warming backyard wedding? They’re money-savers and held at the kind of venue that really warms your heart. Everybody who attends will be sure to remember that special day. Your options are wide open in terms of how large or small, how quaint or fancy, or how casual or formal. You can let your parents be your wedding planners!

 

BACKYARD WEDDING BENEFITS

 

Travel Time and Expenses:

 

Traveling and reception expenses are held to a minimum because the ceremony and reception are in the same location. For the most part most families have their friends and relatives living fairly close. While it may still be far for some it usually works out well for most of your guests.

 

Quality Time:

 

Weddings held at home have a more intimate feeling. Most of your guests are already familiar with their surroundings. That puts them automatically at ease and the time spent together is more relaxed and intimate.

 

Family Bonding:

 

Families always have members who love to help out. Everybody can get involved in a backyard wedding. You don’t have to hire so many professionals. You can let your family and friends pitch in on nearly every aspect of the event. Let them take an active role in the decorating and planning. When they take a more active role in what goes on, it makes the event all the more memorable and dear to their hearts for years to come.

 

Let some of them help with part of your catering needs. They can save you money on how much you need from the wedding caterers you plan to hire. Catering for weddings can be expensive but with a backyard wedding it doesn’t have to be. At events like this your family and friends can help with finger food catering. Use mobile catering to set up some good party food and you’re on your way to a fun time.

 

Early Planning and Preparation:

 

For functions like this you can begin prepping the backyard well in advance. You can strategically plant new flowers and shrubs in plenty of time for them to spice up the ceremony. Be sure not to water the lawn too soon before everybody comes. The ground shouldn’t be too soggy when it’s under so much heavy foot traffic.

 

Decorating:

 

If you need to hire anything out (potted plants, tables, chairs, special plates or glasses, etc.) you have plenty of time. You can order it and set it up to be delivered the day before the event.

 

Nail Down The Delegating:

 

Since you’re involving family and friends in a more active role, go ahead and decide who will be doing what. Make sure everybody knows exactly what’s expected and give them plenty of time to get things done while working around their own family schedules.

 

Notifications:

 

Let the neighbors know of your plans. Ask the closest neighbors to refrain from running any loud machinery during the ceremony time. If they have one of those dogs that constantly barks, see if they can take them in just for that period of time. Invite them to come as well and offer them something (a gift of chocolate or something) for helping your keep your event a happy one.

 

The Wedding Cake:

 

This is something you don’t want to skimp on. Find a professional you trust to bake you a fantastic wedding cake. This is one area that needs to really shine. It should be just exactly what the bride and groom want.

 

Photography:

 

This is another area that should never be skimped on. The money to hire a professional photographer for this special day is definitely money well spent. You want to capture every memorable moment you can. A good photographer will know how to capture not just the serious moments, but the unexpected ones that keep you laughing for years to come as well.

Happy patient, healthy hospital: Taking a cue from the hospitality industry

Customer service, long an afterthought in the healthcare industry, is now very much on the front lines of hospitals’ strategic planning. Evidence of this can be seen in hotel-like lobbies, restaurant-grade menus, concierge amenities and the growing number of chief patient experience officers being hired by health systems.

A number of factors are fueling the hospitality trend: Competition with other health systems, worry over new healthcare entrants like retail clinics and telehealth firms, reimbursement changes that incent hospitals to improve the patient experience and increased transparency via Yelp and other social media outlets.

According to a report by Deloitte, hospitals with excellent ratings on CMS’ Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems patient satisfaction survey had a net profit margin of 4.7%, on average, compared with just 1.8% for hospitals with low ratings during the period 2008-2014.

Hospitals are realizing that great clinical outcomes are just not enough to create brand loyalty between them and the patient, says Paul Roscoe, CEO of Boston-based Docent Health. The startup, which last week received $15 million in Series A round funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Maverick Capital Ventures, is developing software and mobile applications to create a good experience for every patient at every stage of their hospital visit.

A tailored experience

“One of the challenges that we see is that hospitals are invested in the electronic patient record and big data and healthcare analytics focused on the clinical domain,” says Roscoe. “But there hasn’t been the same focus on creating the technology platform or the services to be able to manage the nonclinical patient experience.”

Key to Docent Health’s formula is understanding patients as individuals. If they’re a tennis player having an ACL repair and they want to be playing again in three months, then that’s a goal, Roscoe explains. “Those are the things that aren’t captured in an EMR today.”

Once hospitals know the patient’s preferences, concerns and anxieties, Docent’s platform helps them design a stay tailored to that individual. For example, a patient in his or her 20s might have a very digital experience while someone in their 60s or 70s might prefer a more human-centric trip. This “journey,” as Roscoe describes it, can also be tailored along service lines, such as touch points that would ease a first-time mother’s experience versus what a second- or third-time mother would prefer.

Next is delivering and implementing the journey through a combination of digital and human interactions, and the final piece is what Roscoe calls “this continuous improvement cycle” — knowing which are the journeys that are delivering higher patient satisfaction scores and which are the ones that aren’t, and working to improve on those.

A significant part of the platform uses a sentiment index, which can help health systems understand a patient’s satisfaction level in real time, rather than learning about it through the patient satisfaction survey. “With that we can identify and create dashboards to identify hot spots of patients inside the hospital and improve their experience before they are discharged,” Roscoe says.

Paul Westbrook, founder of Westbrook Consulting and former vice president of patient experience at Inova Health System in Northern Virginia, says technology has a “huge” role to play in increasing satisfaction, but is currently being underutilized.

“Texting surgical procedure updates, iPAD/TV surveys to respond to issues prior to discharge, automating registration via kiosks, education video links, abnormal symptoms/side effect reporting via texting for support or escalation, and post-discharge followup” all can help to pinpoint issues and correct a patient’s journey before they go home unhappy vowing never to return.

Build a patient-centric mindset

Westbrook, who joined Inova in 2012, applied his 27 years of hospitality experience with Ritz Carlton and Marriott International, to transform the health system from one that had been yielding 30th percentile performance, on average, across five hospitals, to one that was performing at the 70th percentile level.

To guide that change, Westbrook started by forming a senior leadership Patient Experience Transformation Team to develop a three-year strategic plan. The plan had five workstreams — culture, communication, human resource processes, leadership development and service excellence — each with an “owner” who was accountable for accomplishing certain goals. Resources were allocated to support each plan, including a patient experience leader assigned to each hospital, who reported directly to the hospital’s CEO. They, in turn, reported to Westbrook at the system level.

By increasing awareness from the top, “it was soon understood that PE cannot be delegated … rather it is ‘who we are,’” Westbrook wrote in an email. “This mindset transition from a provider center to patient-centric [approach] was critical, particularly as healthcare becomes more consumer-driven, where branding and reputation management become critical in an ever-increasingly transparent, value-based era.”

Hospitality Quotient, a subsidiary of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, offers services ranging from training hospital staff to feel more empathy for patients to a nuts-to-soup assessment of an organization’s culture and what it would take to build a strong culture that would improve patient experiences.

“Every person in the chain of interactions that you encounter along the way … has to have the same mindset, the same skills and be delivering on the same vision of the patient experience,” says Susan Reilly Salgado, managing partner of the New York-based business. “And that requires the values and the belief about what the patient experience is all about to be embedded in the culture of the organization.”

Take time to plan

One of the problems Westbrook sees with clients looking to improve their HCAHPS scores is the desire for a quick solution, rather than taking the necessary time to assess leadership competencies and how they align to the desired cultural norms. “I often see a hierarchical top down, command-and-control leadership style that does not engender genuine care for the staff at all levels,” he tells Healthcare Dive.

And just like with hospitality, a disengaged staff member can’t provide genuine personalized care, Westbrook adds. “Only those staff members (at any level in the organization) who feel respected, valued and cared for can extend the same to their ‘customers’ [and] only then are memories made and stories told that build the brand reputation.”

Eyes on the goal

Whether it’s creating a more welcoming environment by sprucing up the hospital lobby or collecting nonclinical information about patient that can improve their stay, the goal should be the same, says Westbrook.

“The key is personalized, anticipatory service to relieve fear and anxiety through clear, easy-to-understand communication and coordinated care between providers and facilities,” he says. “If concierge services (vs. amenities) intersect with improving communication and coordinated care for patients/family members, then great.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.healthcaredive.com

Six ways your restaurant’s reputation is affecting your online orders

Restaurateurs have long known that their businesses live and die on their reputations. This is even more true in today’s highly connected digital world. As technology makes it easier for your customers to order online, it also makes it more important than ever to manage your restaurant’s reputation

 

Here are six primary reasons: 

 

1. Most online purchases start at a search engine. 

 

Adweek says that over 80 percent of purchases made online start with a search on Google, Bing! or some other search engine. This is especially true for restaurants without apps for online ordering or those with web addresses (url) that are not 100-percent intuitive.

 

Keep in mind that when potential customers look for your website online, they will also see a lot of other web results for that search term, and remember, everybody gets a voice on the internet. It pays to ensure that what they’re saying about your restaurant is positive.

 

2. Ratings and reviews are often what people see about your restaurant first online.  

 

‘If you search via Google for your restaurant, it’s quite likely that restaurant review site listings for your establishment on Yelp, AllMenus or TripAdvisor will show up first or immediately after your site in the results. Your Google My Business page will also usually show up atop the list with reviewers’ ratings, as well. In short, reviews are often the first thing customers and potential customers see online when they search for your brand. Naturally, while positive reviews can bolster customers’ confidence about ordering from you, largely negative review results may send them away, possibly for good. 

 

3. Good reviews are great advertising.

According to Moz, two out of three people say online reviews influence their purchases. When potential customers see mostly positive reviews, it can be key in their decision to order from you online, instead of one of your competitors. This is called the social proof effect and it underlines the fact that when we don’t have a lot of context about the quality of something, others’ opinions of the product or service can greatly affect our purchasing behavior. 

 

4. Review sites can drive new customers to your business.

Though many restaurateurs resent review sites since they feel they can be one-sided or unfair, the fact is that they exist and can be a great tool for helping people find your restaurant if the reviews are positive. Additionally, if you use the search term, “order online” on Yelp, you’ll receive a list of restaurants offering this feature. In fact, often the site will provide a direct link to your site for ordering online. Restaurants with better online reputations have a better chance of being found this way, as well. 

 

5. Better reputation means better ranking on Google My Business.

The folks at Google report that the search engine gives better placement to businesses that respond to reviews. Lesson learned? If someone leaves a low score and a harsh review online, make every effort to respond quickly and calmly in order to not only repair that relationship, but also show customers you’re responsive to their feedback. The reward? You gain an improved search ranking, while potentially bringing a lost customer back. 

 

6. Good reviews also enhance mobile search.

Numerous marketing studies have found that more than half of all search engine queries are now performed on mobile phones. So, for instance, if a customer searches for your category of restaurant and sees a list of local restaurants with their star-ratings directly under each name, it’s quite possible that someone who wasn’t planning to order from you actually will end up doing so if your rating is better than that of other restaurants in that category. 

 

The take-away

Regardless of how great the reasons are for active reputation management, it still takes a lot of time and commitment to quality. You must be willing to monitor online comments and keep a cool head, even for the harshest critics. The pay-off can ultimately be very profitable for your brand when it comes to online ordering sales.  

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.pizzamarketplace.com

Online Reputation Management – Meet Your Guests Where it Matters. – Tuesday, 31st May 2016 at 4Hoteliers

‘Online reputation management’ is an activity that might sound over-complicated or unimportant, However, it’s key to building your online bookings, especially those coming directly through your website and it also helps draw in guests who may book over the phone but want to do their research online.

Today, we’re going to give you a getting-started guide to make it simple: We’ll take you through the different parts of online reputation management and how it can help your hotel. We’re also sharing a few of our favorite resources to get you on the right track.

 

What are the most important parts of managing your hotel’s online brand?

 

  • social media interactions
  • reviews (both positive and negative)

 

When you’re managing your social and your reviews, it’s important to look at exactly how those are impacting your property, and impacting how the brand is portrayed.

 

Here are some examples of questions your team should ask:

 

How do you deal with negative reviews? Are you responding to tweets and Facebook messages in a positive, professional way? What kind of tone does your hotel use on social media? Are you more casual or more formal with your guests online?

 

For hotels, managing their online presence and reputation is especially important today. This is because consumer behavior and booking patterns have changed, and are continuing to change at a rapid pace.

 

Potential guests frequently decide whether to book your hotel based on reviews and any interactions or experiences they’ve had with the hotel. This often overshadows over factors, even ones like price, facilities or location.  93% of the people find reviews important when determining which hotel to stay at.

This includes word-of-mouth, or the social media equivalent: if a friend of yours wins a Twitter contest or  frequently shares posts from a hotel in London, wouldn’t you be inclined to think of that hotel first when you look for a hotel in London? Even if it turns out to be a bit more expensive than you were looking for originally?

 

The platforms that your hotel and your guests can interact on are many, and they are accessible 24/7. These sites range from your own site to sites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube!

 

This can look a little overwhelming, but with a dedicated strategy you’ll be able to manage them easily.

Firstly, our hotel should have profiles on all these platforms. The keys is to have an up to date and interactive presence online, to be vocal with your brand and connected with your potential guests and followers.

 

If hoteliers don’t have the resources to manage these social spaces, their reputation can start to decline. If there is no one to monitor these sites or respond to guests’ posts or reviews, this can show a lack of interest in trying to resolve the situation. At best, they’ll assume you don’t care enough to check your Twitter – that’s not a positive.

 

These days, a guest who tweets a complaint to your hotel’s Twitter profile expects a response, whether they’re talking about the quality of food in your restaurant or the poor service they received. Even a quick apology will do – guests want to feel listened to and valued, and they expect someone to be reading and responding to them online.

 

How many of these is  your hotel on?

How Much Does Reputation Management Matter?

Let’s take a look at the statistics related to the review and booking process:

 

93% of the people find reviews important when researching hotels. 53% of the people surveyed say they wouldn’t book a hotel without reading a guest opinion about it.

 

Hotel guests are making more informed decisions than ever before. They are reviewing the hotel’s reputation on all platforms, and benchmarking hotels against each other. Hotels guests trust these reviews for their ultimate booking decision. For your hotel to ignore these or not communicate with users is to ignore one of the most influential factorsof your brand.

 

As online reputation management becomes more important, it is becoming vital for hoteliers to build an honest and professional online reputation. Your online reputation should be included in the marketing plan for your property. Since your online reputation is so readily visible to potential guests at all times, from reviews on Booking.com to Facebook posts to Twitter, hoteliers need to monitor these channels as often as possible.

 

Focus on responding to reviews: this will promote interaction with your guests, and tells your guests that you are interested in their feedback and review. In turn, this will increase your popularity and lead to more hotel bookings.

 

Think about scrolling through the reviews on Expedia for a hotel you’re considering staying at, and a negative review for a hotel with only a small number of reviews catches your eye. You skim it and you frown, weighing that negative review heavily against the positive ones you’ve just read. But then, you notice that a representative of the hotel has replied to the review, apologizing and trying to make amends. How far would that go towards erasing the effect of the negative review?

Getting Started

Reputation Management affects every part of your hotel’s operations where guests have touch points. This goes from sales to F&B, receptions and operations. Think of these as opportunities for personnel to interact with guests, and to encourage guests to leave positive reviews or share their experiences online.

If you promote this in the hotel on a team level instead of leaving it to one dedicated and assigned person, the culture of your hotel can change to one that’s aware and taking advantage of your online reputation. Get everyone involved and aware of the importance of your online reputation, so staff can help encourage guests to write positively about their experiences.

 

Poor reviews should be shared with staff so actions can be taken to resolve complaints, and positive reviews should be highlighted to recognize and reward the staff members responsible. Check out this resource on how to make your reputation a team effort.

Image source

 

Reputation Management is a practice with many different moving parts, which is why it can come across as a foggy concept. To ensure hotels have a clear focus, Daniel Craig, the Founder of Reknown, has listed his 10 Essential Steps of Managing Your Hotel’s Online Reputation. If you’re looking for a great guide, this is a good place to get started.

 

Departments: here’s a few tips to start building your reputation.

 

  • Marketing: engage daily with guests and fans on social media platforms and other sites. You should monitor any feedback or post that is listed, analyse guest satisfaction, and reply promptly to combat any negative damage. Respond to positive comments too – guests always like to feel heard!
  • Sales: Use reviews to benchmark against your competitors during your sales pitch to secure new contracts. Also, conducted research has proven that a positive online reputation has the influence to push higher price tiers for online sales. You can even create a knock on effect for corporate negotiated rates and group bookings rates.

Put Reviews and Social on Your Site

Your guests are using reviews and social experiences at the point of purchase to influence their booking decision. If there are no reviews on your own website, guests are forced to leave your site to search for reviews – and they may not return to book. They could end up on OTAs like Booking.com or Expedia to book, giving you a booking with a higher commission percentage paid and a less personal relationship.

To combat this bounce rate, add reviews to your website. This promotes a strong brand image, shows your confidence in your hotel and what people are saying about you, and keeps reviews right next to the point of purchase on your own site.

 

More positive reviews gives your property a better position against your competitors. For example, Tripadvisor’s Popularity Index is based on quality, quantity and recency of reviews, and the Popularity Index determines your page ranking on their site. If you’re at the top, your hotel looks like – and is! – a popular choice, and trustworthy with regards to your competitor set.

 

More reviews will also benefit your property in a more tangible way, beyond their influence on booking rates. They contain an array of information that hotels can analyse to understand guest satisfaction better. This lets you make any service changes that need to be made.

 

Take these reviews as an opportunity to grow your bookings and help improve your hotel.

After all the hustle and bustle of branding and marking your hotel, it is the guest who does the final shaping: by sharing their honest comments and experiences, they can make or break your hotel. Make sure they make it.

 

From an online marketing point of view, genuine, positive guest reviews are the best way to sell your property and convince a guest to book a room in your hotel.

Here’s the guest prospective:

 

  • 80% of guests will read approximately 6- 12 reviews before making their decision
  • 53% of Tripadvisor users say they won’t book a hotel if it has zero reviews (PhoCusWright)

 

Reputation management should be included in your marketing mix, but it should also work hand in hand with revenue management.

Reputation Matters to Revenue

In the past, pricing structures and decisions were based on factors like supply and demand, local events, negotiated rates, weddings/groups, and competitor rates.

 

Corin Burr, director of Bamboo Revenue in London, says:

 

“Online reputation management is becoming hugely important to hotels because reviews have a direct correlation with demand, the holy grail of revenue management.”

 

Serge Chamelian, Managing Director of H-Hotelier, has stated:

 

“Managing online reputation – specifically improving guest satisfaction by increasing operational effectiveness and efficiency – pays off financially. Hotels want to make sure that the investment in time and effort will benefit their sales i.e. RevPar. Hence, by improving a hotel’s reputation and communicating the results to employees, both RevPar and employee satisfaction increase.”

 

Recent research from the prestigious Cornell School of Hotel Administration has verified that guest satisfaction has a direct impact on the financial performance of hotels.

 

Source

This quote from the study sums it up:

 

“A 1-point increase in a hotel’s 100-point ReviewPro Global Review Index™ (GRI) leads up to a 0.89% increase in price (ADR), a 0.54% increase in occupancy, and a 1.42% increase in Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR). The study verifies that the impact is across all distribution channels: online and off”.

 

Reputable research has proven that a positive online reputation has the influence to push higher price tier for online sales. This in turn has a knock on effect to corporate negotiated rates and group bookings rates.

Kelly McGuire, leader of Hospitality and Travel Global Practice at the SAS Institute, would agree:

 

“In recent research, we found that the sentiment of online reviews reduces the impact of price on purchase decision, meaning that good reviews will influence a traveller to spend more, and bad reviews will discourage bookings, even if the hotel room is discounted.”

 

“Given what I’ve been seeing in some of my research, it will be essential for revenue managers to understand their “satisfaction position” on online channels as they make pricing decisions,” says McGuire of SAS.

Quick Resources to Get Started

Convinced of the importance of having a strong, adaptable strategy for managing your reputation online? Here’s a few resources, along with those linked throughout the article, to get you going.

 

Jeff Higley, Editorial Director of Hotel News Now, had a “Managing Your Reputation Session.” In this, the members complied a quick 21 Tips to Manage Your Hotel’s Reputation Online.   To find out more how to implement the advice we’ve given you today and generate a positive presence online and more revenue, check out the guide here.

 

If you would like any more information or would like to implement revenue management software in your property, here are a few of the market leaders you can take a look at:ReviewPro, Revinate and RateGain are a couple strong industry names to start with.

Conclusion

It is critical for hoteliers today to be actively involved in reputation management.

Reputation management affects the property as a whole, and needs to be managed by every department working together. It should go hand in hand with revenue management. It should also guide hoteliers to use reviews to influence their decision-making process and effect change where necessary.

There’s your primer on reputation management: what it is, why it’s vital and a few great resources to get you started in building your hotel’s online presence.

 

Karen Connaughton

 

A hospitality graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management, Karen is currently working in the Irish Hospitality Industry as an Accounts Manager at Net Affinity. She holds responsibility for managing key accounts, developing, implementing and achieving business plans with specific targets, and working with clients to design websites.

 

Net Affinity

Focused exclusively on the hotel sector, Net Affinity has collated the brightest, most commercially focused, experienced and passionate team of online marketers, account managers, designers and developers whose combined skill set ensures our clients online success and continued growth. We created this blog because we wanted to share our expertise with you, and offer you the knowledge that over 15 years experience in the hotel industry has given us.

 

Original article

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.4hoteliers.com

5 New Travel Startups That Help Hotels With Reputation Management

For many brands reputation precedes them, and not necessarily in the right way.

 

This week, we’re looking at five companies that want to help hotels prevent reputation crises before they begin; ones that take guest feedback across all relevant channels in real-time and let hoteliers resolve conflicts before they escalate so that guests leave their stays satisfied and happy.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: skift.com

Tnooz-TripAdvisor webinar: Reputation management and beyond

Video of the Tnooz-TripAdvisor hosted webinar in August 2011. The session focussed on ideas on delivering an outstanding guest experience, optimising a hotel’s web presence with reviews and user generated content, and how hoteliers can turn traveler reviews into opportunities.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: vimeo.com

No Laughing Matter: Restaurants Online Reputation Management

Restaurant Reputation

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!”

That’s the set-up to a very old joke, but if you’re in the restaurant business, there’s nothing funny about it. You’ll apologize immediately and replace the soup, and probably comp the meal. But you know very well that customer is going to pull out his smart phone and blast you on the Internet.

Your restaurant’s online reputation is going to take a hit – and that’s serious. Online Reputation Management in the hospitality industry is more important than ever before: more than eighty percent of restaurant and hotel customers check online reviews, and make decisions based on what they find. Eighty-eight percent said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family, and restaurant reviews are the single most popular category of Internet reviews; sixty-seven percent of consumers read them. Nearly twice as many people read them over the next-most-popular category, doctors and dentists.

Serving good food is no longer enough. The reputation of any restaurant, from a lowly hotel diner to an elegant, four-star establishment, can be made or broken by online reviews.

Take Control

More than ever before, restaurateurs need to keep a close eye on what is being said about them online. “I strongly believe in monitoring what people are saying about your brand,” says Lori Randall Stradtman, the author of Online Reputation Management for Dummies. “You want to be in a position to take control of your reputation so that a few people with sour grapes can’t sully your name.” It is so important in today’s online world, Stradtman says, that monitoring online reviews should be a part of someone’s job description.

With the potential for so many reviews on multiple platforms, keeping track of it all can be a daunting prospect. You might wonder if it’s even worth it: let the chips fall where they may. But recent research shows that it is worth it: increasing your interaction with online reviews by just one percent can improve your online reputation by as much as twenty-five percent.

Customer Satisfaction

Restaurants are part of the hospitality industry, and they are its biggest sector. In the hospitality industry, it’s all about customer satisfaction: the ability of a restaurant or hotel to keep its clientele happy. Businesses go to great lengths to measure customer satisfaction, using surveys, focus groups, and other methods to evaluate the customer experience. Why? Because satisfied customers are the ones who write positive online reviews.

But try as you might, unsatisfied customers are going to happen – it’s just the way it works. No one is perfect. And that’s why it is so important to monitor your reviews – to pay attention to what they’re saying about your restaurant.

A Special Breed

By now, you’ve got the message: it is imperative to stay on top of what your customers are saying about your restaurant online.

There are a lot of rate-and-review sites out there, and they are a special breed of social media. “Most people have thought of social media as a tool for the marketing professional to advertise and create more demand for their brand or their product,” said Susan Ganeshan, the Chief Marketing Officer at newBrandAnalytics. But social media is much more than that, she says, because it provides, as never before, a way for business owners to interact with their customers.

In the restaurant business, the top social media sites include:

  • Zomato. Formerly known as Urbanspoon, Zomato allows users to find and rate restaurants. You can also search by cuisine. Where’s the best Thai food? Just ask.
  • OpenTable. OpenTable provides online restaurant reservations in real time. The site also ranks the “100 Best Restaurants in America,” as rated by site visitors.
  • Dine.com. Dine.com is one of the Internet’s oldest rate-and-review sites, dating back to 1994. In addition to reviews, restaurant owners can get a custom URL for their establishment, and include lots of details in their listing.
  • Yelp. Yelp has plenty of business categories, but many people consider it the go-to site for restaurant reviews.

And then there’s Facebook, that most ubiquitous of social media sites. While primarily a social network, Facebook as enhanced its local business reviews feature.

Most of these sites allow you to claim your listing. When you do, be sure to include:

  • restaurant name, and the type of cuisine featured
  • complete, up-to-date contact information
  • your menu, making sure to update this with any specials and new menu items you have

When the inevitable bad reviews appear, respond to them promptly and politely. Make it clear you value the feedback, and are willing to listen to and address all legitimate customer concerns. If, in spite of your best efforts, the negative reviews are proliferating, there is always professional help. The experts at InternetReputation.com provide Online Reputation Management services for restaurants and other businesses that can raise your rating and improve your bottom line.

We asked in the beginning, what’s that fly doing in my soup? It looks like the backstroke.