“Image is everything. You don’t spare any expense to create the right image. And word of mouth is critical. Once you get a good reputation, momentum will carry you.” Haruki Murakami”
Every hotel recognizes that a good first impression matters to improve guests’ perception of a brand, its image, and its reputation. Inevitably, the first interaction a guest has with a hotel starts online. Many guests look to blogs, online travel reviews, and booking sites to judge a hotel’s reputation and get a sense of the guest experience long before deciding to book a stay at a property.
This online interaction certainly colors guest perception, thus maintaining a positive online persona builds brand credibility and reputation, garners trust, and entices guests to stay at a hotel.
Manage Your Hotel’s Online Reviews
Online reviews are necessary as a form of social proof. A global study, conducted in partnership with TripAdvisor and Ipsos MORI, found that ‘when deciding between two similar properties, 79% of consumers are more likely to reserve a room at the hotel with a higher rating.’
Guests read various online blogs and reviews before deciding to book a stay. Hotels need to have a verified and active presence on popular travel review sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Booking.com to engage and develop trust with guests.
Whether they receive any negative or positive feedback, hotels should address all queries and reviews in a timely manner. Guests are more likely to book a stay with the hotel when they feel heard and that their concerns are being addressed quickly.
Evaluate Your Current Website
After checking online reviews, guests will look at the website to find more information about a hotel. Well designed websites ensure easy navigation for guests to find the information. In the age of 8-second attention spans, users expect to receive their information quickly. If a website takes too long to load, they lose interest and click away.
Minimal pages with simple headings contribute to the effortless navigation of the website. For example, adding a simple “Book now!” button on the homepage allows guests to book the accommodation with ease, increasing website conversion rates.
Therefore, hotels can enhance guest experiences even before they step foot into a property by ensuring their current website is rich in content, has a flawless design, and is easy to navigate.
Ensure Mobile Capabilities
With a growing majority of guests using mobile devices for travel research and bookings, hotels must ensure their websites are optimized for mobile.
Research conducted by Travelport Digital found that the vast majority of travelers, about ‘75% of leisure and 80% of business travelers have booked and paid for travel on mobile at some stage.’ Allowing guests to complete their booking online via their smartphones improves their interaction with the brand and can result in a higher number of conversions.
Once a booking is completed on their mobile device, smart solutions such as GTRIIP can further heighten the hotel’s brand reputation by providing guests with a mobile-friendly web-link to complete their pre-arrival and check-in process with ease.
In this increasingly digital age, guest experience starts online. The common misconception that guest experience only begins when the guest steps foot into the hotel premises is becoming further from the truth. Hoteliers who are quick to improve online brand reputation, followed by outstanding guest experience at the hotel premises, will set them apart from the competition.
In a way, a hotel’s website reflects the aesthetic and the ambiance of the premises and gives a sneak peek of the full guest experience online. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the website, booking platform, and check-in processes are seamlessly integrated to add to the overall positive vibe of a property.
Find out more about GTRIIP’s core solution of providing hassle-free smartphone check-ins and check-outs designed specifically with the guest experience in mind: https://www.gtriip.com/hotel/.