Jeff Quinn, World Executives Digest | When you’re traveling, chances are you’ll be taking a look at online reviews to make sure that the hotel a friend recommended is actually a place you want to stay at, or if the restaurant you’re thinking of dining at serves good food or not. In short, reviews can be the bane of your decision to do move forward with a specific hotel, restaurant, or other business. And this is exactly why the hotel industry, and other review-centric business verticals, are being hit with fake reviews that are aimed at damaging their online reputation and dissuading potential customers from ever stepping through their doors.
These fake reviews can be hard to notice, after all, the people posting them know that they have to be careful with what they’re posting to make sure that they don’t violate the content rules of certain review platforms (like posting threats via a Google review) so that their review can’t be easily removed. This problem is not only frustrating, but it is potentially very damaging to an otherwise honesty and quality hotel.
The problem that fake reviews pose to hotels is that customers looking to book a place for their vacation are looking for something specific: they want a place they can feel at home at. Reading a review from a “customer” that states the room smelled bad, had mold, and that there were roaches running around is a very compelling reason for someone reading that review to move on and book elsewhere.
So, what are hotels doing to fight fake reviews?
Hotels are Starting to Seriously Manage Their Online Reputation
Many businesses have been picking up on the fact that they should be actively managing their online reputation by cultivating relationships with customers and asking for a review. Simply put, the reviews left about a business online are taken more seriously than anything that business can claim, or the impression that a great-looking website may leave on a potential customer. Now, hotels have caught on that they should no longer rely on word of mouth, good pictures, and a nice looking website to persuade customers to book a room with them.
Hotels, now more than ever, are listening to feedback
In the past, there was a vast divide between hotels that people book to stay at a luxury resort… and the hotels people book at as a last resort.
More than ever, hotels have been listening to feedback that their clients are leaving. If you have stayed at a Motel 6 lately, you may have noticed that their rooms have received a facelift. Now, each room is equipped with mod-inspired furniture and sheets that are a far cry from the floral and musky nightmares that customers tried their best not to touch. The result? More people are willing to stay at a Motel 6 if they’re looking to save some money and have decent accommodations.
This isn’t to say that every hotel, or every Motel 6 in this example, have renovated their rooms and replaced their old furniture, but it is a shift in the right direction. After all, hotels have picked up on the fact that spending the money to create modern and more comfortable rooms will cause a return on their investment through more customers booking rooms and, in turn, leaving positive reviews online.
And, the better the accommodations are, the more likely a customer is to leave a positive review online. In the end, this is a great way that hotels are fighting fake reviews, as one or two negative reviews in a sea of positives will not cause too much damage to their reputation.
Hotels are using reputation management tools
Now this is something that a lot of people haven’t thought about, but there are actually tools that can be used to manage a business’s reputation online. This isn’t to say that they’re faking their reputation, but instead using software to touch base with customers and see how their experience was.
If you’ve ever received an email or text message from any business you’ve worked with, and you were asked “How did we do?” or “How would you rate your experience?” You’ve encountered a reputation management tool.
This type of technology is an especially effective way that hotels are combating fake reviews. Because all customers are asked the same question, hotels are encouraging honest opinions to be posted online.
Hotels are upping their online game
Some hotels are upping their online game completely, using modern methods that meet customers where they’re at. Since most of us spend some portion of the day on social media, hotels can sometimes be found on these platforms right along with the insta-famous pug that you follow.
Hotels are, overall, upping their game to make sure they’re keeping up with the times and able to compete with trendy competitors, like AirBnB.
The Urban Cowboy Bed & Breakfast is one such hotel that is using their social media presence to attract a following that’s likely to book a room with them when they can. Their posts are a mix of images of their beautiful hotel, as well as aesthetically pleasing content that people want to see on Instagram. The result? A following of over 87k and, it’s safe to say, many of those people would leave a positive review about this hotel if they booked a room and were asked their opinion.