Online Reputation Management

How to cultivate the results you need Exactly where you need them!

Part of ensuring that you have an online presence is making sure you’re asking the right questions. In fact, one of the simplest but most effective tools for cultivating reviews is the question. This can be done using various methods, or coming up with some new innovation that encourages participation in a forum or blog.

Add a media room or blog to your current website

  • This can be built to allow guests to post a blog-type review or comment right on your website – offering YOU complete control of information.
  • If a guest posts that their service wasn’t up to par, don’t erase the post, respond to it. Other guests may post comments which might refute some negative information given.
  • The beauty of having these reviews added directly to your site are three-fold
    1. Guests have to leave an e-mail address to leave a post. You can then have management contact them directly to resolve an issue.
    2. Other visitors to your website can see reviews there, without needing to visit a third-party review site where they can potentially get sidetracked and may end up booking with your competition.
    3. Every blog post builds a page on your site. The potential is that your on-site reviews can show up in Search Engine results for your property name – this may materialize the goal of helping you OWN your brand in the Search Engines.
      Shaking Hands

Place a business card in each room

This technique encourages the guest to review their stay at one of the major travel sites. Start with Tripadvisor.com and Yahoo! Travel. Have 2 sets of cards and place the cards for the site where you need the most help. If you recently received a negative or bad review in Yahoo! Travel, use a card requesting a guest review at Yahoo! Travel in an attempt to move that poor review from the first page.

Gather e-mail addresses when reservations are made

Following their stay, send each guest a short e-mail thanking them for their business and offering a “perk” for future business or referrals from family or friends. Ask them for a review by placing links directly to the page your listing appears on – make it as easy as possible for them to share their experience with others.

Overall being aware of where you are online and WHO you are online will help you focus your attentions and profit from your efforts. Internet brand management is the single best way to ensure the success of your website.

For a limited time only – until November 30, 2006 – Blizzard is giving away their whitepaper “Online Reputation for the Hospitality Industry” free of charge. Send an e-mail to whitepaper@blizzardinternet.com and request your copy!

Carrie Hill – Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc. SEO Seal
34 replies
  1. Curt
    Curt says:

    Carrie:

    2 things:

    We are actively working the reputation management thing. It takes a huge commitment of time, but it works. For example, we are #1 in all New York State.

    Somewhere in this blog is an article from a B&B by a rain forest in Puerto Rico. Naturllary, I can’t find it. Can you? and refer it back to me? In any case, he makes the case to NOT publish TripAdvisor, etc, lest you encourage negative reviews.

    You comments, please?

    Curt

  2. Curt
    Curt says:

    Carrie:

    2 things:

    We are actively working the reputation management thing. It takes a huge commitment of time, but it works. For example, we are #1 in all New York State.

    Somewhere in this blog is an article from a B&B by a rain forest in Puerto Rico. Naturllary, I can’t find it. Can you? and refer it back to me? In any case, he makes the case to NOT publish TripAdvisor, etc, lest you encourage negative reviews.

    You comments, please?

    Curt

  3. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    Hi Curt,
    The blog you spoke of is at http://myblog.rainforestinn.com. I can see his point of view BUT everyone should understand that the future of the internet is in the social nature of review sites and similar avenues.

    Having a link to Tripadvisor.com from your website could encourage a disgruntled guest to post a negative review. If you look at the whitepaper Blizzard is offering, I’ve outlined that fact that negative is not ALWAYS a bad thing. One negative review can give you insight into what you need to fix or what you can do to make every guest happy. Use this as an avenue for you to respond to that negative review on Tripadvisor.com to show their readership that you are a business owner who cares about the guests’ opinion.

    Honest consumer generated content about your establishment will lend itself to recognition of your brand name. If someone comes across a possibly negative review on Tripadvisor when considering Skaneateles Suites and sees that you have posted a management response to that concern, doing everything you can to solve the problem, they are much more likely to book than if there was NOTHING on Tripadvisor at all. Yes, it has that much influence.

    Don’t shy away from online review sites because you’re afraid to learn about something that you can FIX to make a future guest’s stay better. Use the negative review as a tool to become better, not an avenue to slide back.

    Great question, let me know if you have any more!
    ~Carrie

  4. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    Hi Curt,
    The blog you spoke of is at http://myblog.rainforestinn.com. I can see his point of view BUT everyone should understand that the future of the internet is in the social nature of review sites and similar avenues.

    Having a link to Tripadvisor.com from your website could encourage a disgruntled guest to post a negative review. If you look at the whitepaper Blizzard is offering, I’ve outlined that fact that negative is not ALWAYS a bad thing. One negative review can give you insight into what you need to fix or what you can do to make every guest happy. Use this as an avenue for you to respond to that negative review on Tripadvisor.com to show their readership that you are a business owner who cares about the guests’ opinion.

    Honest consumer generated content about your establishment will lend itself to recognition of your brand name. If someone comes across a possibly negative review on Tripadvisor when considering Skaneateles Suites and sees that you have posted a management response to that concern, doing everything you can to solve the problem, they are much more likely to book than if there was NOTHING on Tripadvisor at all. Yes, it has that much influence.

    Don’t shy away from online review sites because you’re afraid to learn about something that you can FIX to make a future guest’s stay better. Use the negative review as a tool to become better, not an avenue to slide back.

    Great question, let me know if you have any more!
    ~Carrie

  5. Joe R.
    Joe R. says:

    We have successfully used many of the tools sited in this article. Our blog set up by Blizzard has garnered several hundred session visitors a day in just weeks and the number is growing. When I write a Blog post, I’ve had google pick it up in less than a few hours. I can’t say how much of this relates to booked business, but traffic on the blog does convert to traffic on our B&B website, so I know that we are capturing incremental business as a result. But it does require a committment. I make a Blog entry at least three times a week or more.

    As for Tripadvisor and the like comment engines, we too are squimish of the negative. But we are learning how to encourage guests to write about us especially when they have volunteered a positive comment. And most all do. We use the card method, but we offer it at check-out time when we ask if they enjoyed their stay. “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with us on a scale of 0-5?” Anything less than 5, we consider that expecations may not have been met and we ask for more detail. Many will not tell you face to face, but if one is sincere, you can often times coax it out and then apply some TLC (Tender Loving Compensation). If we have had a service issue during their visit, we express our concern, offer an explanation if appropriate, along with an apology and then we offer some form of compensation or invite them back on a complimentary basis. Guests seem to appreciate that and say nice things about us and/or the service recovery.

    It is our goal to get them to write about us, but its our mission to solve any issues to their satisfaction BEFORE they leave the property. Having done that, we are in a win win situaton. They are happy; tell friends about the experience; and consider a return visit. We benefit from a nicer comment on line when they get home. With all due respect to Carrie’s suggestions, we want to control the guest experience to the level that we earn a repeat guest as a permanent customer and ambassador to the world about their experience here. Allowing a customer to get out the door not satisfied is not good for future business. Posting a negative on line may offer more “reality” but may not grow repeat business- key in building a strong revenue base. So, for now we are opting for “seek and solve” tactics; the nay sayers will show up on line without our help. We believe this is a fair compromise with the suggested methods and will achieve the same goal; getting realistic comments written about us on-line. Visit our blog, New Orleans Blog, at http://www.mediaroom.avenueinnbb.com or our website at http://www.avenueinnbb,com

  6. Joe R.
    Joe R. says:

    We have successfully used many of the tools sited in this article. Our blog set up by Blizzard has garnered several hundred session visitors a day in just weeks and the number is growing. When I write a Blog post, I’ve had google pick it up in less than a few hours. I can’t say how much of this relates to booked business, but traffic on the blog does convert to traffic on our B&B website, so I know that we are capturing incremental business as a result. But it does require a committment. I make a Blog entry at least three times a week or more.

    As for Tripadvisor and the like comment engines, we too are squimish of the negative. But we are learning how to encourage guests to write about us especially when they have volunteered a positive comment. And most all do. We use the card method, but we offer it at check-out time when we ask if they enjoyed their stay. “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with us on a scale of 0-5?” Anything less than 5, we consider that expecations may not have been met and we ask for more detail. Many will not tell you face to face, but if one is sincere, you can often times coax it out and then apply some TLC (Tender Loving Compensation). If we have had a service issue during their visit, we express our concern, offer an explanation if appropriate, along with an apology and then we offer some form of compensation or invite them back on a complimentary basis. Guests seem to appreciate that and say nice things about us and/or the service recovery.

    It is our goal to get them to write about us, but its our mission to solve any issues to their satisfaction BEFORE they leave the property. Having done that, we are in a win win situaton. They are happy; tell friends about the experience; and consider a return visit. We benefit from a nicer comment on line when they get home. With all due respect to Carrie’s suggestions, we want to control the guest experience to the level that we earn a repeat guest as a permanent customer and ambassador to the world about their experience here. Allowing a customer to get out the door not satisfied is not good for future business. Posting a negative on line may offer more “reality” but may not grow repeat business- key in building a strong revenue base. So, for now we are opting for “seek and solve” tactics; the nay sayers will show up on line without our help. We believe this is a fair compromise with the suggested methods and will achieve the same goal; getting realistic comments written about us on-line. Visit our blog, New Orleans Blog, at http://www.mediaroom.avenueinnbb.com or our website at http://www.avenueinnbb,com

  7. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    Hi Joe –
    Ideally you are right – every customer should walk out the door with the plan to give a glowing review of their trip accommodations. Ultimately this is not possible and so the occasional negative review shows up.

    Personally, when i look for a hotel – i would tend to give more creedence to reviews that include a few negative things that have been addressed by management rather than 25 glowing reviews that might look a bit “contrived.”

    That being said, not everyone is me – and everyone works a bit differently. It is completely up to the property owner/manager to decide whether to link out to a review site.

    Thanks for your input!
    ~Carrie

  8. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    Hi Joe –
    Ideally you are right – every customer should walk out the door with the plan to give a glowing review of their trip accommodations. Ultimately this is not possible and so the occasional negative review shows up.

    Personally, when i look for a hotel – i would tend to give more creedence to reviews that include a few negative things that have been addressed by management rather than 25 glowing reviews that might look a bit “contrived.”

    That being said, not everyone is me – and everyone works a bit differently. It is completely up to the property owner/manager to decide whether to link out to a review site.

    Thanks for your input!
    ~Carrie

  9. Joe R.
    Joe R. says:

    Perhaps my point was not clear. I am in favor of the stragety of linking out to these review sites and reccommend the process to others.

    I agree, like you said, that we will always get some guests who are motivated to make a public comment about an experience that did not meet their expectations. Often times, its only this kind of customer that will vent their frustration online. Those with a positive experience are not as motivated to take the time to make a post. We can’t always know who “the disgruntled” are before they leave the property, so their online reviews will give credence to travelers such as yourself who want to see varied reviews. We have a few of these “negative comments” to prove this theory despite our goal of striving to always meet expectations.

    But as an operator, our mission remains to satisfy a guest before they leave. Or at least make a concerted effort to do so in some form or another. So that is where I was coming from in terms of seeking out both the positive and negative using your card method.

    I also keep in mind that positioning on these sites is often based on an algorithmic average. One or two negative ratings in a highly competative market can drop one’s name to a second or third page or quite a few places from the top of a list. Unfortunately, travel surfers just look at the top 10 or so listings and move on to make their lodging decision. It doesn’t seem fair that a few low scores should effect position so radically, but that’s the way it works. And yes, we do use the technique of “burying” the negative with more positive ones as has been suggested in previous posts here.

    So, I am agreeing with you that the card system and linking is a good idea; so are proactive guest satisfaction methods that lead to positive reviews. And if they are glowing, yet authored by a guest who really had a great experience…like I said, I think we are in agreement.

  10. Joe R.
    Joe R. says:

    Perhaps my point was not clear. I am in favor of the stragety of linking out to these review sites and reccommend the process to others.

    I agree, like you said, that we will always get some guests who are motivated to make a public comment about an experience that did not meet their expectations. Often times, its only this kind of customer that will vent their frustration online. Those with a positive experience are not as motivated to take the time to make a post. We can’t always know who “the disgruntled” are before they leave the property, so their online reviews will give credence to travelers such as yourself who want to see varied reviews. We have a few of these “negative comments” to prove this theory despite our goal of striving to always meet expectations.

    But as an operator, our mission remains to satisfy a guest before they leave. Or at least make a concerted effort to do so in some form or another. So that is where I was coming from in terms of seeking out both the positive and negative using your card method.

    I also keep in mind that positioning on these sites is often based on an algorithmic average. One or two negative ratings in a highly competative market can drop one’s name to a second or third page or quite a few places from the top of a list. Unfortunately, travel surfers just look at the top 10 or so listings and move on to make their lodging decision. It doesn’t seem fair that a few low scores should effect position so radically, but that’s the way it works. And yes, we do use the technique of “burying” the negative with more positive ones as has been suggested in previous posts here.

    So, I am agreeing with you that the card system and linking is a good idea; so are proactive guest satisfaction methods that lead to positive reviews. And if they are glowing, yet authored by a guest who really had a great experience…like I said, I think we are in agreement.

  11. Dave Gross
    Dave Gross says:

    Try as I might I can’t think of any negative comments to include here for contrast. All ideas in the article and the comments of contributors are all valid and helpful. Sometimes we just need a little spark of an idea to move us to action. We too have set up e-mail alerts and adopted most of the methods presented in the piece to help us manage our on-Line reputation more effectively this season.

    Thanks to all at Blizzard for the great work they do and the service they provide. They truely set the standard for excellence in today’s marketing industry.

    Thank You,
    Dave Gross
    Innkeeper
    Historic Requa Inn

  12. Dave Gross
    Dave Gross says:

    Try as I might I can’t think of any negative comments to include here for contrast. All ideas in the article and the comments of contributors are all valid and helpful. Sometimes we just need a little spark of an idea to move us to action. We too have set up e-mail alerts and adopted most of the methods presented in the piece to help us manage our on-Line reputation more effectively this season.

    Thanks to all at Blizzard for the great work they do and the service they provide. They truely set the standard for excellence in today’s marketing industry.

    Thank You,
    Dave Gross
    Innkeeper
    Historic Requa Inn

  13. Joan Kiliany
    Joan Kiliany says:

    I have been considering how best to incorporate a blog for both guest comments and guest photos so I very much appreciate your suggestions about structure and linkage with other on line “comments” sites. This blogging phenomena surely is a major communication trend. …and to think that I just a few months ago added this word to my sixty-ish something vocabulary. Thanks Blizzard, you keep rope towing me along these slippery slopes!! Yours, originally from Grand Junction, Colorado

  14. Joan Kiliany
    Joan Kiliany says:

    I have been considering how best to incorporate a blog for both guest comments and guest photos so I very much appreciate your suggestions about structure and linkage with other on line “comments” sites. This blogging phenomena surely is a major communication trend. …and to think that I just a few months ago added this word to my sixty-ish something vocabulary. Thanks Blizzard, you keep rope towing me along these slippery slopes!! Yours, originally from Grand Junction, Colorado

  15. Joan Kiliany
    Joan Kiliany says:

    For quite some time now I have been considering how to add a blog to our site which would incorporate both guest comments and guest photos mailed back to us which truly are worth outgrabeous words. Your articles helped me to structure and define my thoughts about our blog and think about how best to connect it with other sites which solicit guest comments. Thanks Blizzard, you helping me to improve my vocabulary as the word blog is a most recent one to this sixtyish something person. Keep the rope tow handy for those of my vintage and snow plow elk, your former Grand Junction soul.

    Cordially,

    Joan Kiliany

  16. Joan Kiliany
    Joan Kiliany says:

    For quite some time now I have been considering how to add a blog to our site which would incorporate both guest comments and guest photos mailed back to us which truly are worth outgrabeous words. Your articles helped me to structure and define my thoughts about our blog and think about how best to connect it with other sites which solicit guest comments. Thanks Blizzard, you helping me to improve my vocabulary as the word blog is a most recent one to this sixtyish something person. Keep the rope tow handy for those of my vintage and snow plow elk, your former Grand Junction soul.

    Cordially,

    Joan Kiliany

  17. Tim Cafferty
    Tim Cafferty says:

    Trent and his team at Blizzard Marketing get it. They stay on top of the trends in their industry and can translate what it means to the everyday businessman who is trying to keep up with the day to day.

    The recent whitepaper on “online reputation management” is a perfect example of the team bringing a new subject to light for those of us that don’t have time nor the awareness of why this is important.

    Since reading the paper I’ve realized the importance of the subject, and have taken measures to improve my standing in this area with positive results.

    Thanks Guys for great work once again.

  18. Tim Cafferty
    Tim Cafferty says:

    Trent and his team at Blizzard Marketing get it. They stay on top of the trends in their industry and can translate what it means to the everyday businessman who is trying to keep up with the day to day.

    The recent whitepaper on “online reputation management” is a perfect example of the team bringing a new subject to light for those of us that don’t have time nor the awareness of why this is important.

    Since reading the paper I’ve realized the importance of the subject, and have taken measures to improve my standing in this area with positive results.

    Thanks Guys for great work once again.

  19. María V. Massaro
    María V. Massaro says:

    I work in the Online Distribution Department for Fën Hoteles in Argentina, which is a hotel management group.
    The article “Online Reputation Management for the Hospitality Industry” has helped a lot with useful tips on how to make the most out of our site. At the moment we are working on its promotion by changing the look and feel of it with some ideas from the article.

    Thank you for your interesting work,

  20. María V. Massaro
    María V. Massaro says:

    I work in the Online Distribution Department for Fën Hoteles in Argentina, which is a hotel management group.
    The article “Online Reputation Management for the Hospitality Industry” has helped a lot with useful tips on how to make the most out of our site. At the moment we are working on its promotion by changing the look and feel of it with some ideas from the article.

    Thank you for your interesting work,

  21. Rachel Russell
    Rachel Russell says:

    I work with advertising and marketing for a small vacation rental business based in Asheville. The white paper was a useful tool when I first began learning about marketing and promoting our company. I have been using the google alerts for about two months now and they are proven to be very useful. In addition to the google alerts, I have spent time on tripadvisor and have also been encouraging our guests to leave comments and feedback. All in all the white paper on online reputation management has been useful and I will continue to hold onto it for future reference. Thank you!

  22. Rachel Russell
    Rachel Russell says:

    I work with advertising and marketing for a small vacation rental business based in Asheville. The white paper was a useful tool when I first began learning about marketing and promoting our company. I have been using the google alerts for about two months now and they are proven to be very useful. In addition to the google alerts, I have spent time on tripadvisor and have also been encouraging our guests to leave comments and feedback. All in all the white paper on online reputation management has been useful and I will continue to hold onto it for future reference. Thank you!

  23. Arturo Magana
    Arturo Magana says:

    Great information! We were planning on adding a Blog to our website however, had no reference as the relevance that this could have for us. Reading your article confirmed to us the value of doing so. We look forward to future articles.

    Arturo Magana
    Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel

  24. Arturo Magana
    Arturo Magana says:

    Great information! We were planning on adding a Blog to our website however, had no reference as the relevance that this could have for us. Reading your article confirmed to us the value of doing so. We look forward to future articles.

    Arturo Magana
    Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel

  25. Jerry Scholand
    Jerry Scholand says:

    We operate a B&B in Alaska and I’ve been a little slow to understand the importance of sites like Tripadvisor. Thanks for taking some of the mystery out of this trend. The article was definately worthwhile.

    I could not lnk to it as first advertised, but someone sent it to me later.

  26. Jerry Scholand
    Jerry Scholand says:

    We operate a B&B in Alaska and I’ve been a little slow to understand the importance of sites like Tripadvisor. Thanks for taking some of the mystery out of this trend. The article was definately worthwhile.

    I could not lnk to it as first advertised, but someone sent it to me later.

  27. Glenn Kithcart
    Glenn Kithcart says:

    I have for some time now been sending an email “thank you” note to my guests after check-out. I don’t get a lot of replies but when I do they are 98% positive. I respond to the positive ones with a follow-up email thanking them for their comments and asking them to post their comments on tripadvisor.com with a link to the site. It has proven very successful for me. I also respond to the negative comments expressing thanks and concern and addressing their comments. I haven’t created a blog as of yet but it sounds like a good idea. I also post the replies to my thank you emails on our testimonials page on our site. I have found that we come up in search engines under the tripadvisor reviews which I haven’t been able to equate to traffic to our site but it has to be helpful.

  28. Glenn Kithcart
    Glenn Kithcart says:

    I have for some time now been sending an email “thank you” note to my guests after check-out. I don’t get a lot of replies but when I do they are 98% positive. I respond to the positive ones with a follow-up email thanking them for their comments and asking them to post their comments on tripadvisor.com with a link to the site. It has proven very successful for me. I also respond to the negative comments expressing thanks and concern and addressing their comments. I haven’t created a blog as of yet but it sounds like a good idea. I also post the replies to my thank you emails on our testimonials page on our site. I have found that we come up in search engines under the tripadvisor reviews which I haven’t been able to equate to traffic to our site but it has to be helpful.

  29. Sue Erwin
    Sue Erwin says:

    Thanks so much for the White Paper: OnLine Reputation Management. Staying even — not to mention ahead! — of web marketing trends is difficult, and I have found Blizzard’s site to have a wealth of information. It’s the first place I go when researching. Thank you!

  30. Sue Erwin
    Sue Erwin says:

    Thanks so much for the White Paper: OnLine Reputation Management. Staying even — not to mention ahead! — of web marketing trends is difficult, and I have found Blizzard’s site to have a wealth of information. It’s the first place I go when researching. Thank you!

  31. bill and laurie
    bill and laurie says:

    I’m the one who wrote the blog myblog.rainforestinn in which I am quoted as saying be careful of getting negative reviews in your social web 2.0 promotions. I need to add that recently we have been getting most of referrals from negative reviews that were posted on competitors web sites and which also mentioned us as a better place to stay. So you are right that negative reviews do have a lot of impact. It seems like people believe them more perhaps because we are jaded by advertising that always has glowing things to say and never has much basis in reality.

    I love your white paper. I am doing everything I can to promote my bed and breakfast using the web 2.0 concepts you outline and I am blogging about each step of my efforts so that other bed and breakfast owners can learn from my mistakes.

  32. bill and laurie
    bill and laurie says:

    I’m the one who wrote the blog myblog.rainforestinn in which I am quoted as saying be careful of getting negative reviews in your social web 2.0 promotions. I need to add that recently we have been getting most of referrals from negative reviews that were posted on competitors web sites and which also mentioned us as a better place to stay. So you are right that negative reviews do have a lot of impact. It seems like people believe them more perhaps because we are jaded by advertising that always has glowing things to say and never has much basis in reality.

    I love your white paper. I am doing everything I can to promote my bed and breakfast using the web 2.0 concepts you outline and I am blogging about each step of my efforts so that other bed and breakfast owners can learn from my mistakes.

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  1. The Growing Issue of Online Business Reviews and Blog Comments…

    The growing concern among many consumers who shop online is that any person who works for the company, for instance, someone in public relations or the marketing department, could pose as a “customer” and write a very favorable review of the compan…

  2. The Growing Issue of Online Business Reviews and Blog Comments…

    The growing concern among many consumers who shop online is that any person who works for the company, for instance, someone in public relations or the marketing department, could pose as a “customer” and write a very favorable review of the compan…

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