Once upon a time, figuring out how your hotel guests felt about their stay was easy: you either read their positive comments in the guestbook, or listened to their problems at the front desk. And while this individual feedback was vital in helping you grow your business, on the whole it quite simply didn’t matter. After all, how much reach could one person have?
Skip forward to 2018, and the answer is a ton. With the explosion of social media channels and review platforms, the opportunities for guests to share their experiences to an engaged audience are endless. And unlike the days of the guestbook, we don’t just leave feedback at the end of the stay. Now, checking in to a hotel on Instagram is just as important as in real life. With the ability to share 24/7 updates on what we’re eating, where we’re sleeping and who we’re interacting with, the reviewing process begins as soon as we book up our stay.
So what does that mean for hospitality? Well if social talking is non-stop, social listening must be as well. And no, that doesn’t mean eavesdropping into your guests’ pool-side conversations. Instead, hotels are increasingly using social listening tools to keep on top of what’s being said about their hotel – the good, the bad, and the ugly. With this proactive approach to CRM, you can keep track of your guests’ wants, needs, desires, and gripes, then step into the conversation at just the right time.
You know when you eat at an upmarket restaurant, and the expertly-trained waiter refills your glass before you’ve even realised it’s empty? Social listening lets you be that waiter. By monitoring what both your guests are saying about you across social media, blogs and review sites, you can appear at the perfect moment with advice, thanks, and when necessary, a sorry.
Keeping on top of online conversations might sound tricky, especially as new channels for feedback appear all the time. But with some handy digital tools, social listening doesn’t have to be difficult. Rather, it’s learning how to turn this business intelligence into positive growth and development that’s the most challenging part. Customer feedback not only helps you strengthen individual relationships with guests, but it also lets you figure out what your clientele wants, and build a brand that reflects just that.
The days of the simple guest book may be over, but in its place we have conversations. And when it comes to creating inspiring hotels, nothing could be more important.