I stayed in a hotel recently where the owner proudly featured a sticker on the door saying that it was rated the number 1 hotel in that town on Tripadvisor. I asked the manager if review websites like Tripadvisor are really important or just a nice part of the customer experience.
He told me that he estimates about 90% of his non-returning clients are booking because of the positive reviews on Tripadvisor. I could hardly believe it. It’s not that the online reviews are just nice to have – they are driving 9 out of 10 new guests to the hotel!
I was thinking about this when I read this CNBC article about the importance of online comments and reviews of services today. The article talks about brands now monitoring mentions of their name and their services, but also comments and reviews on sites like Amazon.
The monitoring process is designed to help a brand deal with negative feedback in a positive way – before it might get out of hand and become a problem. It’s easy for a negative review to go viral, especially if the reviewer has written it in a way that encourages sharing.
Monitoring your online brand footprint is no longer about just checking your Facebook and Twitter pages. Customers don’t refer negative or positive comments to you – you need to go and find them and that will often be on review sites. It’s essential that this kind of monitoring is part of your customer experience strategy because review sites are often the very first place a customer will have an experience of your brand.
Photo by Harry Wood licensed under Creative Commons