About the author: David Mitchell is the business owner of Webmarketing4hoteliers, a private, members-only, resource for B&B owners who are serious about ‘making more money’ through effective marketing on the internet. The latest strategies and tactics are catered for – as well as ‘hand-holding’ for complete newcomers. You can contact David Mitchell for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before the advent of social media it did not really matter a great deal what people said about your B&B. If a guest was not too happy they may have told a few people but the damage was limited. That has all changed now.
Independent guest reviews are now more important than ever. It is much easier to present guest review information than it ever was before. B&Bs that don’t parade their reviews at every opportunity are missing a trick. Great testimonials from raving guests are no longer just nice to have. Today, they’re a requirement to build your credibility with potential guests.
If you deliver a service to the public, you will get complaints – a guest may have had a bad journey, they may not be feeling 100% and even though you do your very best they still might not be 100% happy. Until the advent of social media it wasn’t a big issue but now it is. Recently, guest comments both good and bad have become very public and negative reviews can be damaging if not handled correctly.
The ‘word’ now gets out and ‘spreads like wildfire’. You need to be aware of what is being said about your establishment and you must set up your ‘early warning’ system using Google alerts, Twitter and social mention. If you are on Trip Advisor (which you should be), make sure you set up to receive an email each time a review is posted.
Responding to good reviews is as important as handling negative comments. Responding to a good review shows that you take an interest and care about what is being said about your B&B.
No matter how fantastic your service is you will get negative reviews on Google Places, Trip Advisor and other review sites. You will get comments on your Facebook fan page and have negative ‘tweets’ posted on Twitter. Don’t ignore them or bury your head in the sand. Accept them and work with the issues raised whether they are justified or not. Engage with your reviewers, enter into dialogue with them and address their concerns.
Guest reviews are great marketing tools for your B&B. Your guests have huge credibility compared to you, the B&B owner. A few glowing words from a guest who has experienced your hospitality can say much more than you ever could.
Having gathered the guest reviews, what do you do with them? In the words of the late and great Sir Henry Cooper, you ‘splash ’em all over’ your website, not just on one page. Put them on your Facebook page and your LinkedIn profile and tweet about them. A few cardinal rules – try and use photos of the guest leaving a review and you MUST include their name, location and date of stay.
Photo and written testimonials are great but video comments are 1000 times more credible. Post the videos on YouTube, on your website and local places listings. Video testimonials need to be clear but not Hollywood standard.
As a member of webmarketing4hoteliers we will show you how to take great videos with a handheld flip camera. We will also show you how to create and customise your YouTube channel and upload video to your website and local places listings.
Image from Flickr user dev null