The Lodging Leaders Podcast: Powerful Business Strategies for Hotel Professionals

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Lodging Leaders brings together the best and brightest minds of the hotel industry to share their stories, insights and actionable advice. Each week, LodgingMetrics.com founder and entrepreneur Jon Albano interviews inspiring hoteliers and leading industry professionals that have produced amazing results to help you maximize profits, scale your portfolio, protect your investment, and so much more. Let the collective intelligence of the hotel industry lead you to better results.

The Lodging Leaders Podcast: Powerful Business Strategies for Hotel Professionals navigateright Episode

008 | Managing Your Online Reputation with Geordie Wardman

Geordie Wardman is Founder and Chief Conversion Officer of WaveReview.com, a Software as a Service platform that helps businesses improve their online reputations by proactively increasing the frequency and effectiveness of customer interaction. Over the last several years, he has become an expert in managing your online reputation.   Background Geordie grew up in Bermuda in a hotelier family. His father and grandfather owned and operated several boutique hotels, so he learned the hotel business from the ground up.  Fast forward to 2007, Geordie started a business in Mexico where he began installing WiFi systems in hotels, and in 2009/2010, he decided to relocate to a beautiful area just outside of Porta Vallarta, Mexico.   As his hotel WiFi business grew, Geordie began to hear his clients share some of the same challenges over and over again, including guest reviews and online reputation. In an effort to better understand the problem, Geordie made over 200 calls to hoteliers and business owners over a 5 month period. He dove deep into the problems and how to solve them in order to help hoteliers build a positive reputation and stay competitive. From the feedback he received, Geordie created various services to support Hoteliers, including a Software as a Service platform WaveReview.com that helps businesses improve their online reputations through increased customer interaction. The WaveReview process is simple - each hotel guest receives an automated, 2-question survey after they check out. Guests that had a negative experience are sent an auto-apology, while also being escalated to a manager to resolve before the guest has a chance to complain online. Guests that had a positive experience are redirected to social review sites and encouraged to spread the news about your brand. More positive reviews will boost your online rankings and this will translate into more business. Although these services are extremely helpful and effective, Geordie believes there are many things Hoteliers can do on their own as well. Issue with online reputation and steps hoteliers can take Geordie says there are really 2 types of people who leave reviews: those who had an excellent stay and those who had a bad stay. Those (guests) who had a “bad” stay are more motivated to leave a review. What hoteliers can do to avoid the volume of negative reviews is be sure to check in with guests as much as possible during their stay. Geordie also recommends giving out surveys to obtain accurate feedback. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for those who had a positive experience to leave a review and it is all in the follow up sequence. A 2009 study conducted by Cornell's Christopher Anderson revealed that if you increase your rates by one star, you can increase your rates by 10%. Of course, the numbers have doubled since then. But you can see the significance of having an excellent online reputation. Once again, having a consistent follow up system is everything because it is all about communication and that includes following up with people who leave positive reviews as well as negative reviews. What he discovered was that people left negative reviews because the hotels did not address whatever issue they had. One of the core things he knew he needed to solve within his service was that the right person needed to know about a problem a guest was experiencing before it got online. Get guest email addresses As a hotelier, it's really important to capture the email addresses of your hotel guests so you can easily communicate with your customers. Then you want to follow up (it’s recommended to follow up after about 2 days). The questions on the survey are simple: How was the service (Not great/Okay/Excellent) How likely are you to recommend? (Not likely/Maybe likely/Highly likely) Then management follows up with all guests to get positive feedback. It also gives Hoteliers the chance to get real fe...