MARKHAM, ONTARIO—According to research, 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose a business. Book4Time aims to address every step of the customer journey, from booking to reviews.
“Gaining instant feedback on customer experiences is key to managing the digital reputation of your hotel and can remind your guests that you care,” said Roger Sholanki, CEO of Book4Time.
One of Book4Time’s features automatically sends a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, which uses a 1-10 rating scale to gauge feedback, to guests in a thank you email as soon as they leave the hotel.
“Any guest feedback given through the Book4Time platform will be displayed throughout all touchpoints of the customer’s journey,” said Sholanki. “For example, if a guest had a great experience and left a very high rating in the survey, an employee will see this information displayed as the guest checks in for another visit.”
Some of the factors that lead to a bad hotel review are obvious, such as an unclean room or rude staff, but some aren’t as visible, such as inconsistent service and a cumbersome booking process.
“Guest complaints are unfortunately an unavoidable reality of the hospitality industry,” he said. “While every hotel is different, there are some common guest complaint issues.” Here’s a breakdown of concerns that could lead to a less than favorable online review:
Rooms that are not clean — If your guests enter their room to find it’s not clean, they will not visit your hotel again and will be motivated to leave negative feedback on travel review sites, warning other would-be guests about the condition of the room.
Charging for internet access — Guests expect to have access to high speed internet when they stay at a hotel. Whether it’s to work or to check out things to do around your hotel, guests want reliable internet access and get irritated when they have to pay extra for it.
Rude, untrained and/or unhelpful staff — If your hotel staff are untrained, unenthusiastic, hard to locate or contact, it will reflect badly on your property and guarantee that the guest will be booking elsewhere on their next visit.
Inconsistent service — If guests find that your front desk is not staffed on a consistent basis, their room is serviced at different times of the day, not enough towels are provided from one day to the next, or room service is hard to contact, these are all inconsistencies that can downgrade guest experience and have them booking another hotel that offers the same high quality experience day in and day out.
Cumbersome booking processes — Whether it’s for their favorite spa service or some time on the adjoining golf course, it’s important to make the booking process for your hotel’s amenities as seamless as possible. It’s easier than ever to streamline your management software to make booking a quick and painless process whether the guest calls or books online.
“Hotels are increasingly turning to technology solutions to help mitigate guest complaints, manage customer activity and personalize each visit to provide the highest quality service and improve guest experience,” he said. “Using technology to deliver superior service not only helps hoteliers retain clients, but can help build new revenue and increase brand image.”
In addition, Sholanki shared four tips to help hoteliers garner a positive review:
Provide a great guest experience — Taking care to deliver outstanding guest experiences, including staff that are friendly and available, and keeping rooms and amenities in top notch condition, will generate the kind of online review feedback that will attract new customers and keep existing customers coming back.
Encourage customers to leave reviews — Most customers are happy to write a review if they are asked. It just takes getting into the habit of asking for feedback, educating your customers on how they can leave comments and encouraging them to share their positive experiences. Train your staff to remind customers at check-out to leave a review on sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google or Yelp. You can automate and streamline the process of requesting feedback by using technology to easily send surveys and online review reminders to guests via email as soon as they depart.
Respond to reviews — Make your reviews two-way conversations by setting aside time each week to respond to comments—both positive and negative. Being responsive and engaged demonstrates that you care and are listening, which often encourages more feedback.
A recent study from Harvard Business Review found that simply responding to reviews increases a business’s number of reviews by 12%, and ratings increase by an average of 0.12 stars. When some sites devoted to ratings round to the nearest half star, even small gains can make the difference between a four-star hotel and a 4.5-star hotel. So, whether you’re addressing a negative review or thanking someone for a glowing endorsement, you can improve and increase your hotel’s reviews by simply taking time to respond to them.
Use technology to manage and track reviews — Technology solutions can also be used to help you monitor feedback, so you can take appropriate action. These solutions can simplify the tracking of your hotel’s digital reputation and centrally manage reviews across sites such as TripAdvisor, Facebook and Yelp.
While Book4Time doesn’t differentiate between real and fabricated reviews, the platform encourages real clients to take the time to leave a review, thereby increasing your proportion of reputable reviews, noted Sholanki.
“Review websites are increasingly influencing how people make booking decisions,” he said. “In fact, research from TripAdvisor found that 77% of people usually or always reference reviews before booking a hotel and 80% of those travelers read at least six to 12 comments before booking. Given the importance of reviews for influencing consumer decisions, it is critical to ensure your reviews are legitimate and helpful.”
This year, Sholanki anticipates increased demand in the hotel and resort market, and plans to introduce additional innovative products and features to his platform to continue serving these markets. “This year will also see us increase focus and investment in international markets and a drive toward continued growth in the casino spa vertical,” he said.
Book4Time recently introduced an all-in-one payment system powered by CardConnect, a First Data company. Built to work seamlessly with Book4Time’s products, this fully integrated payment solution allows hotel, spa, fitness club, casino and salon managers to streamline their operations by managing their business and payments all in one place. Users also see a direct savings on processing fees, reducing these costs for most companies.
“We experienced significant adoption and growth for Guest Intake, our new platform for creating a better intake experience for guests, with 362% month-over-month growth in December,” he said. “We attribute much of this growth to the new, innovative product integrations introduced over the course of Q4 2018, including Cegid WinRetail, an inventory management tool, and DemandForce, an online platform designed to automate and optimize marketing and communications. We also brought new brands into our network of customers, including Dusit Hotels & Resorts, Playa Resorts and Natura Bisse, a provider of products and spa treatments.”