Don’t let great stays at your property go unnoticed. Hospitality marketing thrives on positive and memorable guest experiences. But it does no good for you or for other travelers, if your guests aren’t compelled enough to leave any feedback – positive or otherwise. Short of bribing (an absolute no-no), the secret to encouraging reviews is to do so with tact. This will softly encourage positive reviews, and subtly drive your guests to do so willingly. Here are some tactfully smart ways for hotel marketing teams to encourage guests to leave glowing reviews online.
Start with Epic Service
Give your guests something to rave about. Wow your guests with consistently memorable and amazing customer service and you’ll see the good reviews pour in. One of my clients, the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar, is driven by one motto: WOW customer service. That principle is instilled in every employee’s guest interaction and their TripAdvisor reviews prove it. They’re consistently ranked within TripAdvisor’s Top 10 hotels in San Diego (out of 271) and have stolen the #1 spot numerous times. One reviewer likened their customer service to that of the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton! While the hotel themselves could never have gotten away with making that claim, it was more powerful and poignant coming from a guest’s mouth.
Catch Them While They’re Still In-House
Guests are more likely to leave feedback for you while they’re still at your hotel. First off, make it easy for them to get online in their rooms. Place table tents on each desk, or a noticeable placard close to the desk lamp. Print them with a message to encourage guests to put their experiences in writing, such as: “Tell us how your stay is going so far” or “Got something to say about your stay with us? Leave us a review and let us know!” Make it almost effortless for them – if you provide solid Internet access and request feedback, they’re much more likely to oblige.
Stay in Touch Right Away
Once your guests have checked out, make sure you send them an email thanking them for their stay. In this message, include a request for their feedback on their visit or to leave a review at one of the more noteworthy review sites, such as TripAdvisor. To make things easier, send them links to these websites, or to the page of your own website which contains all the testimonials of your previous guests. Do this as soon as possible after they have checked out so that their hotel stay is still fresh in their minds.
When your guests check out, send them off with complimentary keepsake postcards along with a request for their review. Ideally, these postcards should highlight your property’s most stunning image so that the guests will want to keep as a souvenir of their travels. It’s best to encourage them for a review verbally and with an attached note on the postcard itself. I’ve seen some hotels do this with the final bill, as well. However, while receipts are something they’ll definitely refer back to again, do you really want your guests to head to TripAdvisor immediately after being reminded of how much they paid?
Tell Them How Their Feedback Will Help
Give your guests some credit. They’re reasonable people and if they have enjoyed their stay and your services, you can approach them frankly and ask them to review your hotel. Do so casually and without ‘selling’ it. Just a simple, “We’d appreciate it if you left a review!” will suffice. This would give them a sense of pride that you have put your faith in them and are banking on their wisdom to get good reviews. Plus, let them know that it’s not just you who wants the feedback, but future guests will be reading the reviews as well.