Friday, July 22, 2016

Quick guide to avoid receiving negative reviews from your guests

77% of travellers usually or always read reviews before booking a hotel. 80% of travellers read 6-12 reviews before booking the hotel. Those are significant numbers presented by TripAdvisor’sresearch. If you think it over, you will come to one conclusion. As you probably have a lot of competitors, each mistake can cause the loss of potential business. Why? Because your guests care about their experience, not your business. Thus at this moment, negative reviews are your worst enemy.



I think that the well-known rule saying that 9 positive reviews and 1 negative sell more than 10 positive ones doesn’t apply in hospitality anymore. Instead, the single negative review can cause you trouble that will degrade your position not only in booking engines but in mind of your potential guests, too.

Note: Just to remind you, when you receive a negative review on Booking, you need at least 3 positive ones to restore your previous rating. Take 2, 3, 10 negative ones and multiply them by 3. As I said, trouble.

These days, booking engines requests guest to rate the hotel they visited 2 or so days after they check out. Wait a second. Isn’t it little too late? In Hospitality 2.0, guests should be able to affect their stay while they are still accommodated. The feedback should come in real-time. This way, each guest can contribute to quality of her stay. Small problems (missing toilet paper, noisy room, etc.) should be easily taken care of instead of seeing their “passionate” description on review sites later on. Will it affect your rating? It certainly will. 

You will not make it without first class customer service

Before we start, you should keep one thing in mind. You will not be able to please your guests unless you are ready to commit in high level customer service. What am I talking about? Certainly not about amenities you have at your disposal. There are other factors that matter more: willingness, decency, joy, helpfulness and humility. If you can swallow your pride and provide your guests with these, they will enjoy the “soul“ of the hotel instead of equipment only. You cannot be perfect anytime, no one is. However, your attitude to solve the problem in case it arise will definitely make a difference.

Give a chance to complain during the stay

The difference between positive and negative review is not just in a way of handling a complaint. Even more crucial is if you have an opportunity to handle it or not. Many times the guest faces some minor problem in the room (Wi-Fi or TV doesn’t work), she doesn’t want to call the front desk and permanently forget about it when they are around (I think this is the case of more people than solely mine). You might think everything is okay, however, once this guest is back at home, she turns on Booking, TripAdvisor and all other possible media and doesn’t hesitate to write about it. W-R-O-N-G! When something like this happens, you failed in the lesson “Know your guests 101“.

What you should do is to make it easy for your guests to complain during their stay in the way you can identify them. If you know who the guest is, you can get in touch and solve the problem immediately. In other words, you can turn unsatisfied guest to satisfied one until she leaves. The way you will do it (discount, extra free service, apology) is a matter of your policy, and only sky is the limit here. But medium that will allow the guests to let you know is what matters here.

There are several options to find out that there is a problem:

1. Complaint box

Quite old school thing that can work especially well for people who are not that engaged in the technology. Let them share their feelings about your hotel via piece of paper and pencil. Don’t forget to include the space for the room number and also ask for it with call to action on the feedback form.

2. Complaint kiosk

You might saw a huge machine with the keyboard asking yourself What does this thing do?. In many cases it can be used to gather information about the hotel and the area, as long as it can allow guests to post some comment in. Put this machine to the frequently visited place in your hotel so it will not be overlooked (front desk, restaurant). It will increase your chances to collect some thoughts and suggestions. However, the price of these machines might not be favorable.

3. Mobile application

Many hotel mobile applications provide the guest with the feedback feature. Moreover, adding maintenance as your live chat option might be a vital step, too. It ensures guest can ask for help anytime something is going wrong. As guests can let you know immediately by picking up their smartphone or tablet, you can solve the problem quickly. As you usually exactly know who complained, you are able to provide nice gesture to say you are sorry. If the price is a matter for you, there are several providers on the market that can make it affordable for you.

Remember that your goal is to listen to your guests, react to their complaints and once they want to tell the world, they will praise you instead of plastering you all over the Internet

How would you ensure your guests leave satisfied? Share you thoughts and experience in comments below.

This is a guest post by Lukáš Kakalejčík, Marketing Specialist at RoomAssistant and PhD. candidate at Technical university of Košice, Faculty of Economics. He focuses on digital marketing, analysis and business development.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Top Three Travel Trends in Mexico

The 41st edition of Tianguis Turistico was held towards the end of April at Expo Guadalajara, the largest exhibition centre in Mexico. The event was an important platform for hoteliers and the travel industry to come together. Thousands of exhibitors and visitors from across the globe gathered under one roof for promoting their brand and network with peers.

Like previous years, I was at the event and got a chance to interact with the revenue management & travel technology professionals.


Julian Lindt (extreme right) at a partner stand

Here are some of the key trends that were discussed during the show.

Surge in Luxury Inbound Tourism

Mexico is one of the finest luxury travel destinations and ranks among the top five favorite places for luxury tourism. Various exotic destinations, warm weather and a wide range of holiday activities attract a significant number of travellers to Mexico. Accordingto a Euromonitor International report in 2014, the country saw a double-digit growth in inbound travel which is much higher than overall Latin American and global growth rates. In the same year, Mexico welcomed around 19.3 million international tourists and the most surprising part is business travel amounted 9.9% of all travel expenditure and is expected to grow by another 6.5% in 2016. The tourism industry contributes 8.4% to Mexico’s GDP and as the economy of the country is growing strong compared to other developing countries travel expenditure is also growing rapidly.


Strong growth of online intermediaries

In 2015, Mexico hadaround 65.1 million internet users and by the end of this year the figure is projected to grow to 70.7 million users. An eMarketer report suggests that the country holds number 2 position when it comes to smartphone audience size – 47.4% of all mobile phone users in Mexico have smartphones. Due to high internet penetration and increase use of smartphones, online travel has grown rapidly. At the same time, online travel agents have also gained popularity among Mexican travellers who are adapting quickly to the global trends of using the internet and mobile devices to plan and pay for business or leisure trips. As the technology has been constantly evolving, online intermediaries are also looking for new ways to offer new products and services in order to attract more consumers.


Rise of alternate lodging options

Driven by the increase in use of internet and smartphone users, peer-to-peer alternative accommodation options are growing fast in Mexico. Travellers have been exploring new online platforms like Airbnb. In Mexico City alone, Airbnb has 2773 listings - two-thirds of which are comprised of homes and apartments. Hotels have already started feeling the effect of Airbnb’s approach to room rentals and its continued growth has forced hotels to reduce room rates.



The advancement in technology has changed the online travel scenario in Mexico – the way travellers research and select their preferred accommodations. As modern travellers are more price sensitive and are looking for alternate methods of experiential stays, hoteliers need to have a well-defined value proposition coupled with strong online presence. Not only should they participate in global OTAs, hotels should tap the potential of regional channels as well as meta search engines to drive direct bookings while at the same time have a strong marketing strategy to offer their guests with personalised experience.

Julian Lindt is the Latin America Sales Director at eRevMax. He can be reached at julianl@erevmax.com.