The customer experience today represents a process between the customer and the hotel throughout their relationship.
This process is influenced by the customer journey, key reference points where customer come in contact with the hotel, and all micro-moments offline and online that impacts the customer experience.
Reputation has existed as an identity influencer almost as long as there have been humans. Reputation is a social construction that represents the opinion of others about a person, business, or another organized group.
With the internet, new technology and social media focus have shifted towards online reputation.
Today a hotel’s reputation can change overnight.
For hotels, the battleground for customer loyalty has shifted from tangible to intangible. From products and services to experiences and ease of access.
With the introduction of GDPR privacy plays a key role in context with reputation and customer experience.
Social media acts as an extended channel to listen, care and connect with customers today.
Hotels have to start prioritizing customer lifetime value and develop a worthwhile customer journey.
The customer journey sweet spots
Today hotels have to understand and be able to respond to every micro-moment of the customer journey.
It is critical to understand how social media marketing and communication strategies will help customers add value and reach goals that will get them closer to your hotel’s goals.
To achieve this hotels need to put in place new strategies that focus on value innovation that help bridge the gap between your content and customer intent.
From star ratings to customer reactions
Star ratings have for many years played a role as a general guideline for what customers can expect from a hotel.
The original star-rating system was started by Forbes Travel Guide in the 1950s. Since then, several different evaluating bodies have assigned stars, so it has been important to check who the evaluator was and what its system entails.
And in some cases, independent organizations like AAA inspect hotels and give them a diamond rating by their guidelines.
Even though there is no universal scoring system for hotels customer has a general perception of what star ratings means that defines their expectations.
With social media, we have seen shifts that include “scary” stuff like engagement, relationships, humanness, authenticity, transparency, privacy, and trust.
The customer has taken control of the customer experience and as a result of this, they required new ways to feel heard and be understood.
Social network channels like Facebook and LinkedIn implemented reactions to help customers more ways to quickly and constructively communicate with each other.
Reactions are designed to embrace the conversations that add the most value to the community.
What is important for hotels to understand in this context is that the shift from tangible to intangible also impacts customer loyalty.
Today is critical that we understand all customer behavior and patterns that impact their decisions.
Understand customer reactions is the new online reputation management aspect.
Reputation management and responsive digital marketing funnel
The hotel today is required to live up to its responsibility of serving customers in a disruptive market.
Looking at the disruptive digital marketing funnel online reputation management is how we leverage and optimize both inbound and outbound marketing.
With reactions, social media has added a new element to online reputation management.
Hotels have to start to craft new strategies that shape or influence the customer perception of the brand.
We already understand the importance of listening, care and connect with the customer. Now we have to understand how to respond and show the customer that the hotel’s reputation matters.
It is really important to understand that customers no longer solely rely on information from the hotel, online travel agencies, review sites, or media outlets. Customers will look to their peers and network for additional insight.
Customers not will no longer just compare hotels against relevant competitors for price or other things that matter for their decision. They will look at any experience and compare it with the customer experience in context with your hotel.
Hotels have to be monitoring social media, search engine results, media, and relevant review platforms.
The data and insight gather will position your hotel to take proactive actions that verify that you listen and care about the customer.
This puts you in a position to connect and build a new unique relationship with the customer and start to promote a positive reputation.
If you want your hotel’s customers to stay loyal you have to invest in the customer experience.
How has social media added new challenges to your hotel’s online reputation management?
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Related article: The Ultimate Digital Transformation Plan That Will Rescue Any Hotel
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I need to let you all know that we are in on this together. If you need to vent, talk, cry, or just have some to talk with, I am here listening. Since I am working part-time at the local Kroger, I will best work it out around my schedule to the best of my ability.
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About Are Morch
Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Transformation Coach helping hotels create unique and unexpected experiences by freeing up resources to focus on new ideas through value innovation and a growth mindset.