Last Updated on November 29, 2015 by admin
Times have changed; according to VisitEngland, a survey of 12,000 travellers revealed that 77% of people usually or always referenced TripAdvisor before selecting accommodation and 53% said they wouldn’t select somewhere that didn’t have reviews. Managing the reputation of your holiday letting property online is key to securing bookings.
The growing importance of managing the reputation of your holiday letting property online
A guest review can be the deciding factor when it comes to securing a booking. There are currently more than 720,000 TripAdvisor reviews on holiday cottages across the UK and the way in which you handle these, both good and bad, can have a direct impact on the number of bookings your holiday home enjoys.
We take a look at just a few ways you can manage your online reputation…
Make it easy for people to leave feedback
If someone has an issue you’d ideally want the guest to discuss it with you directly, before taking to the Internet for the world to see. An easy way to facilitate this is to give your guests every opportunity to provide feedback on their stay. Do you provide them with feedback cards? Do you ask them to complete a survey once they’ve returned home, or leave you with any comments?
Identifying and rectifying any issues before your guest has time to dwell on them will allow you to effectively manage your reputation and turn any negatives into positives. If you self let your holiday home that means having someone available to deal with guests concerns during their stay. If you use a holiday letting agent to manage your holiday home, they may offer this service or your housekeeper may be first point of call.
Respond to online reviews – good and bad
If your visitor does take to their computer to leave you a review it will be seen by an ever-growing audience (375 million people visit TripAdvisor each month).
It’s important to respond to feedback whether it’s positive or negative; you’ll want to thank people for taking the time to leave you positive comments and effectively deal with those that have experienced an issue.
Don’t respond in haste
If someone has left a negative review or raised issues that you feel are unfair then it can be tempting to tap ferociously on your keyboard as soon as you see it. Make sure you take time to provide a measured response; think of the points you want to get across and ask someone to read it for tone before posting.
There are many horror stories where reviews have escalated into unseemly disputes in a public forum. You provide a good service; make sure those reading the review in the future will be able to understand your side of the story, why issues have arisen and whether or not the negative review was warranted.
Use positive comments and website widgets
If you’ve got great comments, are you using them across your website? Sites like TripAdvisor provide widgets that can easily be placed on your site. There is no more credible source on the quality of your holiday cottage than those that have visited your property. Using widgets, and their quotes across your website and marketing material will enable you to amplify the great experience visitors have had.
Take advantage of online monitoring tools
If you consider that the average person on Facebook has 338 friends, you’ll soon realise that any negative mention of your brand can spread like wild fire. The problem is, with the vast and fast moving nature of social media, how can you keep a track of these mentions and respond to them in a quick and efficient way (without spending hours searching!).
There are free tools such as socialmention.com that will allow you to keep an eye on mentions across the Internet as a whole, whilst Google Alerts will send you any pages that are indexed related to your brand straight to your email inbox.
The @mentions tab on Twitter will provide you with any direct mentions of your Twitter handle, but if you’re looking to extend your monitoring of this further you can utilise tools such as Hootsuite, which will allow you to search for any mentions of your brand name, or related phrases.
Each of these tools will allow you to respond and manage any potential reputation issues quickly and efficiently.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.