Managing your reputation as a bed and breakfast is more important than ever in this fast-paced world of easily accessed online information. Whether bed and breakfast innkeepers monitor it or not, people are talking about their inns. Do you know what others are saying about your bed and breakfast? Do you look at reviews written by your previous guests? Conversation goes on whether or not you participate in it. You can’t afford not to know what is being said about you and your inn!
According to Trip Advisor, 93% of people find reviews important when determining where they want to stay. This is why receiving positive feedback from satisfied guests is so critical. Every effort should be made to reduce negative reviews and improve the reputation and appeal of your place of lodging.
Online reputation management means monitoring and influencing the image of your property throughout the internet. Places of hospitality should focus on review sites, social media, and search engine results. People from all backgrounds and all over the world use the internet for online travel research before booking their accommodations.
B&B Reputation Management Tips
- Monitor all feedback avenues regularly
- Spend most of your time listening and paying attention
- Read everything travelers are saying about your B&B on OTAs & review sites
- Set up a Google Alert for the name of your B&B and other relevant keywords
- Communicate why people should recommend your brand vs. your competitors
- Know what messages about your brand you want guests to share
- Provide plenty of opportunities for guest feedback during their stay
- Answer all questions in a timely manner
- Respond with an open mind to comments
- Engage with sincerity and authenticity
- Take all precautions to prevent negative events from occurring
Owning a hospitality business means you need to actively protect your reputation and image. In the event that your reputation management escalates to crisis management, ignoring negative guest comments does not make them go away.
Actions To Protect Your Hospitality Brand
- Identify the naysayers and respond promptly
- Make the appropriate apologies and explanations
- Seek to positively solve their problem
- Isolate them so the conversation becomes more personal, but far less public
- Talk in a one-on-one private discussion to find the solution to their problem
- For every zealot trying to hurt you, your loyal guests are ready to defend you
- Consumers will generally “shout down” detractors who are way off base
- Reputation terrorists often base their arguments on feelings vs. facts
- Have an escalation plan in place for excessive bashing in multiple forums
- Pick your battles and tactfully respond to criticism
- Always take the high road
Gathering a lot of mostly positive feedback will increase your visibility because guest reviews will be distributed efficiently on social media as well as booking platforms. At the same time, you can avoid losing commissions by getting people to directly use your website and your booking engine. A high rating means your reputation is on a good level, automatically driving demand for your B&B and creating more revenue for you and your employees.
The key is to be attentive and responsive to guests in person, on the phone with callers, and online with those asking questions or making comments. If you do not have a blog already, considering adding one so that people can get to know the details about you, your inn, and your local area.
Managing your reputation is critical to the success of your bed and breakfast. By tracking comments on review sites (like TripAdvisor and Yelp) as well as preventing (and defusing) any potential reputation crises, you maintain your reputation for superior hospitality.
B&B Realtors Rob Sales and Lori Blass have expertise not only as former innkeepers, but as experienced B&B consultants. Whether you are buying or selling a bed and breakfast or in need of professional B&B advice, you are welcome to contact us.