In the wake of Covid-19, hotels will face new challenges related to ensuring guests feel safe when they travel. One of the most powerful things a business can do in this initial reopening period is to manage their “Covid Reputation” obsessively. A good impression can set you apart from competitors and help you get back on your feet faster by expediting revenue growth. A bad impression, even from only a small minority of guests, can spread like wildfire, fueled by fear. Businesses have never been more vulnerable to online reputation and reviews.
There are two key elements to consider when it comes to managing your Covid Reputation.
The first is reality: it is essential that best-in-class hygiene and social distancing practices are followed on property.
The second is perception: how safe your guests feel when staying at your property.
Over-communicating with guests about the actions your hotel is taking to keep them safe is a big part of this. But perhaps most important of all is managing new online reviews, and doing everything you can to receive and address guest feedback earlier in the guest journey so that it never becomes immortalized online.
Here is a good example of the difference between reality and perception: an early re-opening guest left a review on TripAdvisor describing his experience dining at a hotel’s restaurant. He complained that the table salt, which was served in a small dish, should have had a serving spoon - implying that guests were cross-contaminating germs by using their fingers. The reality was that the hotel served a brand new dish of table salt each time they re-set the table between diners. Unfortunately, by the time this review made it to TripAdvisor, the hotel was already backpedalling to clarify the misunderstanding. This epitomizes the importance of clear communication and receiving real-time guest feedback.
Here are four ways to get started with managing your Covid Reputation:
1. Ensure and enforce hygiene practices
Start by ensuring that your property is adhering to best-in-class hygiene practices, if you are not already. It is not enough to just follow these new measures in theory - you must commit to enforcing them in practice - all day, every day, until Covid-19 is well and truly behind us.
Here are some examples of best-in-class hygiene practices we’ve seen from leading hotels:
- Physical distancing
- Sanitizing public spaces
- Hand sanitizer stations
- Digitizing all paper collateral (menus, information booklets, etc)
- Cashless transactions
- Decluttering unnecessary items
- Contactless check-in, check-out, cleaning, and room service delivery
- Hospital-grade deep cleans pre-and post stay
- Option to request no housekeeping during stay
- Reducing and distancing seating options in common areas (lobby, restaurants, etc)
2. Showcase real guest experiences with user-generated content
To boost guests’ perception of your “Covid Reputation”, showcase guest experience photos across your website and social media of real guests enjoying themselves at your property. In particular, user-generated content (UGC) will be more powerful than ever right now so make sure it’s part of your marketing strategy.
3. Be proactive in collecting and responding to guest feedback
Proactively manage external perception of your hotel’s Covid Reputation by receiving guest feedback earlier and acting on it. Monitor all of your review sites and social media channels for any posts that mention your business, particularly alongside Covid or hygiene-related terms. Better yet, use a social media tool that can give you real-time alerts of this activity. Collect real-time feedback from guests while they are on-site either via WiFi log-in or on-premise prompts with QR codes then route this guest feedback to the right people, so that service can be recovered in real-time.
Responding to guest feedback is more important than ever before. If you are time-constrained, prioritize negative posts first. Respond to these as quickly as possible, either publicly or via private message, to prevent them from turning into a publicity storm that could cause you reputational damage.
4. Continue the guest experience by following up post-stay
Remember that the guest experience continues long beyond their physical stay. Email every guest post-stay to thank them for their visit. And for any negative feedback related to Covid, make sure you send a personalized post stay engagement directly from the GM.
This is not a time for hotels and hospitality businesses to be passive. By obsessively managing your Covid Reputation you can build brand awareness, improve the guest experience, drive customer loyalty and ultimately increase sales.
Loopon by Local Measure is one of the leading solutions for post-stay feedback and online reputation. Loopon users can manage their Covid Reputation by customizing the post-stay guest feedback survey with additional questions related to Covid, utilizing the Loopon unified inbox to receive notifications every time a new online review is left about your hotel, and reviewing the live dashboard in real-time to analyze your online reputation and NPS performance. Learn more about Loopon by Local Measure here.