Monday 11 February 2013

Dialogue to combat the hard times

Hotels continue to report how great a struggle it is to turn a profit in these difficult times - and you don't need us to tell you why. But sometimes it is easy to focus on the 'warm and fuzzy' aspects of Dialogue - guest feedback (invaluable as that is) - rather than its potential impact on a hotel's bottom line, so here goes...

First - what have we learned from our hotel clients?
  • That almost every potential guest (however they may book or are booked) checks the hotel's own website. This is reinforced by clients' own website analytics and data from across the web, we know of one hotel whose website receives over 30,000 visits a month - 30,000 potential guests. Why is this important? Because it gives hotels the opportunity to convince a guest to book, there and then. But only if the potential guest is given all the information they require, and this includes credible reviews
  • If the potential guest is not given this information they will certainly look elsewhere (TripAdvisor are on record as stating that the average potential guest checks seven, yes seven, websites before booking). And 'elsewhere' will certainly include the OTAs
  • Once a potential guest leaves a hotel's website to check reviews they are unlikely to return - they will almost certainly end up booking elsewhere (return rates appear to be less than 5%)
Properly implemented and supported, Dialogue has the potential to...
  • Satisfy your potential guests' requirement to see credible and verified reviews
  • Increase direct booking - saving you OTA commissions
  • Increase, over time, your rankings and scores on TripAdvisor and the OTAs
  • Enable you to drive up RevPar
The last point may need some amplification: we personally visit dozens of hotels every month, from 20 beds to 750 beds plus, from 1* to 5* deluxe. We quiz them in-depth and we form our own impressions of their marketability; it continues to astonish us how very similar establishments are able to justify wildly differing rates. Why? Because of the way they manage their online presences. 

Would you be happy to book? (and note the 'helpful' votes from other potential guests)

At the end of the day, the hotels that succeed online succeed financially, it's very nearly as simple as that, and proactively managing reviews is a massive part of succeeding online. 

The Answer

All hotels adopt one the following strategies...
  1. Leave it to TripAdvisor, and the other OTAs
  2. Do it themselves
  3. Get a proven system to do it for them
We would suggest that the days of adopting (1) above are now over, that adopting (2) as some have done can be expensive and lacks credibility in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of consumers (and in some very high-profile cases has backfired horribly). That leaves (3)...

Get Dialogue working for you now. At the moment new clients are not being asked to sign a contract for the first six months - so the financial risk is minimal. Just contact us or call your business member advisor and get Dialogue working - and start to see the results for yourself.

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