Managing Digital Word of Mouth

With the steady rise in digital technologies, combining traditional marketing practices with modern technology has given rise to digital marketing. Digital word of mouth marketing has come about as an all-inclusive marketing strategy that not only focuses on marketing on social media but also takes other forms of online communications such as blogs, online forums, and discussions.

Word-of-mouth marketing is a tried-and-tested method of marketing that has been successful for over centuries. The basic premise is when customers experience a satisfactory service from a business, they spread the word about the quality of service. Through this and other such oral referrals, new leads were generated which were followed upon. While the ways of communication have changed significantly since the ancient days, the concept of word-of-mouth remains powerful enough to be relevant even today. This is doubly true for businesses in the hospitality sector.

Understanding Digital-word-of-mouth

Customers today have access to unlimited information via the internet. In this digital age where information is everything, consumers find it difficult to trust all sources of information. They usually focus on trusted sources such as communities they are members of, online information shared by their friends and families, and content written or shared by their favorite writers and social media personalities. This is where digital-word-of-mouth comes in. This not only goes true for product or brand recommendations but also hotels and restaurants. Since consumers naturally engage more with their friends and peers, it makes sense to utilize this connection in order to generate more leads.

Initially, word of mouth was spread at social gatherings, on phone-calls and other platforms. Today with social media, word-of-mouth has come into the public domain with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. These channels are used continuously to share opinions about brands and businesses along with reviews, problems with services and responses.

Advantages of Digital-word-of-mouth

One of the most obvious advantages of digital-word-of-mouth is that it is relatively free. It is also one of the most trusted sources of marketing as consumers are more likely to accept digital-word-of-mouth coming from personally reliable sources. Added to this, social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are more easily accessible to consumers and businesses alike when compared with independently operated forums or company-owned platforms. Digital-word-of-mouth also shows to the consumer that the business by being available on public domain is actually willing to have a personal conversation or interaction with all its consumers. This creates a positive brand image and helps in building brand reputation.

Digital-word-of-mouth, other than being an extremely effective marketing tool also helps in creating a space for healthy discussions about what the consumers want from their product and the changes or improvements they expect in the services. It is also effective for exchanging views and opinions in-between customers regarding their trusted brands, products, and services. It also allows immediate collection of feedback and response, showing the consumers that the business is always ready to serve them irrespective of time or location.

Press Release: Cloud5 Teams with Routier for Emerging Guest Engagement Software Solution

Find original press release here: https://cloud5.com/cloud5-partners-routier-add-customized-engagement-software-communications-platform/

Leader in hospitality communications adds innovative guest engagement to its HSIA product suite

HOUSTON, June 18, 2018 (HITEC 2018, Booth #2519)  —  Continuing its evolution as a thought leading provider of hotel communications technology and services, Cloud5 Communications announced today its partnership with Routier, an emerging hospitality software innovator. Routier helps hotel groups and hotels empower their staff and guests with seamless communications solutions that enhance exceptional guest experiences, building high guest loyalty and satisfaction.

This guest engagement innovation allows hotels to communicate with their guests in real-time during their stay without the need for them to download or install anything on their personal devices.  Guests simply need to access the Internet during their stay as they normally would. Hotels can know in real-time if a guest is having a good or poor experience, sense guest sentiment and follow-up immediately with the proper messaging and action.

“Combining Routier’s guest engagement solution with Cloud5’s HSIA platform, scale and operational capability in North America is a winning combination for both of our companies, and, most importantly, for our customers,” said Mark Holzberg, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Cloud5. “This is an important additional component to our product suite that leverages the power of our guest networks / HSIA with innovative technology to provide value enhancing service to the hotels and guests we collectively serve.”

Routier’s seamless engagement, marketing and operational solutions allow for hotels and hotel groups to proactively respond to and resolve guest issues in real-time, identify and qualify guests for upsells, upgrades and special offers, streamline operations by automating formally manual processes, and deliver effective marketing campaigns.

“As we expand our presence in the North American market, we are very happy to be partnering with Mark and his team at Cloud5,” said Gal Bareket, CEO of Routier. “Our seamless communications solution tackles one of the biggest challenges facing hotels – successfully connecting hotel staff and their guests at all times.  Cloud5 gets hotel communications, and our partnership, both operationally and from a technology integration perspective, will offer hotels in North America terrific benefits.”

Cloud5 will be showcasing its guest engagement solutions, alongside its complete hospitality communications portfolio, at HITEC in Houston, June 19-21, in booth 2519.

 

About Routier
Routier creates disruptive communication technologies for hospitality businesses, including hotels, airlines, and cruises. The company’s solution transforms the way hospitality providers connect, communicate, and share information with their customers and staff to substantially improve customer experience, customer engagement, and staff performance. More information at http://www.routier.io

About Cloud5 Communications

Cloud5 Communications simplifies complex networking and support for the hotel industry. It offers a comprehensive user-friendly platform that brings together advanced data and voice solutions, including end-to-end High-Speed Internet Access (HSIA), converged networks, hosted and on-premise PBX, WAN/LAN management, network design and skilled 24/7 support, as well as contact center services. Cloud5 serves thousands of hotels for leading brands, independents and management companies, and touches millions of guests and staff every day. For more information on Cloud5 Solutions, visit www.cloud5.com, or call 877.241.2516.

How to strategically manage your hotel brand’s equity and reputation

Ok, so you work with a hotel brand. Whether you own it, manage it, or manage just certain aspects of it, I have one question for you.

What is the most valuable thing your company owns? Is it your properties? Market share? Number of loyalty members? Take a guess.

The answer is actually your brand. Well actually it’s your brand equity which is based on customer perception of your brand name; customers associate your brand name with a promise, assurance, and a set of expectations that you must be able to maintain consistently. And when you’re managing multiple properties, even multiple extensions with multiple properties, ensuring that you’re maintaining the consistency of your brand promise becomes quite complex.

But before we get into measurement, let’s spend a few moments understanding the importance of guest satisfaction on a brand level and where guest satisfaction truly comes from.

Guests are the true determinants to whether a brand succeeds or fails and guest satisfaction has been used as a measure of operational success for branding strategies for the past 25 years (O’Neill and Mattila 2015). In fact, not only does guest satisfaction lead to repeat purchases, positive word of mouth, and guest loyalty, it also leads to higher market share, ADR, profits, and shareholder value (Prasad and Dev 2000).

But where does guest satisfaction come from? How can your brand ensure that your properties are performing at a level where no guest leaves your venue unsatisfied?

Well, let’s think about it. What makes guests happy? The location? The room quality? The amenities?

All these things are important, but nothing compares to the immense impact that quality of service delivery makes.

Your guests are happy because of the service they are given and the service is given to them by your employees. So technically, great service and high customer satisfaction depends mostly on the performance of your employees. And ensuring that your employees are motivated and passionate is not something that any brand should be confident about unless they have taken employee satisfaction into consideration when creating their brand standards and operational procedures.

In 1994, three brilliant professors from Harvard Business School introduced the service-profit chain, a methodology which demonstrates how employee satisfaction has a direct positive influence on customer loyalty which, in turn, contributes directly to an increase in revenue and profitability.

The chain is composed of several segments, all acting on a cause-effect relationship, where one event makes the other event happen.

In the next sections, you will find a breakdown of each of these segments: what they mean and how you can achieve them.

Internal Service Quality measures how much an employee’s work environment contributes to their satisfaction. Additionally, it identifies how easily employees communicate with one another inside the workplace. When you empower your employees, you see an immediate increase in employee satisfaction, hotel performance, and revenues.

Did you know that increasing your employee engagement investments by 10% each year can increase profits by $2,400 per employee?

Routier helps you invest in your employees, by empowering them with the right tools, resources, and information they need to help them:

  • Manage their tasks more efficiently and effectively
  • Coordinate with other employees within the organization
  • Engage with your venue’s guests across all channels, with one platform
  • Accomplish their own goals

Employee Satisfaction measures whether your employees are satisfied and happy at work. Higher employee satisfaction is directly linked to higher productivity, motivation, commitment, and service quality. Employee satisfaction derives from employee support and rewards offered by their workplace.

Did you know that the cost of replacing an employee is upwards of 200%? When your employees are satisfied, they are 87% less likely to leave the company.

Routier helps you identify and recognize outstanding team members who deliver quantity and quality. With this transparency, you can create incentive and rewards programs to help boost morale and motivation.

Employee Productivity is an assessment of the efficiency of your employee; it is measured in terms of output over a specific period of time. Higher productivity in the workplace will translate into better customer service and interactions.

Did you know that highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity?

Routier helps hotels measure and improve their employees’ productivity and performance by:

  • Automating staff and guest engagement processes in one central location
  • Eliminating communication redundancies across departments
  • Generating staff performance analytics, to help measure the quality and quantity of employee performance
  • Identifying patterns and trends across departments and employees, helping identify strengths and weakness in hotel operations

External Service Quality measures the quality of service that your employees deliver to your customers; customers place value on quick service and employee friendliness.

External service quality translates directly into increased profits; the more satisfied a customer is with the services offered by a business, the more likely they are to increase their spend, recommend to others, and revisit in the future.

Did you know that if a service business manages to increase its percentage of loyal customers from 76% to 81%, its net profits are expected to double?

Routier helps hotels “do things right the first time” by:

  • Measuring and monitoring the quality of service delivered by their employees
  • Relaying information to those responsible for designing the service
  • Providing staff with real-time alerts and notifications for guest issues, in order to improve issue-recovery time
  • Creating 1-central dashboard which obtains guest feedback in real-time, and translates that data into information in order to improve services and products
  • Creating a seamless engagement experience for your guests; no downloads, no installations, no hassles
  • Producing the highest engagement rates in the industry

Customer Satisfaction measures how your product or service met or surpassed your customer’s expectations. It is provides hotels with a metric they can use to manage and improve their business.

Listening to your customers is important; their feedback is gold! They’re actually teaching you how to improve your service and business so that you can make it better.

Did you know that an engaged guest with a positive past experience spends up to 140% more than a guest with a negative past experience?

Routier is designed to efficiently communicate, track, and manage all of your guests’ issues. And, most importantly, we make it as easy as possible for your customers to give you feedback and tell you about the problems they are having. Losing even one customer can have a serious negative impact on your business.

Routier helps hotels ensure that no guest leaves their venue unsatisfied by:

  • Providing employees with the right information at the right time to handle client problems promptly
  • Measure and monitor guest satisfaction in real-time
  • Encouraging guests to report their concerns, in the most seamless and easy way possible
  • Gathering guest data in a consistent and objective fashion

Customer Loyalty, derived from customer satisfaction, is exhibited when the customer continuously and consistently repurchases from you or revisits your hotel due to the positive experiences they have had in the past. Creating a loyal customer base is key to gaining a competitive advantage and succeeding.

Did you know that…

  • A 5% increase in customer loyalty can produce profit increases from 25%-85%?
  • It costs almost 7 times more to bring in a new customer than to retain an existing one?
  • That the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%, whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%?

Routier helps you identify and leverage the opportunities that loyal and satisfied guests provide by increasing:

  • Referrals
  • Retention
  • Repeat visitations
  • Loyalty member enrollment
  • Upsells, upgrades, and cross-sells
  • Advocacy
  • And gathering guest information (emails, etc.) for post-stay engagement

So you see, customer satisfaction isn’t independent. It’s completely dependent on employee satisfaction and performance. If you don’t invest in your employees the right way, you can’t empower them with the tools and information they need to do their job correctly. And if they don’t do their job correctly, your properties suffer and your brand suffers.

Your brand is the most valuable asset your company owns. Without your brand name, brand image, and brand reputation, you got nothing. And that’s why protecting your brand is so important for long-term market success.

 

How to Make Your Hotel’s Online Reputation Stand Out

Managing your hotel’s online reputation is essential to ensuring the success of your business. More than one third of consumers today will not book a hotel room without first reading reviews online. Hotels that have poor or no reviews on TripAdvisor and social media risk losing customers. On the other hand, hotels with good reviews stand out from the crowd and attract more bookings. Here are some great tips for making your hotel stand out online.

  1. Remind Guests to Review Your Hotel

Unfortunately, guests who have bad experiences are often more motivated to review your hotel than guests who have a good time. Create a more balanced review profile by politely asking all guests to leave a review when they check out. You can also send an email a few days later to remind guests to review your hotel on social media or TripAdvisor.

  1. Give Guests a Great Experience

The best way to get great online reviews is to give guests an excellent experience at your hotel. Proactively ask guests whether they have any issues that you can help them with during their stay. Always go the extra mile to help guests have a fantastic stay at your hotel.

  1. Respond to Reviews

Monitoring your social media accounts and TripAdvisor profile means you can keep up with the reviews you receive online. It also gives you an opportunity to respond to reviews soon after they are posted. If you receive a negative review, leave a friendly and polite response thanking the reviewer for the constructive feedback. Calmly address any aspects of the review you disagree with, but don’t dismiss the reviewer’s opinion. For positive reviews, leave a simple thank you to let reviewers know you value their feedback.

  1. Take Feedback on Board

If you notice that a lot of reviews give the same negative feedback, you need to take this information to heart. For example, if multiple guests say your rooms are dirty in online reviews, consider hiring more cleaners. Once you have taken action to address problems with your hotel, you can let reviewers know what you are doing to address the issues they raised. Continue to monitor reviews to find out whether the action you took solved the problem.

  1. Remove Outdated and Unfair Reviews

In a few situations, you can apply to TripAdvisor to have bad reviews removed from your profile. For example, if your hotel undergoes major renovations, you can ask TripAdvisor to remove the old reviews to let your business enjoy a fresh start. However, the renovations need to be major structural changes, such as installing new rooms or complete property overhauls, not simple cosmetic changes. TripAdvisor will also remove reviews that are fake, threatening, profane, or self-promoting, as well as reviews from guests who try to use a bad review to blackmail you into giving them a free upgrade or refund. If some of your reviews are unfair or violate TripAdvisor’s terms of service, submit your request to have the review removed.

By monitoring your social media accounts and responding to reviews on TripAdvisor, you can control your brand’s online reputation. Use these tips to stand out from your competitors and attract more bookings.

Guest Personalization: The Roadmap To “Youniverse”

Hotels are one of the few industries that depend entirely on satisfying every whim of their guests. The pressure becomes all the more intense given that hotels also happen to be one of the only industries where the good business depends on the number of customers staying overnight at the premises itself. As such, there customer-satisfaction has to be taken to all new level in a hotel than, say, in a company that deals with marketing or retail.

So what exactly makes a hotel such a highly critical industry when it comes to customer satisfaction?

  • A hotel runs non-stop. There are guests at all times of the day and night, unlike most other businesses
  • In the Hospitality industry, it all boils down to one thing – ‘hospitality’ – how you make your customers feel, rather than any product
  • Customers need to be made to feel special, rather than just be given the same routine treatment like other guests. This is the basic aspect that helps a hotel gain an edge over its competitors

These challenges have given way to an intensive customer-centered approach to hotel business operations called ‘Guest Personalization’. It simply means that the services of your hotel are carefully tailored to meet the individual needs of your guests, based on research, customer tracking, forecasting, analysis of online customer-behavior and so on.

If successfully done, these are the five major outcomes that you can expect your efforts to have on your hotel’s business:

  1. Higher Guest-Retention

In Hospitality, guest-retention plays a greater role than getting new guests. Guest-retention is more difficult to achieve because to convince your guests that you are so good that they should stick to using only your services can be quite a challenging task. Through Guest Personalization, Guest Retention can be enhanced because each guest will be made to feel special. Greater guest retention will translate into better business, and even help you expand your customer base because of the kind of positive reputation you will gain.

  1. Better Image In The Market

Once you have successfully achieved higher customer-retention, there is every chance that the market sees your hotel as one that is the best at doing what it is supposed to do. If you have successfully managed to create a happy recurring customer base, it will speak volumes of the quality of your services, thereby helping you to get established in the market as one of the best hotels. Better your image in the market, higher will be the turnover of your business.

  1. Enhancement Of Guest Experience

Once you are able to personalize your services to your guest, you will be better able to enhance your guest experiences. You will know exactly what kind of services to provide, how and when. Having good services in place are not the only thing that will ensure customer retention. Knowing how to deliver those services is just as important if you want to ensure better customer satisfaction. Today, the focus is not just on delivering goods and services to customers, but on enhancing ‘Consumer Experience’. This means that along with giving something to your customers, you should be able to help them experience and enjoy those services better. Customer experience can be enhanced by giving each guest services that personally have a strong value for them, even if it is a just a few services. This trumps a long list of services that the customer does not need, any day.

  1. Better Reviews

Reviews can either make or destroy any business. And today, what with the conveniences brought about by the internet, social media, travel websites, online complaint forums and so on, more and more customers are coming forward to share their experiences than ever before. These reviews are then read and shared by a wide circle of people within no time. Naturally then, all businesses – and especially those in the Hospitality sector – are afraid of bad reviews because that would be all it takes to undo all the effort invested in building up the business.

Now, if each guest is treated in a special manner, there is no doubt that it will lead to better reviews because each of them will want to tell the world how they felt when your hotel understood their every need and catered to each of them beautifully. As a result, you will see a better flow of business and a stronger recurring-customer base.

  1. Cost Saving

Guest personalization may seem like an expensive concept. However, the truth is that you will end up saving a lot in the long run. Think about the resources you would be wasting on offering services that your guests do not even want! Now, if you focus on giving each guest only what is required by them, you will definitely see your savings increase and cost of operation going down.