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10 Best Reputation Management Software

Quickly and easily gather feedback from your guests and actively manage your online reputation
94
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Through automated guest surveys, review collection and consolidated reporting, we help busy hospitality professionals to listen, learn from and... read more

  • Based in
    United Kingdom
  • Founded in
  • 22 employees on Linkedin
Social media, reputation management, guest reviews, hospitality, online reviews, restaurants, hot...
91
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Revinate helps hotels know more about their guests so they can deliver personalized experiences that create valuable relationships and lifelong... read more

  • Based in
    San Francisco (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 133 employees on Linkedin
As part of the TrustYou Guest Feedback Platform, the reputation management solution helps hotels...
Most Popular
This vendor is the most popular in the category with 112 reviews across 38 countries.
This vendor is trending with growing share of voice.
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91
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Guest feedback influences 95% of booking decisions. With TrustYou’s Reputation Management solution, hoteliers can positively impact their... read more

  • Based in
    München (Germany)
  • Founded in
  • 170 employees on Linkedin
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FREE TOOL Want to find out which Reputation / Review Management matches your hotel’s DNA? Take the Quiz
Guest Experience Management for Hotels to drive revenue and direct bookings
This vendor is trending with growing share of voice.
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75
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Repup is a platform which helps hotelliers make sense of online review data. There are countless reviews written online on a daily basis on... read more

  • Based in
    Gurgaon, Haryana
  • Founded in
  • 20 employees on Linkedin
Turning reviews into revenue by giving hotels control of their guest experience from booking thro...
This vendor is trending with growing share of voice.
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74
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Founded in 2009 in Berlin, Customer Alliance is the European leader in guest experience and online reputation management solutions for the... read more

  • Based in
    Berlin (Germany)
  • Founded in
  • 87 employees on Linkedin
Leverage Guest Intelligence to boost online reputation and revenue
73
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Leverage online feedback to increase revenue by listening to guest reviews from 175 sources in 45 languages. Improve your ranking on review... read more

  • Based in
    Barcelona
  • Founded in
  • 80 employees on Linkedin

Recent Reputation / Review Management Articles

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In the hotel industry price is king and reputation is queen

by
Hotel Tech Report

It’s not uncommon for tech companies in hospitality to start as B2C brands (business to consumer) then pivot to service hotel businesses instead.  Triptease launched as a TripAdvisor alternative before pivoting to become a direct booking platform.  Similarly, Munich based TrustYou started as a hotel booking website that aggregated reviews from around the web to provide a single trust score for properties around the world before becoming a leading guest feedback and reputation management platform. Back in 2008, TrustYou founder Ben Jost noticed that online review scores had the ability to make or break hotel performance.  He also noticed that reviews were being spread to more and more websites like TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, Yelp and Expedia. Jost and co-founder Jakob Reigger hypothesized that if they could consolidate these reviews to provide travelers with a holistic view of a hotel by creating a proprietary aggregate score that they’d be able to leverage their neutral position to become a dominant booking platform. TrustYou’s booking platform experienced some success but Jost and his team noticed that thousands of hotel managers were coming to the site because they wanted to monitor their review performance across multiple channels - this was their ‘ah-hah’ moment.  With this insight, TrustYou pivoted from a B2C model into B2B (business to business) and the firm’s growth exploded. “I remember 5 years ago we had one slide in our sales deck showing a king and a queen on a throne. The headline said “when price is king, reputation is queen.” Maybe it will take another 5 years until we see those both equally presented, but I definitely see it in the future.” ~Benjamin Jost TrustYou has since doubled down on reviews and even demonstrated a commitment to reviews in it’s own business winning 2nd place in the 2019 HotelTechAwards beating out more than 100 hotel tech peers.  Everything that TrustYou does tests back to the fundamental question of whether a product or service will enable hotel clients to achieve higher review scores by delivering better service to guests.  That mission has resonated with hoteliers around the world and in 2017 alone the Company analyzed more than 100 million guest reviews and collected more than 4 million survey responses. TrustYou’s guest feedback and reputation platform consists of four main components that work in tandem to gather feedback, manage collection at scale and leverage that feedback to drive more business: Review marketing: Market guest reviews via a website widget to increase hotel website conversion Guest messaging: Communicate with guests before and during their stay to ensure a great experience then send surveys afterwards to increase review volumes and rankings Guest surveys: gather feedback from guests after their stay to maintain guest satisfaction scores Reputation management: Real time insights into review scores and online feedback across a variety of channels Reviews are critical to the survival of any hotel today and Benjamin Jost believes that trend is only accelerating.  We sat down with him to learn about his vision for TrustYou and to get his perspective on the evolution of reputation management in the broader hotel tech marketplace.   What was your background prior to starting TrustYou? After studying engineering, I worked for two Venture Capitalists in Paris and Munich. Then I decided to go on an 8 month trip around the world, and when I came back, I started working in corp dev / M&A for a renewable energy company. I think TrustYou ultimately was born from my urge to do something on my own.   Tell us how you founded TrustYou. My co-founder and old friend Jakob Riegger always had his own businesses from the age of 18, and from the outside, it always looked so cool to be your own boss. I think after working for various bosses in various types of organizations, I wanted to do something on my own, and when Jakob also simultaneously wanted to start something new, we brainstormed what we could do together. So the idea of creating a business together with my co-founder came before the actual idea of TrustYou. We started as a B2C company, so actually, our very first customers were users who heard about our site and used it. I know all my family used it because I told them to! But it wasn’t enough, and we were a typical underfunded, German startup and had no idea how much it would cost to actually compete in the B2C world of travel. So while running out of money we realized that more and more hotels were using our website and were looking up their reputation scores and reviews from across the web on our site. Of course they never booked their own hotel so we didn’t earn any money. But that was the starting point of our B2B business. I think it’s much easier to earn money in B2B than B2C so kudos for all the B2C companies who succeed in this world.   Wow, I didn’t realize that TrustYou started as a consumer facing brand. Can you talk about the B2B business today? We believe deeply in the power of feedback to build a better product and offer a better service. The only currency that counts to achieve that goal is feedback from your customers. Therefore, hotels need to find a product that helps them collect, understand and market guest feedback (reviews, surveys, messaging) for every customer, via every channel, at any time. I still strongly believe that a hotel’s reputation is more important than their room price and for sure a more sustainable competitive strategy. The TrustYou dashboard gives hoteliers real time insights to improve their businesses Who is one mentor that has really helped you scale TrustYou? Many people helped me over time. One mentor who was there from the very beginning until today is Philip Wolf, founder of Phocuswright, who still sits on TrustYou’s board of advisors. What makes him important to me, next to his great character, is his unvarnished opinion about tough questions and topics. You can surround yourself with people saying yes to everything or with people who point to facts that can be really are uncomfortable to tackle, e.g. cutting costs, hiring people you deem unnecessary at first, etc. And he doesn’t let go until you tackle them, which I appreciate. I don’t always like it, but I always appreciate it.   What's one commonly held belief that most hoteliers believe to be true that’s actually false? I think the one I most commonly hear is “I know my guests, I don’t need software to tell me”. Even if you are the type of hotelier who listens to their guests without a survey or reputation management tool, I definitely know you don’t measure any KPIs, track your progress over time, share feedback effectively with your team, or know if you’ll improve from where you stand today. Additionally, you still don’t respond to online reviews, especially the negative ones, and you don’t reach the average guest by sending them your own survey, your own questions. Technology does all of that for you, truly helping you listen to your guests, and win against the competition.   What's the most surprising thing you've learned about scaling technology into hotels? Scaling a business in hospitality requires more manpower than what I would have expected when we started. In the beginning, I thought we would be a self-service technology that hotels would just buy, login to, and use. But we quickly learned that the business would require not only our tooling but also our expertise. We have truly become a service company, as well as a software company, and that requires talented people to support the hoteliers. We’re happy to be an extension of our client’s team as their dedicated feedback experts.   Are there 1 or 2 companies that have been a particularly good partners for you? We partner with hundreds of different fantastic companies, so it wouldn’t be fair to just name one or two. However, what I would like to see in our industry are more open APIs and more simple connections.  I think this would be very beneficial for our common customers, the hotels, but many tech companies don’t operate that way. I wish every tech company in our space would have a section on their website “API for developers” where you can develop solutions on top of their APIs and widgets. I am pushing my company to be open in that way because it just becomes much easier for partners to work with us and new things can be created. For example, I would still love to see rate management companies correlate their data with our data. We have the APIs, just plug them in.   I would want every rate management company, every IBE, every website builder, every PMS, every CRM to use our APIs and products to build a better product. Review content plugged into different hospitality solutions is already happening on a small scale, but not everyone out there knows how easy and convenient it is and what kind of value add it can provide to their own solutions. We have an entire team dedicated to those needs.   Where do you see TrustYou in 5-years? I want us to power feedback not only from guests but from other stakeholders as well. I believe we will enable feedback and communication between hotels and guests using messaging apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and SMS instead of email. To help service our clients, I would want our platform to act as an AI solution and suggest actions to hotels based their data instead of just presenting it. I also think feedback will move from “3 days after stay” to “real time”. And I want TrustYou to spearhead those trends.   How will the online reputation management category change in the next 5-years? I hope to see guest feedback become a “must-have”, where it belongs to a hotel stack like a website or internet booking engine. More and more hotels will have figured out that with a 4.1/5 overall score they can offer a $100 room rate, but with a 4.6/5 score they can charge $150. I remember 5 years ago we had one slide in our sales deck showing a king and a queen on a throne. The headline said “when price is king, reputation is queen.” Maybe it will take another 5 years until we see those both equally presented, but I definitely see it in the future.   Does TrustYou have any new products or feature launches that you're particularly excited about? We just launched a new restaurant analytics product (May 2019) that is seamlessly connected to the hotel’s toolset, so for all hotels that run a restaurant in parallel, they can more easily manage their online reputation. Additionally, we have combined our Analytics and Survey with our Messaging product together into one platform so that as a hotel you can manage pre-stay, onsite, or post-stay communication and feedback from one place. Another big launch is coming towards the end of 2019, but I can’t talk about it just yet. Stay tuned!   What's one piece of advice that you have for any entrepreneurs looking to get into the hotel tech space? When seeking funding and putting together your business plan, calculate an amount you think you need, and then double it!   What is the best book you've read lately? Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman. It’s written by Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin and Paypal.     What is your favorite podcast My favorite “podcasts” these days are live interactions with my children. Very funny. Topics change every time. No scripts. I love it.   What is one thing that most people don't know about you? I’m very approachable, and I think anyone who has ever reached out to me knows that. I’m an open book. So if you have questions or need information, I’m always happy to hear it and respond back.

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Google Hotels joins the battle for bookings

by
Lara Salomon

The battle for bookings is nothing new — properties have been vying for coveted direct bookings and rebelling against the commissions charged by online travel agencies (OTAs) practically since they arrived on the scene. But the battlefield is shifting thanks to the introduction of Google Hotels. What is Google Hotels? Following the success of Google Flights, the search engine giant quietly launched a brand new feature to its ever-expanding repertoire in March 2019, helping users to find the perfect property for their next trip. Picture the scene: a traveller is planning a getaway for business or leisure, and naturally their first stop is Google. They type in something simple, perhaps “Hotels in London”, and what will they see? Beyond the Google Ad for the most popular OTAs, they will find what looks much like a booking platform: a list of available properties along with their prices, ratings, reviews and features on the left, and a view of the area ala Google Maps on the right sporting pins with pricing for every available property in the area. Click on a property on the left, or a pin on the right, and you’ll see a more detailed overview - photographs, reviews, a location summary, a link to the property’s website, and pricing from a range of sources including OTAs, and the property itself if it has made its pricing available.  This is Google Hotels, the latest feature for the oracle of online information, which provides users with a quick and easily navigated breakdown of accommodation providers in the area that they are looking at, including the latest deals, filters to help travellers find precisely the features that the want and need, and even the option to book their stay directly from the platform.  “You can filter by amenities such as “kid friendly”, “pool”, “fitness center” and many more, selecting as many filters as you wish. Basically, if you only want hotels that offer free breakfast, a pool and a fitness center, which are also kid friendly – you can set that out from the very beginning to avoid wasted time.” — God Save The Points This is the perfect opportunity for travellers since, as Gilbert Ott of God Save The Points puts it, “I love searching for hotels on 15 different websites just to get an idea of the best prices and places to stay, said no one ever.” But what impact does this new feature have on the tug-o-war that is the battle for bookings? Does it give an advantage to OTAs? To properties themselves? Or is it a new contender entirely, positioning itself as a new challenge for both sides to overcome? Ding, ding — Let the battle begin Round One: Where do properties sit when it comes to Google Hotels? At first glance, it would seem that Google Hotels is a great opportunity for properties to encourage travellers to book with them directly. The overview that Google Hotels provides for each property may look much like a Google My Business page by linking to the property’s own website, displaying their photographs and highlighting their latest reviews, but it also gives accommodation providers the opportunity to list their own pricing alongside that of OTAs, and offers them more control over where and how their guests are able to book with them. Find out more about improving your hotel's Google presence As Raini Hamdi of Skift points out: “Providing users the option to “visit our website” and also to phone the hotel directly via mobile or send a message... gives more ways for users to get in touch with hotels directly, bypassing the intermediaries which are listed further below.” “Google now offers a clear index for prices, reviews and photos, making a hotel’s content stand out a lot more prominently than in the past.” — Skift Better still, properties that are already making use of Google Hotel Ads will receive a bigger bang for their buck, being displayed first within Google Hotels search results, and highlighted amongst “Deals”, encouraging guests to book direct. However, if you’re not already advertising via Google Hotel Ads, adding your property’s pricing to the platform is not as simple as making sure that your website is listed, or even as simple as setting up and keeping your Google My Business listing up to date. A glance at the documentation that Google has put together for making sure that your pricing reflects correctly (and is ready for Hotel Ads too), shows that getting your property set up on the platform is at least a four-step process, often requiring some technical expertise or assistance from one of Google’s third-party integration partners. This means that, from the get-go, getting yourself listed on the platform requires some financial outlay if you don’t already have someone with technical experience on staff, which, for smaller properties, is often the case. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land explains that, even with (and possibly as a result of) the introduction of Google Hotels, “it’s getting much more challenging to be visible in organic results for hotel category searches... Accordingly, hospitality brands are now all but compelled to buy Hotel Ads to appear anywhere above the fold.” And it’s not just the financial aspect that stops Google Hotels from being an ideal platform for direct bookings. Trish Leighton of Vizergynotes, “after browsing a few hotels, I noticed how difficult it was to get to the hotel website directly and how much effort was placed into directing clicks to the Hotel Ads.” “It’s what happens after you narrow down your search results that is having an impact on direct bookings. Google provides a handful of ways to book that room, with the eye-catching photos, hotel information tabs, reduced rate messaging, reviews, and nearby competitor rates far more appealing than the little “Website” button that actually takes you to the hotel website.” — Vizergy Though properties are able to list their own pricing and have buttons that link to their websites, the opportunities for directing travellers to those websites are often lost amongst OTA and competitor listings, or amongst the other range of calls to action that the Google Hotels overviews offer to travellers, mitigating the direct booking benefits that it may have held for accommodation providers. Round Two: What about OTAs' relationships with Google Hotels? You would think that the opportunity to have your properties listed prominently on Google’s latest feature, and continuing to get commissions when users choose to book through your platform would be seen as an overwhelmingly positive boon for OTAs, however the addition of Google Hotels is not all sunshine, roses and pockets full of cash for OTAs either. OTAs certainly have the advantage over independent properties and smaller groups when it comes to having multiple properties listed, multiple opportunities for travellers to be booking through them on the new platform, and the benefit of their reviews being displayed prominently in overviews for each property. However, the fact that users are able to book directly from Google’s platform rather than being directed to OTA websites is expected to have a significant effect on the traffic and popularity of third-party booking sites, particularly when Google makes booking from one platform such a pleasure. “Google Hotels offers all the functionality and tools of its competitors such as Kayak, Expedia and Booking.com. It has the benefit of Google Maps and integration with Google search results (generally pretty high in results). The question thus arises: will Google Hotels create a giant black hole that sucks all the direct traffic away from online hotel booking sites?” — Search Engine Land As Chetan Patel of Onyx Hospitality Group explained to Triptease shortly after the new platform had been released, “Google seems to be taking over the role OTAs have played in the guest journey so far, and are arguably doing a better job at it.” Does this mean that the battle for bookings is over? If so, who has won? The introduction of Google Hotels has certainly disrupted the battle for bookings that has been underway for over two decades, but while it offers benefits to both properties and OTAs, it doesn’t give either side an edge over the other. Rather, the two parties that benefit the most from the new platform are travellers, and Google itself. “Within months, Google has rolled out new features in flights and hotels that, we dare say, make it a convenient one-stop shop to book travel sans encumbrances. Given its dominance in search, hotels and online travel agencies are on another planet if they are not feeling wary.” — Skift More than anything, this latest innovation on Google’s part goes to show that accommodation providers can benefit from working together with OTAs — ensuring that their property is listed with as many agencies as is feasible, and that listings are consistently kept up to date. That way, their property has more opportunities to stay top-of-mind for travellers, even if they are not inclined to book direct. Read about how to embrace the Online Travel Agent After all, as Skift's Dennis Schaal explained, when hints of Google’s intentions were floating around back in October 2018, “when it comes to Google and its hotels redesign, few things are all or nothing. TripAdvisor can worry that Google now has more traveler photos and reviews, but some of them are from TripAdvisor. Hotel websites and phone numbers get featured, but clicking on a book button brings customers to an online travel agency site. In travel, it’s never winner take all.”

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Discover the financial benefits of a great reputation

by
Lara Salomon

It’s no secret that at GuestRevu we’re all about helping hospitality professionals to listen to, learn and earn from their clientele. And it’s not just loyalty, trust, and insights that you stand to gain – a better reputation can actually increase revenue and reduce overheads. To help you get to grips with the financial impact of embracing online reputation and guest feedback management tools at your business, we’ve put together an ROI Calculator to show what kind of return on investment you can expect when buying GuestRevu. What are these figures based on? Cornell University has done some excellent research into the subject of online reputation in the hospitality sector, but one research paper in particular looked at the correlation between review scores and room pricing, hotel occupancy, and RevPAR. They found that when a hotel improves its overall online review score by as little as 1%, there is often an impact on revenue and turnover across the board, resulting in, on average, an overall 1.42% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) for each point out of 100 by which a hotel improves its reputation. Since GuestRevu helped hospitality professionals to increase their TripAdvisor review ratings by 4% on average in 2018, and taking into account the amount of time that our award-winning online reputation management solution saves teams in monitoring and responding to reviews across platforms like TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Booking.com and more, we’ve been able to work out just how much of a sound investment GuestRevu’s solutions can be for your company. What makes us industry leaders in guest feedback and reputation management? Don’t make us toot our own horn — our clients can speak for themselves, and it’s their feedback that saw GuestRevu topping the HotelTechAwards in 2019 in both the Guest Feedback Software and Reputation Management categories. We can talk all day about what makes GuestRevu an excellent solution — from our world-class customer service, to our two-way integrations with PMSs like Guestline and Mews, to our personalised approach to every property and business, big or small — but sometimes you just need to see the numbers, the return on investment, or the solutions in action for yourself. Click on the banner below to request a demo from a GuestRevu consultant.

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The 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech 2019

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Hotel Tech Report

Creating a great work environment is the single biggest determinant of success for any business.  Companies that foster great work environments attract the best people and the best people build the best products. A 2017 study that analyzed 326,000 employee reviews at publicly traded companies found that firms with high employee satisfaction outperformed the overall stock market each year by 135bp (1.35%).  A similar study of 400,000 employee ratings found evidence of a statistical relationship between employee perception and a firm’s future earnings. Sophisticated enterprise software buyers know that when they partner with a technology company, they are buying into not just its products but its vision, mission and team.  These buyers perform due diligence to understand the viability of any business that they plan to partner with and a deep analysis of employee satisfaction and vendor culture is part of that process.  Hotel Tech Report hosts this award not just to help the community find great jobs, but also to help fast track diligence for hotel tech buyers who want to learn about the best vendors to work with. Understanding organizational culture is important for software buyers because companies that create great work environments retain employees longer, service customers better and innovate faster. Perks like ping pong tables,  office snacks and vacation days are nice,  but our 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech list is determined by the glue that holds companies together. Each year we ask thousands of employees at hotel tech companies how they feel about their employers and anonymize the results.  The 2019 scoring is based on 7 key data points: Work-life balance: Please rate how well your employer promotes work/life balance. Personal development: How much importance does your employer place on your own personal development? Gender equality: How would you rate the opportunities available to women in your firm? Employee confidence: How much confidence do you have in the future of your company? Values alignment: How well do your values align with the culture of your organization? Employee engagement: How passionate are employees about the company? Growth prospects: How many open roles are there for your employees to grow into?   Without further adieu we give you 2019's 10 Best Places to Work in Hotel Tech:       10. Triptease Our research on Triptease validates that the Company truly lives and breathes the ethos of its name.  Employees consistently cited off-sites and team trips as the highlights of their year. According to LinkedIn data, Triptease has grown its employee count 72% in the last 2 years.  Sometimes when companies grow that quickly, it’s hard to maintain a great team culture. With the team spread all around the world, Triptease brings new employees for training and team building to the LondonHQ.  New employees rave about the experience for the learning and friendships that come from it. Other notable events include Triptease’s renowned Direct Booking Summits (America, Europe, Asia) and a company wide Christmas party in Madrid (let us know if you need HTR on the scene to cover next year’s party - this one sounded like a rager!).  Triptease employees are constantly blown away by how much management cares. One employee cited an unexpected bonus for a month of killer performance and another described to us how open management is to employee travel focused on career development. Ultimately, Triptease is one a big happy family and employees around the world are constantly connecting through a multitude team building activities and trips.  Employees love the fast paced nature of consistently launching new innovative products. Check out open positions at Triptease     9. GuestRevu GuestRevu had a year in which critical company milestones rallied the team together.  Not only did GuestRevu acquire a large regional competitor but the team also launched a major version update that required all hands on deck.  Despite all the craziness of rapid growth, a new version launch and a major acquisition - one employee raved to Hotel Tech Report about how supportive the entire team was during the loss of a loved one.  Another told us that she often needs to bring her 9-year old to work where he is always made to feel welcome and at home. The firm is so committed to its team that it sent out a company wide survey asking what employees wanted to learn and then purchased everyone access to Udemy classes to help them develop those new skills. The marketing team took classes on video editing and is already leveraging those skills to develop a series of video case studies for GuestRevu. Check out open positions at GuestRevu     8. Beekeeper For a company building software to help teammates communicate better - Beekeeper takes employee engagement and experience very seriously internally.  As one employee told us, “Beekeeper does an excellent job of capturing feedback and always checking in to understand where you want to go and providing actionable feedback and support to get you there.” The Company promotes a healthy lifestyle through lunchtime sports and CrossFit.  Taking it one step further, Beekeeper offers unlimited PTO and flexible work schedules to accommodate the expectations of the modern workforce. Beekeeper’s culture exudes transparency and humility. One employee told us that the team was initially put off by management’s decision to require employees to clean dishes at an off site before they realized that this was all part of the team building.  This employee told us that the people they ended up washing dishes with ended up being their closest new friends and that the experience gave them an opportunity to bond in a way that most rarely do in the modern workplace. Another employee told us about a rewarding experience they had volunteering together at a homeless shelter. The team’s humility shined through further when a new employee (2 weeks in) alerted management about tensions between two departments.  Much to their surprise both teams were thrilled to hear their new colleague’s insight and showed their appreciation. Management even went one step further offering this individual to run a huge cross-departmental retrospective 5 weeks into their job. It’s not often that companies are so open to self-reflection and change coming from a new junior hire and we really admire the culture that Beekeeper has nurtured. Check out open positions at Beekeeper       7. Hotel Effectiveness Hotel Effectiveness is an incredibly successful company that largely flies under the radar of hotel tech buzz.  The Company provides revolutionary labor management software that we’ve covered here.  If there’s one word that sums up the Hotel Effectiveness team culture - it’s ‘performance’.  Employees are unilaterally motivated by consistently hitting lofty sales goals time and again.  As a testament to this performance driven culture - one employee told us that one time their boss had to tell them to go home early and make some time for family when they were overworking themselves.  This performance culture isn’t mandated from the top and is completely grassroots in that it’s driven by internal employee motivation and ambition. While you can expect to work alongside incredibly driven and ambitious colleagues at Hotel Effectiveness - they definitely know how to have a good time host a hilarious annual white elephant Christmas party. Check out open positions at Hotel Effectiveness     6. Revinate Revinate’s culture is characterized by constant iteration and testing.  The Company is always trying new things and that affords a ton of learning opportunities to team members.  This year while the technical team executed a full shift from hosted data center to cloud based AWS infrastructure the sales and marketing teams were tasked to rapidly grow the install base of the Revinate Marketing product.  Both teams executed with near perfection and everyone celebrated with an impromptu party where key team members reflected on the incredible achievements of such a relatively short time period. Revinate embodies the startup spirit with enterprise scale.  Revinate CEO Marc Heyneker is deeply involved in the day to day operations of the business and employees across the organization rave about his ability to inspire and teach. One employee told us a story about a serious head injury that left this person working remotely for several months.  His team made sure to make him feel included as part of the office through the entire time away but that was only the beginning. The employee recalled being shocked that over a year after his injury Heyneker pulled him aside to check in on his health and to ask what he could do personally to help. Check out open positions at Revinate     5. Cloudbeds Cloudbeds management recently surprised its team with a beautiful new San Diego headquarters equipped with a 14 ft indoor willow tree, a massive outdoor workspace, game areas, stand up workstations and more.  The environment is fun, welcoming and echoes the company theme - all things travel. Cloudbeds has an extensive wellness program because management knows that healthy employees are productive ones. This productivity paid off in 2018 where Cloudbeds achieved #75 on Inc Magazine’s fastest growing companies list.  How are they growing so fast you ask? Well it’s probably because CEO Adam Harris told the team he’d dance to any song of their choosing. We will keep you posted once we get our hands on the video from Harris’ co-founder Richard Castle. The Company maintains several internal chat threads exclusively for team sharing of funny photos, videos and memes - so we expect the video to surface there as well.  All jokes aside, Cloudbeds takes both employee and team growth very seriously. Each employee has weekly 1-1 meetings to review competencies and revisit their path to promotion. The Company is growing rapidly and there are constant opportunities for employees who prove themselves. Cloudbeds is also a 100% flexible organization where remote employees and those stationed at the headquarters all enjoy the ability to work from anywhere anytime.  Cloudbeds has fostered a culture where its team members truly enjoy hanging outside of work and building friendships important for their personal and professional lives. Several Ukrainian teammates trained for a marathon together and one customer success rep has leveraged her friendship with the UX designers to pursue her passion for design. After taking several courses independently the UX team has given her several opportunities to practice her skills on live projects. Check out open positions at Cloudbeds       4. Clock Software Clock Software is another company on our list that is growing insanely fast but doesn’t take itself too seriously.  One Clock employee told us that on their birthday coworkers wrapped his entire workstation and even put a bow on it.  The only complaint we heard from Clock Software team members was that they are growing too fast and needed more staff to manage the growth.  This is the best kind of problem to have. Clock is the oldest company on our list and celebrated their 22nd anniversary this year - a testament to the longevity of the business.  Clock founder Krasimir Trapchev has focused on growing the client base without scaling the team too quickly. Trapchev is all about execution and he’s prioritized building a long term sustainable business over rapid scaling which is extremely unique in an environment where funding is so plentiful that CryptoKitties, a company that enables users to breed and trade digital cats can raise $15M.  Clock is now starting to scale the team so it can take on more enterprise clients and its employees are fired up.  If you want to learn how to build a real business without massive amounts of venture capital - check out open jobs at Clock because Trapchev is the Mr. Miyagi of entrepreneurship and you’d be wise to make yourself his Karate Kid. Check out open positions at Clock     3. Screen Pilot Screen Pilot takes team building very seriously with activities like bubble soccer, a British Bakeoff (it’s ok we Googled it, too), volunteering at an animal shelter, an escape room and even a city wide scavenger hunt around its hometown in Denver.  The scavenger hunt and Screen Pilot’s quarterly volunteer days are a testament to Screen Pilot’s commitment to the surrounding community. While Screen Pilot is a top rated digital marketing agency, it’s a technology innovator as much as a marketing service provider.  The Company has created what it calls SP Labs where employees brainstorm ways to better leverage technology to help its clients win more direct bookings. Think of SP Labs like an ongoing internal hackathon with dedicated teams set on solving acute problems for clients. It’s this kind of innovative mindset that lead Screen Pilot to a 2018 Adrian Award for social content creation. Check out open positions at Screenpilot     2. Mews Systems If you caught the Mews Systems booth at WTM you might think that it was a rocket science company with all the lab coats and futuristic decor that earned it the Best Stand Award.  While Mews isn’t quite a rocket science company it is taking off like a rocketship having doubled its client base in the second half of 2018 alone. To support that kind of insane customer growth Mews had to 4x its team size in the last year - the fastest growth of any company in our list.  So how can a company even hire that fast? Mews attracts 40% of new hires via referrals. If that doesn’t say something about the company culture we don’t know what does. With that kind of insane growth supported by an $8M Series A in June you’d think it’s all business but Mews employees say it’s very much a “work hard, play hard” culture.  One employee told us that one of his favorite things about working at Mews is “daily banter with the boizz” - this kind of hilariousness is exactly what’s helped the Company take the industry by storm. Hoteliers everywhere are sick of generic jargon and boring brand marketing from hotel tech firms and Mews is the antidote. Employees frequently cite founder Richard Valtr and CEO Matt Welle as saying “At Mews we are family and we will take care of any family member in need."  Mews also boasts an extremely inclusive culture illustrated by the firm’s attendance at the Prague Pride celebration wearing special edition Mews gear to the event. The Company also has a shared value culture at its core and participated in UK Byte Night last year.  Byte Night prevents youth homelessness by having corporate teams sleep in the streets to raise awareness and funds for the cause.  Richard and team participated which is really cool and a statement to the quality of people that you’ll work with when you join the Mews team. Check out open positions at Mews     1. ALICE ALICE employees widely agreed that quarterly town hall meetings are the foundation of ALICE’s connected team culture.  ALICE staff loves the opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world, align around the company vision and get transparency into how the business is performing at a macro level. More than doubling its size in 2018, ALICE unsurprisingly had to upgrade its HQ office to add more space and acquire obligatory startup amenities like a cold brew keg, stand up desks and lockers.  ALICE goes so much deeper for its team and invests heavily in career development. Employees participate in a company wide book club, receive access to free Udemy courses and are nurtured along a very clear path to promotion.  ALICE employees talk about the clarity of path to promotion more than any other company’s employees on our list. Setting a clear path to promotion is important for making employees feel like they’re constantly progressing and puts them at ease knowing that there’s always room to grow internally.  Major consulting firms like BCG and McKinsey have perfected this art but rarely do we see startups who are able to provide such transparency to their staff - kudos ALICE management.One employee told us that she was promoted 4 times in the last 3 years - a testament to ALICE’s ability to reward top employees.  Even a remote worker was able to win ALICE’s Culture and Values Award twice in 6 months. This individual told us that they felt like they were on an island while working previous remote jobs - but felt very connected to the inclusive ALICE team. ALICE acquired GoConcierge this year and is making serious strides with major enterprise clients after its $30M Series B funding - a testament to the strong prospects for the firm and probably why employee confidence in the firm is best in class.  “When you receive a high five from the CEO, that says a lot about the culture of the company,” says one team member. High fives all around! Check out open positions at ALICE

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The importance of a meritocracy like TripAdvisor in hospitality

by
Lara Salomon

Some properties think of TripAdvisor as their best friend, others their worst enemy. But when it comes to online reviews, it is the one place that every hospitality professional turns to. There can be no denying the impact that the review giant has had on the hospitality industry, and Sally Davey knows this all too well. From competing with TripAdvisor with her own start-up, Tripbod.com, to becoming a valued member of the review giant’s international team, Sally has seen the industry shift over the years, and has seen the role that TripAdvisor, and guest reviews, have played in this evolution. She speaks to us about the importance of online reviews in levelling the hospitality marketing playing field, the value of management responses, and so much more.   Tell us a bit about who you are, and what your position is. I head up Industry Relations at TripAdvisor and am responsible for the company’s non-commercial relationship with industry. My team focuses on listening to feedback from the industry and identifying opportunities to improve operations and partnerships, as well as ideas for thought leadership projects. This often leverages TripAdvisor’s unique data asset to help provide the industry with leading indicators of forthcoming market changes.   What was your first job, and how did you come to work for the largest travel review platform? My first job was in a local pub in the Lake District, UK as a kitchen helper and then waitress. I continued working in hospitality throughout university before starting my own travel company. This grew into a business called Tripbod.com which TripAdvisor acquired in 2014.   How did you first come across TripAdvisor — was it as a potential employee, as a competitor, or as a reviewer — and what were your first thoughts about the company? Being an entrepreneur in the space I couldn’t not be aware of TripAdvisor. Lots of my local partners, when I was building Tripbod, were great fans of TripAdvisor, but as a start-up I wanted to disrupt it! At the time I felt TripAdvisor was doing a great job being the world’s largest platform for reviews and opinions, but that smaller businesses like mine could do a better job of personalising the experience. The challenge, of course, was getting to market. When I was introduced to the Head of Product at TripAdvisor at the time, I was keen to see if there was a business development opportunity. What I didn’t expect was to be so deeply impressed by the people I met that day and the company culture that came across. It turned out they were investing heavily in personalising the user experience and making some great strides, so it was an awesome opportunity to have impact from within — which I think they now call ‘intrapreneurship’!   Do you think that the founders of TripAdvisor ever imagined how far the company would grow? I think you always go into business with ambition and dreams, and Steve (TripAdvisor’s co-founder, and still our CEO) certainly does not lack vision! But there is also an element of organic growth to success, and having your users define your direction. As a company, we listen to our users – both industry and consumers – all the time so we can ensure their input is central to our decision making. I think some things have changed significantly since TripAdvisor’s inception, and others not at all. The company still has the same ambition as it did on day one — to help real travellers share their real insights into real destinations, which goes far beyond the sales pitch of a glossy marketing brochure. How we do that, and indeed how the industry engages in that with their own opinions, has evolved enormously. And thankfully our user experience has changed dramatically. Nowadays we don’t bombard you with pop-up windows like everyone did in the ‘good old days’!   Has the role of feedback changed since it has become freely viewable (and freely voiced) online through platforms like TripAdvisor? I think the role is still the same – to share feedback with a service provider that either gives well-deserved praise or gives suggestions for improvement. The difference now is that more opinions are shared and that is a really good thing. Some people just don’t feel comfortable giving feedback there and then in person, even if it is a glowing report, so it’s important for people to have their say in the way they feel comfortable sharing. This then benefits others considering booking with that same business, and can really help raise the profile of businesses that otherwise would struggle to achieve the same brand reach as competitors who have bigger budgets but possibly not as great service. TripAdvisor is a meritocracy that creates a level playing field based on quality, and that has made a meaningful impact on a lot of businesses in lots of parts of the world.   What would you say the role of guest feedback is in the hospitality industry? Every industry cares what its consumers think, especially if they want those consumers to come back. In hospitality, this is all the more important because travel is such a high-spend and high-emotion purchase. We have seen over the years that reviews help improve standards and reduce costs for businesses in paying for market research — they have what they need right there in the reviews for free! We also have third-party data to show that improvements in service quality and therefore review score leads to increased demand and revenues, so guest feedback really can be the start of a highly virtuous circle.   How would you say that TripAdvisor has changed the landscape for feedback? You only have to walk around a destination and count the TripAdvisor stickers in windows to know the impact has been significant. Businesses want to collect reviews, for all the reasons above, and because it gives them further opportunity to stand out from the crowd. As travel consumers, we are all individuals with different tastes and needs, and those differ depending on the type of trip we are on, so it’s critical that we connect the right consumer with the right property, based on their needs at that time. TripAdvisor is working hard on doing that better than ever and that means it’s a fantastic opportunity for all businesses on our platform to access the market.   What would you say to properties who view TripAdvisor reviews as damaging to their brand? The vast, vast majority of TripAdvisor reviews are highly positive and we know that most people want to praise the brilliant service they have experienced. It’s also important to share critical feedback when appropriate, because it raises standards across our industry and ensures transparency. We hope that businesses see that as an opportunity to shine, and that one poor review within a large number of positive ones does not negatively impact their business. What’s more, with the manager response tool, the last word goes to the business owner which really is a huge benefit. So I would always suggest businesses view critical feedback as an opportunity to thank the reviewer for their feedback, use it as an opportunity to improve and also to actually attract more business – we know, for example, that thoughtful management responses can actually increase future bookings, so there’s really nothing to lose!   If you could give one piece of advice to hospitality professionals looking to improve their listings, what would it be? Make sure you engage, frequently and thoughtfully. As mentioned, management responses are invaluable, but so too is current content. Make sure your listing content is up-to-date and consider seasonal adjustments to ensure you are really appealing to travellers who are thinking about booking right now. Photos are extremely important, especially of the inside of your property so it’s worthwhile investing in some great shots.   Is there a review or response that sticks out in your mind as portraying the value that this kind of platform holds for hotels? I was in Cape Town a few years ago and met a wonderful entrepreneur called Siviwe who had grown up in the Langa township. He wanted to start a tour company to show visitors to the city a different side of local life, from the perspective of his own community. One day someone told him about TripAdvisor and so he started asking customers for reviews and his business really grew as a result. Using his business success for good, Siviwe founded an incredible youth charity in that same township, which has been a major success and contributed to hundreds of children’s education in his community. For me, that reflects the power of a great entrepreneur and also of how TripAdvisor can really be an opportunity to grow great businesses – making sure the voices of the most brilliant and passionate business owners are heard by the visitors who are looking for the best experiences in a destination, regardless of where they are from or what marketing budget they have.   What is the best hotel that you have ever stayed in, and why? I have been very lucky to stay in some remarkable places. I’ve experienced the high end of the market, such as incredible ethical safari lodges in South Africa, as well as very small, low-key properties like amazing pubs in the Lake District that wow you with their service and personal flair. Each experience is so different that I couldn’t possibly choose just one! What I will say is that, for me, the link that connects all the best places I have stayed are those that take their responsibility seriously — to their local community and environment. I consistently find that those businesses also deliver the best service and experience, so that’s what I look for when I travel.

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Google Hotels joins the battle for bookings

GuestRevu

The battle for bookings is nothing new — properties have been vying for coveted direct bookings and rebelling against the commissions charged by online travel agencies (OTAs) practically since they arrived on the scene. But the battlefield is shifting thanks to the introduction of Google Hotels. What is Google Hotels? Following the success of Google Flights, the search engine giant quietly launched a brand new feature to its ever-expanding repertoire in March 2019, helping users to find the perfect property for their next trip. Picture the scene: a traveller is planning a getaway for business or leisure, and naturally their first stop is Google. They type in something simple, perhaps “Hotels in London”, and what will they see? Beyond the Google Ad for the most popular OTAs, they will find what looks much like a booking platform: a list of available properties along with their prices, ratings, reviews and features on the left, and a view of the area ala Google Maps on the right sporting pins with pricing for every available property in the area. Click on a property on the left, or a pin on the right, and you’ll see a more detailed overview - photographs, reviews, a location summary, a link to the property’s website, and pricing from a range of sources including OTAs, and the property itself if it has made its pricing available.  This is Google Hotels, the latest feature for the oracle of online information, which provides users with a quick and easily navigated breakdown of accommodation providers in the area that they are looking at, including the latest deals, filters to help travellers find precisely the features that the want and need, and even the option to book their stay directly from the platform.  “You can filter by amenities such as “kid friendly”, “pool”, “fitness center” and many more, selecting as many filters as you wish. Basically, if you only want hotels that offer free breakfast, a pool and a fitness center, which are also kid friendly – you can set that out from the very beginning to avoid wasted time.” — God Save The Points This is the perfect opportunity for travellers since, as Gilbert Ott of God Save The Points puts it, “I love searching for hotels on 15 different websites just to get an idea of the best prices and places to stay, said no one ever.” But what impact does this new feature have on the tug-o-war that is the battle for bookings? Does it give an advantage to OTAs? To properties themselves? Or is it a new contender entirely, positioning itself as a new challenge for both sides to overcome? Ding, ding — Let the battle begin Round One: Where do properties sit when it comes to Google Hotels? At first glance, it would seem that Google Hotels is a great opportunity for properties to encourage travellers to book with them directly. The overview that Google Hotels provides for each property may look much like a Google My Business page by linking to the property’s own website, displaying their photographs and highlighting their latest reviews, but it also gives accommodation providers the opportunity to list their own pricing alongside that of OTAs, and offers them more control over where and how their guests are able to book with them. Find out more about improving your hotel's Google presence As Raini Hamdi of Skift points out: “Providing users the option to “visit our website” and also to phone the hotel directly via mobile or send a message... gives more ways for users to get in touch with hotels directly, bypassing the intermediaries which are listed further below.” “Google now offers a clear index for prices, reviews and photos, making a hotel’s content stand out a lot more prominently than in the past.” — Skift Better still, properties that are already making use of Google Hotel Ads will receive a bigger bang for their buck, being displayed first within Google Hotels search results, and highlighted amongst “Deals”, encouraging guests to book direct. However, if you’re not already advertising via Google Hotel Ads, adding your property’s pricing to the platform is not as simple as making sure that your website is listed, or even as simple as setting up and keeping your Google My Business listing up to date. A glance at the documentation that Google has put together for making sure that your pricing reflects correctly (and is ready for Hotel Ads too), shows that getting your property set up on the platform is at least a four-step process, often requiring some technical expertise or assistance from one of Google’s third-party integration partners. This means that, from the get-go, getting yourself listed on the platform requires some financial outlay if you don’t already have someone with technical experience on staff, which, for smaller properties, is often the case. Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land explains that, even with (and possibly as a result of) the introduction of Google Hotels, “it’s getting much more challenging to be visible in organic results for hotel category searches... Accordingly, hospitality brands are now all but compelled to buy Hotel Ads to appear anywhere above the fold.” And it’s not just the financial aspect that stops Google Hotels from being an ideal platform for direct bookings. Trish Leighton of Vizergynotes, “after browsing a few hotels, I noticed how difficult it was to get to the hotel website directly and how much effort was placed into directing clicks to the Hotel Ads.” “It’s what happens after you narrow down your search results that is having an impact on direct bookings. Google provides a handful of ways to book that room, with the eye-catching photos, hotel information tabs, reduced rate messaging, reviews, and nearby competitor rates far more appealing than the little “Website” button that actually takes you to the hotel website.” — Vizergy Though properties are able to list their own pricing and have buttons that link to their websites, the opportunities for directing travellers to those websites are often lost amongst OTA and competitor listings, or amongst the other range of calls to action that the Google Hotels overviews offer to travellers, mitigating the direct booking benefits that it may have held for accommodation providers. Round Two: What about OTAs' relationships with Google Hotels? You would think that the opportunity to have your properties listed prominently on Google’s latest feature, and continuing to get commissions when users choose to book through your platform would be seen as an overwhelmingly positive boon for OTAs, however the addition of Google Hotels is not all sunshine, roses and pockets full of cash for OTAs either. OTAs certainly have the advantage over independent properties and smaller groups when it comes to having multiple properties listed, multiple opportunities for travellers to be booking through them on the new platform, and the benefit of their reviews being displayed prominently in overviews for each property. However, the fact that users are able to book directly from Google’s platform rather than being directed to OTA websites is expected to have a significant effect on the traffic and popularity of third-party booking sites, particularly when Google makes booking from one platform such a pleasure. “Google Hotels offers all the functionality and tools of its competitors such as Kayak, Expedia and Booking.com. It has the benefit of Google Maps and integration with Google search results (generally pretty high in results). The question thus arises: will Google Hotels create a giant black hole that sucks all the direct traffic away from online hotel booking sites?” — Search Engine Land As Chetan Patel of Onyx Hospitality Group explained to Triptease shortly after the new platform had been released, “Google seems to be taking over the role OTAs have played in the guest journey so far, and are arguably doing a better job at it.” Does this mean that the battle for bookings is over? If so, who has won? The introduction of Google Hotels has certainly disrupted the battle for bookings that has been underway for over two decades, but while it offers benefits to both properties and OTAs, it doesn’t give either side an edge over the other. Rather, the two parties that benefit the most from the new platform are travellers, and Google itself. “Within months, Google has rolled out new features in flights and hotels that, we dare say, make it a convenient one-stop shop to book travel sans encumbrances. Given its dominance in search, hotels and online travel agencies are on another planet if they are not feeling wary.” — Skift More than anything, this latest innovation on Google’s part goes to show that accommodation providers can benefit from working together with OTAs — ensuring that their property is listed with as many agencies as is feasible, and that listings are consistently kept up to date. That way, their property has more opportunities to stay top-of-mind for travellers, even if they are not inclined to book direct. Read about how to embrace the Online Travel Agent After all, as Skift's Dennis Schaal explained, when hints of Google’s intentions were floating around back in October 2018, “when it comes to Google and its hotels redesign, few things are all or nothing. TripAdvisor can worry that Google now has more traveler photos and reviews, but some of them are from TripAdvisor. Hotel websites and phone numbers get featured, but clicking on a book button brings customers to an online travel agency site. In travel, it’s never winner take all.”

Discover the financial benefits of a great reputation

GuestRevu

It’s no secret that at GuestRevu we’re all about helping hospitality professionals to listen to, learn and earn from their clientele. And it’s not just loyalty, trust, and insights that you stand to gain – a better reputation can actually increase revenue and reduce overheads. To help you get to grips with the financial impact of embracing online reputation and guest feedback management tools at your business, we’ve put together an ROI Calculator to show what kind of return on investment you can expect when buying GuestRevu. What are these figures based on? Cornell University has done some excellent research into the subject of online reputation in the hospitality sector, but one research paper in particular looked at the correlation between review scores and room pricing, hotel occupancy, and RevPAR. They found that when a hotel improves its overall online review score by as little as 1%, there is often an impact on revenue and turnover across the board, resulting in, on average, an overall 1.42% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) for each point out of 100 by which a hotel improves its reputation. Since GuestRevu helped hospitality professionals to increase their TripAdvisor review ratings by 4% on average in 2018, and taking into account the amount of time that our award-winning online reputation management solution saves teams in monitoring and responding to reviews across platforms like TripAdvisor, Google Reviews, Booking.com and more, we’ve been able to work out just how much of a sound investment GuestRevu’s solutions can be for your company. What makes us industry leaders in guest feedback and reputation management? Don’t make us toot our own horn — our clients can speak for themselves, and it’s their feedback that saw GuestRevu topping the HotelTechAwards in 2019 in both the Guest Feedback Software and Reputation Management categories. We can talk all day about what makes GuestRevu an excellent solution — from our world-class customer service, to our two-way integrations with PMSs like Guestline and Mews, to our personalised approach to every property and business, big or small — but sometimes you just need to see the numbers, the return on investment, or the solutions in action for yourself. Click on the banner below to request a demo from a GuestRevu consultant.

The importance of a meritocracy like TripAdvisor in hospitality

GuestRevu

Some properties think of TripAdvisor as their best friend, others their worst enemy. But when it comes to online reviews, it is the one place that every hospitality professional turns to. There can be no denying the impact that the review giant has had on the hospitality industry, and Sally Davey knows this all too well. From competing with TripAdvisor with her own start-up, Tripbod.com, to becoming a valued member of the review giant’s international team, Sally has seen the industry shift over the years, and has seen the role that TripAdvisor, and guest reviews, have played in this evolution. She speaks to us about the importance of online reviews in levelling the hospitality marketing playing field, the value of management responses, and so much more.   Tell us a bit about who you are, and what your position is. I head up Industry Relations at TripAdvisor and am responsible for the company’s non-commercial relationship with industry. My team focuses on listening to feedback from the industry and identifying opportunities to improve operations and partnerships, as well as ideas for thought leadership projects. This often leverages TripAdvisor’s unique data asset to help provide the industry with leading indicators of forthcoming market changes.   What was your first job, and how did you come to work for the largest travel review platform? My first job was in a local pub in the Lake District, UK as a kitchen helper and then waitress. I continued working in hospitality throughout university before starting my own travel company. This grew into a business called Tripbod.com which TripAdvisor acquired in 2014.   How did you first come across TripAdvisor — was it as a potential employee, as a competitor, or as a reviewer — and what were your first thoughts about the company? Being an entrepreneur in the space I couldn’t not be aware of TripAdvisor. Lots of my local partners, when I was building Tripbod, were great fans of TripAdvisor, but as a start-up I wanted to disrupt it! At the time I felt TripAdvisor was doing a great job being the world’s largest platform for reviews and opinions, but that smaller businesses like mine could do a better job of personalising the experience. The challenge, of course, was getting to market. When I was introduced to the Head of Product at TripAdvisor at the time, I was keen to see if there was a business development opportunity. What I didn’t expect was to be so deeply impressed by the people I met that day and the company culture that came across. It turned out they were investing heavily in personalising the user experience and making some great strides, so it was an awesome opportunity to have impact from within — which I think they now call ‘intrapreneurship’!   Do you think that the founders of TripAdvisor ever imagined how far the company would grow? I think you always go into business with ambition and dreams, and Steve (TripAdvisor’s co-founder, and still our CEO) certainly does not lack vision! But there is also an element of organic growth to success, and having your users define your direction. As a company, we listen to our users – both industry and consumers – all the time so we can ensure their input is central to our decision making. I think some things have changed significantly since TripAdvisor’s inception, and others not at all. The company still has the same ambition as it did on day one — to help real travellers share their real insights into real destinations, which goes far beyond the sales pitch of a glossy marketing brochure. How we do that, and indeed how the industry engages in that with their own opinions, has evolved enormously. And thankfully our user experience has changed dramatically. Nowadays we don’t bombard you with pop-up windows like everyone did in the ‘good old days’!   Has the role of feedback changed since it has become freely viewable (and freely voiced) online through platforms like TripAdvisor? I think the role is still the same – to share feedback with a service provider that either gives well-deserved praise or gives suggestions for improvement. The difference now is that more opinions are shared and that is a really good thing. Some people just don’t feel comfortable giving feedback there and then in person, even if it is a glowing report, so it’s important for people to have their say in the way they feel comfortable sharing. This then benefits others considering booking with that same business, and can really help raise the profile of businesses that otherwise would struggle to achieve the same brand reach as competitors who have bigger budgets but possibly not as great service. TripAdvisor is a meritocracy that creates a level playing field based on quality, and that has made a meaningful impact on a lot of businesses in lots of parts of the world.   What would you say the role of guest feedback is in the hospitality industry? Every industry cares what its consumers think, especially if they want those consumers to come back. In hospitality, this is all the more important because travel is such a high-spend and high-emotion purchase. We have seen over the years that reviews help improve standards and reduce costs for businesses in paying for market research — they have what they need right there in the reviews for free! We also have third-party data to show that improvements in service quality and therefore review score leads to increased demand and revenues, so guest feedback really can be the start of a highly virtuous circle.   How would you say that TripAdvisor has changed the landscape for feedback? You only have to walk around a destination and count the TripAdvisor stickers in windows to know the impact has been significant. Businesses want to collect reviews, for all the reasons above, and because it gives them further opportunity to stand out from the crowd. As travel consumers, we are all individuals with different tastes and needs, and those differ depending on the type of trip we are on, so it’s critical that we connect the right consumer with the right property, based on their needs at that time. TripAdvisor is working hard on doing that better than ever and that means it’s a fantastic opportunity for all businesses on our platform to access the market.   What would you say to properties who view TripAdvisor reviews as damaging to their brand? The vast, vast majority of TripAdvisor reviews are highly positive and we know that most people want to praise the brilliant service they have experienced. It’s also important to share critical feedback when appropriate, because it raises standards across our industry and ensures transparency. We hope that businesses see that as an opportunity to shine, and that one poor review within a large number of positive ones does not negatively impact their business. What’s more, with the manager response tool, the last word goes to the business owner which really is a huge benefit. So I would always suggest businesses view critical feedback as an opportunity to thank the reviewer for their feedback, use it as an opportunity to improve and also to actually attract more business – we know, for example, that thoughtful management responses can actually increase future bookings, so there’s really nothing to lose!   If you could give one piece of advice to hospitality professionals looking to improve their listings, what would it be? Make sure you engage, frequently and thoughtfully. As mentioned, management responses are invaluable, but so too is current content. Make sure your listing content is up-to-date and consider seasonal adjustments to ensure you are really appealing to travellers who are thinking about booking right now. Photos are extremely important, especially of the inside of your property so it’s worthwhile investing in some great shots.   Is there a review or response that sticks out in your mind as portraying the value that this kind of platform holds for hotels? I was in Cape Town a few years ago and met a wonderful entrepreneur called Siviwe who had grown up in the Langa township. He wanted to start a tour company to show visitors to the city a different side of local life, from the perspective of his own community. One day someone told him about TripAdvisor and so he started asking customers for reviews and his business really grew as a result. Using his business success for good, Siviwe founded an incredible youth charity in that same township, which has been a major success and contributed to hundreds of children’s education in his community. For me, that reflects the power of a great entrepreneur and also of how TripAdvisor can really be an opportunity to grow great businesses – making sure the voices of the most brilliant and passionate business owners are heard by the visitors who are looking for the best experiences in a destination, regardless of where they are from or what marketing budget they have.   What is the best hotel that you have ever stayed in, and why? I have been very lucky to stay in some remarkable places. I’ve experienced the high end of the market, such as incredible ethical safari lodges in South Africa, as well as very small, low-key properties like amazing pubs in the Lake District that wow you with their service and personal flair. Each experience is so different that I couldn’t possibly choose just one! What I will say is that, for me, the link that connects all the best places I have stayed are those that take their responsibility seriously — to their local community and environment. I consistently find that those businesses also deliver the best service and experience, so that’s what I look for when I travel.

5 uncommon yet simple tips to get more hotel guest reviews

Hotelogix

We live in the age of the customer, and the sooner we embrace this fact the higher our chances of succeeding. In this age, customer feedback is one of the most important (if not THE most!) factors that can fuel your business. While this is true to all industries, it is more relevant to the hospitality industry. And no, we don’t expect you to take our word for it. Several studies conducted across the world vouch for the fact that hotel guest reviews are paramount to your business. Here’s why you should improve your hotel review Consider this stat, for example from a study conducted by Cornell University in the year 2012.  “A one-point increase in a hotel’s average user rating on a 5-point scale (eg, 3.8 to 4.8) makes potential customers 13.5% more likely to book that hotel. (Source, Cornell) If this stat took you by surprise, the same study also suggests that if a hotel increases its review scores by 1 point on a 5-point scale, the hotel can increase its price by 11.2 and still maintain the same occupancy! I take it that this has established the backdrop for the rest of the read. Now, this brings us to the question “How to encourage guest reviews?”.  While there are many ways to prompt guests to give you feedback, the bottom line is that unless you put in a 100% into building an impeccable guest experience, you really cannot expect miracles to happen! So, before you even start implementing these 5 ways to encourage hotel guest reviews, you need to make sure that they are happy with your services and offerings. Give them more than what they expect, and you are sure to please them. How to get more reviews for your hotel While creativity is the key to inspiring hotel reviews, here are some not-so-obvious but sure shot ways to encourage guests to give you feedback on their experience with your hotel.  1.         Make the most of Review Widgets Most review sites these days allow you to add a widget to your hotel website. Why does this help? Because the only other place the prospective guests are likely to visit, apart from review sites, is your website. Adding a review widget, like TripAdvisor’s, to your website opens a two-way connectivity between review sites and your website. Every time a guest leaves a review on your website, it reflects on TripAdvisor and vice versa. This addition helps you club reviews left on your website and those on the review sites. The more online reviews you have, the more credibility you build and the more your chances of online bookings. Here’s a stat that will prove this statement: 53% of TripAdvisor users say they will not book a hotel if it has zero reviews. (Source, Tnooz) 2.         Be present on the platform most-suited for your guest Diversify the touchpoints on which you reach out to your guests for feedback. But be smart in doing so, because you don’t want to inundate them with feedback requests on all channels. Survey fatigue is a real thing and it can cost you dearly too! The clever way to approach this would be to get to know your guest better to know which platform they are most active on, or most comfortable with and then send them a feedback request. You can improve hotel reviews by sending guests feedback forms via emails, SMSs, or calling them shortly after their stay with you. You could also have guest books at your front desk and nudge guests to put in a good word or two. Having comment cards inside the hotel rooms can also help. This is interesting: 71% of consumers will leave a review for a business, if asked. (Source, Search Engine Land)  Of course, these are ways to prompt them to leave a review, but in cases where customers have voluntarily left you a review, be sure to respond to them and thank them. Nobody wants to leave a review if they feel like it won’t be looked into! 3.         Promote a culture of guest-centricity within your team Sincere and genuine service is key to building a guest experience that will flatter your guests. Bring in people onboard and build a team of staff that are in tune with this philosophy. The hospitality industry is synonymous with service and this should really be the differentiator. Promote a guest-centric culture within your hotel, no matter how big or small. Be it housekeeping staff, restaurant staff, front desk staff or even you, for that matter- following a consistent culture across all departments will impress guests because it is so rare! It’s simple, really. When you make your guests feel like you value them and their journey with you, there is no way they will not reciprocate the same emotion. Be it word-of-mouth marketing, or a nice online review about how lovely their experience was at your property, your guests will share their experience with others. Look at this: 70% of guests would be prompted to leave a positive review if hotel staff were friendly and helpful. (Source, ReviewPro) 4.          Deliver on what you promise, but exceed guest expectations The easiest way to get your hotel review management in a soup is to bite off more than you can chew. Simply put, always under promise and over deliver, not the other way around. Make sure the messaging on your website, the images you use to publicize your property online, your Hotel’s profile on OTAs, and your general brand messaging is modest. Don’t give in to exaggeration or try overselling your property. The effect you should ideally have on your guests is for them to be pleasantly surprised by your property and not be disappointed horribly! It may seem like a non-issue but think about it from the guests’ perspective! Nobody likes to be cheated or played with. They like to get exactly what they pay for and if they’ve been promised ‘x’, it is but natural for anyone to expect no less than ‘x’. This is why we say this is the easiest way to ruin your online reviews. An irate guest can cost you dearly. Don’t believe us? Check it out: 89% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decision. Adding to that, 70% of consumers trust the opinion of unknown users. (Source, ReviewPro)   5.         Do something special that will blow their minds A mind-blowing guest experience is half the job done, if you are constantly wondering “how to get guest reviews for your hotel”. There is no other way around it, fortunately. And the better you get to know your guests the more the opportunities for you in store to explore. Pamper your return guests with unexpected gestures give them an add-on when they least expect it, send in a snail mail for their birthday and tell them you’d love to host them again by throwing in a voucher they can redeem the next time they stay with you, do something special occasionally, so they are constantly assured that you value them. Guest reviews will come flooding in when you focus more on making the customer feel like the proverbial king! We can prove to you that this is important. consider this: “70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are treated” (Source, Industry Analysts) While there are other ways and hacks to increase your guest reviews, but these that we’ve discussed here are the ones that can truly bring about a transformation in the way your guests perceive you. Why treat the symptoms when you can get to the root of it and cure the illness, don’t you agree?  

Why your hotel’s marketing plan must include TripAdvisor’s Sponsored Positions

Hotelogix

A hotel’s marketing plan would be incomplete without the mention of TripAdvisor. In the recent times, TripAdvisor has been making waves in the hotel industry. It was one of the sites that started promoting user-generated content early on.  It provides free service to users who post reviews, photographs, rate and accommodation related information, etc. Users can also book hotels easily via TripAdvisor. Over the years, TripAdvisor has turned out to be an important resource for travelers. This is precisely why your hotel’s marketing strategy for TripAdvisor must be your priority this year.  TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions have gained prominence among marketers. Why sponsored? Well, the competition is heating up, and multiple results are being displayed on TripAdvisor for a single search by millions of users. That means pages and pages of hotel names, reviews and more. You’d certainly want higher ranking for your property to catch the attention of the online user. You’d also want the user to be gently pushed towards the “book now” button.  Indeed, TripAdvisor has been smart to leverage the popularity of their site to a whole new level altogether.  A hotel’s marketing plan should include TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions to drive high quality traffic for bookings. But first, you must understand the basics to make the most of your sponsored position.  What are TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions? This concept was introduced in December 2017. With a sponsored placement campaign on TripAdvisor, you can bid on the position for your hotel on the destination page. After all, if your hotel information is not there at the  top, it’s practically invisible on many other websites.   Why TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions? How can it make a difference to me? Well, consider this. Your traveler is more likely to click on the hotel listing that appears right on top of the search results. All you need to do is to ensure your listing appears in this very important spot.  TripAdvisor’s Hotel Sponsored Position: How it works, the costs and more As a hotel owner, you’d be rightly concerned about the costs and efforts involved. Let’s simplify this. You pay for the sponsored placements only on CPC basis (Cost-Per-Click). There are many factors that define CPC. What is the type of your hotel? (beachside or business hotel) Where are you located? Who are the competitors in your area?  TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions include a 3 month budget plan. As defined on their site, TripAdvisor charges for the clicks you receive while running your campaign. You need to define the budget in advance as per the number of CPCs you  expect. Your charges for each registered click will be sent across by TripAdvisor, at the end of every month.  It’s natural to feel hesitant initially. But, TripAdvisor has made it easy for you to cancel it anytime, without any hidden charges. That’s a breather, isn’t it? You can choose to pay via credit or debit cards. There’s an auto-renewal process as well. Who is it for?  New to the game? The sponsored placements are a blessing for new hotels.Your TripAdvisor Sponsored campaigns are important to reach out to new customers and to improve your brand visibility.  If you are an already existing property with good customer reviews, it is even more important that you appear at the top of the  search results. Properties with low ranking or those that don’t have a splendid destination to boast about, can use TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions to rank higher. However, if your property already has negative reviews, it’s advisable to fix the problem-areas first before venturing into sponsored positions.  Setting up TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions is easy with everything available online. All you need to do is log in to your account. Use the Management Center to select the property type and make the payment for the Sponsored Placements. TripAdvisor site includes further instructions for hotel owners. You can also check the status of your campaign - number of views or impressions, number of clicks and CPCs, the click-through-rate and the total amount spent from the budget you’ve earmarked.  Things to Remember for TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions: ●       A click on your sponsored placement is counted when a user is directed to another page (in this case - yours) for the search results defined. For eg: a user searching for a property in your area finds your listing right on top of the page. The user may then click on your property name or may want to read your reviews. Each action that takes a user to your page is counted as a click. ●       The click does not apply to the action of “saving” your property for later. This means, a user who has clicked the “save” icon would not be counted as a click and will not be billed to you. ●       If you end up clicking your own sponsored placement, remember, this will be billed to you. ●       You need to have a TripConnect CPC and InstantBook campaign already running to use the TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements. ●       You must always display your best rate. TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions must be launched only when you have your rate management in place. ●       Do not ignore your property’s profile page. Your content must provide correct information at a glance, the images must be attractive, and your page must be have all the relevant information.. (Response to reviews is a must.) ●       The sponsored positions appear when a user searches for information and your hotel property matches the user’s search. This could be defined by the area, price, type of property, cuisine and more. The launch of the campaign is relatively easy for all hotel owners. Your hotel’s marketing plan must include this campaign to increase your hotel’s revenue and branding in the process. This is considered to be a relatively low-risk campaign. After all, your listing shouldn’t just exist, you need to be seen.  Make your hotel display clearly distinguishable with TripAdvisor Sponsored Positions. If you’ve already tried it, we’d like to hear your views. Drop us a line below!      

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Reputation Management Software Category Overview

A quick guide to understanding hotel reputation management software

What is reputation management software?
Reputation and review management solutions aggregate all forms of guest feedback from across the web to help hoteliers read, respond, and analyze the feedback in an efficient manner. 95% of guests read reviews prior to making a booking decision, and after price, reviews are the most important decision variable when booking a hotel. With reputation and review management solutions, hotels can positively impact the reviews and ratings that travelers are seeing when making a booking decision.

For info on trends in hotel reputation management, questions that you should ask vendors and more download the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Reputation Management Software

How can reputation management software improve profitability and efficiency?
  • Drive direct bookings: Online reviews influences millions of booking decisions on hundreds of OTAs and meta-search sites, while encouraging travelers to book directly on your hotel website.
  • Improve guest satisfaction: Review collection allows hotels to boost their online review scores and gather valuable customer insights in order to continuously improve the guest experience.
  • Increase revenue: Reputation management creates insights from your reviews that benchmark your hotel versus competitors and evaluates what most impacts your hotel rating, effectively increasing your hotel ADR.

What are the most important features of reputation management software?
  • Review Aggregation: For many hotels, the most important review channels include their own guest satisfaction survey, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Google. If these review sites are not included as part of the solution, the hotel will have to duplicate their review management efforts. 
  • Enterprise Visibility: For hoteliers who oversee multiple hotels, or sit at a corporate level, the option to view and report on behalf of all managed properties is a definite requirement for usability and effectiveness. 
  • Semantic analysis: Simply reading through or scanning reviews will not provide a hotelier any insight into how to improve, but with aggregated review summaries provided by semantic text analysis, hoteliers can start to see what's most positively and negatively impacting their rating. 
  • KPI Reporting: Hoteliers often need to provide reports on their KPIs, i.e. response rate, in order to meet the required status quo. To make them easier to track, they can be downloaded directly from the hotelier’s account or automatically scheduled via email.
  • Competitor Benchmarking: When hoteliers are searching for a hotel, they are comparing the scores of a hotel's competitive set. Understanding and tracking how your hotel is performing in comparison to the competition is a key component to driving bookings.

What makes great reputation management software?
Review management alone does not make a large impact on your hotel’s revenues. Ensure that the vendor offers solutions that have been proven to improve direct bookings and increase ADRs for their customers.

Great reputation management software will improve response rates and ultimately boost your hotel ratings.

Many hoteliers are required by management or ownership to respond to a certain percentage of reviews, as responding to reviews is considered a best practice in hotel management. Most hotels can achieve over 70% by adopting an ORM platform and assigning resources to manage it. (# of reviews responded to/# of total reviews).

Consider what review sources are most popular for your hotel(s) and make sure that you will be able to view and respond to these reviews within the vendor’s solution.Be sure that the hotel rating provided by the vendor is as accurate as possible, otherwise, your bookings could suffer if the score drops too low. Sophisticated formulas will automatically remove any biased reviews that could skew your rating.

To better understand how to distinguish between vendors, check out the 5 critical questions you should ask during the sales process by downloading the 2019 Hoteliers Guide to Reputation Management Software

What is the typical pricing for reputation management software?
Implementation fees are rarely necessary for reputation management solutions, even with a large portfolio of hotels. There could be costs related to integrations on a case-by-case basis.

This monthly cost will typically vary based on a variety of factors, i.e. number of
properties in a hotel group, quantity of rooms per property, and market segment of the properties. Licenses are generally purchased with an annual contract between $30-$50/property/month.

How long does it usually take for a hotel to implement new reputation management software?
The implementation time varies from two weeks to a few months, depending on the portfolio size and competitors that need to be added and checked.The best thing about reputation management is that it does not require an integration with your PMS, CRM, or CRS to get it up and running. However, it can be provided to guarantee seamless connections with your guest data. This will be the longest phase of your setup, so if an integration is not required, implementation can be done in the minimum time frame of 2 weeks.

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