Renovating Your Hotel’s Digital Presence: Are You Ready For The New Age Traveler? [Webinar]
5 Steps of a Hotel Renovation
For those that have been a part of a physical renovation at a property, you know that it can be a long and complicated process, but for the purpose of this presentation we have broken it up into 5 major steps. The first step is an initial assessment. What needs to be improved and why does it need to be done? Are your rooms outdated? Does your lobby need a refresh? These are the type of questions that hotel GMs and owners are asking at this stage.
Once an initial assessment is completed and the renovation area is identified it’s time to start planning and preparing. How am I going to complete this project? What needs to be done in order to accomplish my goal or goals.
After planning and preparing, it’s time for execution and implementation, the physical act of deconstructing and building. Once this stage is completed, with every last nail and screw in place, a lot of people think the renovation process has ended. They fail to recognize two more critical steps after the renovation is physically constructed and completed.
The fourth step is to create excitement. This stage was once described to me as buying a brand new, expensive sports car and keeping it hidden in the garage for only visiting friends and family to see. You wanna show that new car off, just like that brand new renovation. You certainly earned the right to after all that time and money spent. And remember, brand new is only considered new for a finite amount of time so create excitement.
The fifth and final stage is evaluation. This stage is extremely important because it gives you a blueprint for what went right and wrong the next time you decide to complete a property renovation. Gauging what went smooth and the hiccups you encountered along the way, gives you the experience and the know-how to hopefully make it easier and more efficient for you and your team in the future.
5 Steps Of a Digital Hotel Renovation
Now, luckily, we are not here to talk about a physical renovation for your property, but instead a digital one. However, in this presentation, we will use the same steps and process that you would, as if we were doing a full-on, physical renovation. So let’s put on our digital hard hats and get rolling.
Initial Assessment – Overall Rating
As we enter the initial assessment stage of our hotel’s digital renovation, one of the first places we have to start is our hotel’s online reputation. However, since the pandemic, travelers are looking at your hotel’s reputation differently than before. Hotels that have sat back and relied solely on their overall score rating may be losing bookings to their local competition and not even know it. The reason why is that travelers are looking closer and magnifying a hotel’s reputation when it comes to their booking decision.
Initial Assessment – First Page
Today, travelers want the whole story, not just part of it. They are going to look at multiple reviews on your hotel’s first page of reviews. They have realized that the hotel experience is different now and can vary dramatically from place to place. And if that overall rating doesn’t align with the recent reviews that you have been receiving, you run the risk of losing that traveler to another hotel with a more consistent reputation story.
Initial Assessment – Recency
This brings us to my next point: the recency of your reviews. This has been a problem I have been encountering with a ton of hotels that I have talked to recently. This review you see right here is irrelevant to a traveler looking to book today. Winning traveler conversions in the midst of omicron and/or other future potential variants rest on your ability to build trust and confidence with travelers. If you are not able to show what your hotel experience is right now/today you lose that opportunity. Recent reviews build trust that what the traveler is reading is a true representation of the experience they can expect.
Initial Assessment – Response Rate
Finally, guests are paying more attention and looking closer than ever at your review responses. I would argue that right now travelers are more understanding when it comes to negative feedback and are more willing to hear your side of the story than in the past. If you clearly and thoughtfully write a response in a professional tone with customer service at the forefront, it might actually improve your chances of converting future guests.
Initial Assessment – 1st Impression
So all of these 4 factors make for a pretty comprehensive initial assessment of your hotel’s reputation today in 2022. So much so, that at Travel Media Group, we created a first-of-its-kind metric to score these 4 factors for your hotel, called 1st Impression Score. It takes into account all four of these reputation factors, giving you an idea of where your team should be focusing their attention and giving you a real-time gauge of how you are faring in booking battles within your local market.
Initial Assessment – Sentiment
But it’s not just travelers that should be looking closer than ever at reviews. Hotels are now paying more attention to what guests are actually saying in their feedback online. Identifying tags like rooms, service, staff, etc., and determining the positive or negative feelings guests associate with them.
Initial Assessment – 1st Impression Sentiment
With enough of that data, you can create a really accurate idea of what impression your hotel is giving off to travelers that are searching in real-time. Travel Media Group’s 1st Impression Sentiment Score illustrates a crystal clear picture of what travelers see when they read hotel reviews online. For this example, the hotel’s recent reviews give the impression to travelers that it is giving excellent service to its guests, but looks like there could be some average sentiment around facility and cleanliness. From there this hotel could jump into its reviews to identify the issues and correct them before turning into a bigger problem.
Initial Assessment – Social
Now at this point, we have only assessed your hotel’s online reputation, a critical piece to your digital health, but not the whole story. The other part of digital presence that might need a major renovation in 2022 is your hotel’s social strategy. For our hotel social partners, we use these 4 major sites to promote and market things like their rooms, amenities, events, and local stories. We will talk more about social strategy goals in the next stage: planning and preparation.
Planning/Preparation – Reputation Goals
At this point in a physical renovation, it’s time to start planning and preparing: drawing up blueprints to help us achieve the goals that we set from the data we collected in our initial assessment. We will do something similar during our digital renovation. With the insights gained from the initial assessment of our hotel’s reputation, we should be able to clearly see what we need to work on. Most of the time, these goals fall under 4 distinct categories: Does your hotel need more reviews, better reviews, more recent reviews, and/or a better review response rate? Some of these goals go hand in hand: more reviews translate to more recent reviews. But it’s important to set a smart goal or goals at this point in the digital renovation process.
Planning/Preparation – Social Goals
The same is true for our social media goals. Those goals typically fall under one or several of the following categories: more social awareness, expanding the reach and breadth of our online audience, more social engagement, increasing the number of likes, comments, and feedback on our hotel’s social content, better conversion on social media, increasing our chances of booking clicks from our hotel’s social audience, or more social advocacy: generating positive posts and feedback from our guests on various social channels.
Planning/Preparation – Social Calendar
One thing that our hotel social partners at Travel Media Group never have to worry about is consistent posting. And this is something that I suggest for every hotel on this call, creating a social content calendar. You can see an example of what ours looks like here. This is the type of posting consistency hotels need in order to have a successful social strategy. I challenge you to pull up your hotel’s social profiles, start to fill in a blank calendar, and note the frequency of your posts, compared to what you see here. Most hoteliers are surprised about what they uncover.
Implementation – Reputation
At this point in our hotel’s digital renovation, we have assessed and gathered the data we need, we have set smart goals by planning and preparing, and now it’s time for the implementation phase. With a physical renovation, this is when we start hiring third-party companies and contractors to help us complete our objectives and finish the job. Because of this pandemic and the industry-wide staffing shortage, that is what a lot of hotels have been doing for their digital needs. So whether it’s increasing the quality, quantity, or recency of their reviews online or making sure that reviews are being responded to, we are there to help achieve the goals you have set in the planning/preparation phase.
Implementation – Social
The same is true with your social media objectives: increasing awareness, engagement, advocacy, and most importantly conversion.
Whether you partner with TMG for your hotel’s digital renovation or not, the job is not done. It’s time to create excitement about the improvements that we have made to our property. In this example, we see that a hotel uncovered during their digital renovation process that guests in their reviews felt like the hotel’s breakfast was lacking variety and the property noticed more and more travelers asking on social media if they had gluten-free options for their breakfast. With these digital insights, the hotel decided to revamp its breakfast offerings and made a major announcement on social media for its launch.
Evaluation – Reputation
In the final stage of the digital renovation process, evaluation, the property was able to see the direct correlation between the breakfast revamp and the influx of positive reviews from guests online. They were even able to track sentiment data surrounding their breakfast to monitor how guests were truly feeling about the changes and if further adjustments were needed.
Evaluation – Social
From a social evaluation standpoint, we can track and analyze the social content we shared to create excitement about our hotel’s implemented changes. We can see how many impressions, likes, and followers we gained, and how well our social ad spend performed if we boosted our post. It’s from this data that we can make adjustments to our social strategy, building on ideas that worked and tweaking those that didn’t.
Travel Media Group: Your Digital Renovation Partner
This is the type of detail and attention our hotels receive when they partner with us as a digital renovation partner. Just like the experts you hire to complete a physical renovation on property, Travel Media Group are the professionals in the hotel digital marketing space. And as we turn the calendar to the new year, we are partnering with more and more hotels and hotel groups to conduct complete makeovers of their online reputation and social strategies.