Using Finesse is Key in Managing Hospitality Industry Brand Reputations

  week 11 image

These “Sample Post” responses have been developed as part of an academic assignment and purely for instructional purposes only.

Maintaining a brand’s reputation is one of the most important and valued components for communication and public relation professionals.  Many would consider it the crux of brand management.  During the pre-Facebook era, companies weren’t so concerned about the few comments posted about them on the Internet.  Reputation management is now a critically integral cog in brand awareness wheels, especially with feedback and comments abounding on multiple social media channels.

According to Hotel News Now (Rauch, 2015), “Hospitality is no longer an art. It is a science, and reputation management is the proof. Reputation management has become a strategic part of our business efforts, and it is an integral part of our operations, sales and marketing efforts. It is about more than just occasionally responding to complaints; it is about creating guest engagement, increasing credibility and monetizing the interaction. There are millions of reviews written each day across a myriad of different platforms. The Web has the power to influence one’s decision-making process, and being able to manage our business’ reputation will determine our success or failure. It is also important to understand the different platforms, the role they play in the decision-making process and the tools that have been created to help us manage the overwhelming number of review sites.”

Sample Response #1

11 week Hilton-example-2015

Dear valued guest from Florida,

Your high school reunion weekend should have been a wonderful experience and we apologize that it was marred by a less than desirable stay at our hotel. We would first like to thank you for bringing your appreciated feedback to our attention so we are informed of areas that need improving. I contacted our Fort Lauderdale property manager today to inquire about the unacceptable matters you mentioned and what changes are planned.

The manager is hiring a contractor today to construct a sun shield to the parking lot gate box. Our operations department will be contacting all our southern properties that have similar security devices to ensure measures are in place to deter touching hot surfaces.

The hotel maintenance staff is assessing every room for proper shower door closure as well as water temperature. Our manager is also meeting today with the head of housekeeping to address the slow service including random daily inspections that will begin this week.

New bed frames and mattresses are slated to be replaced at the hotel in May.

We also want to make sure that you are never in a situation like this again and encourage you to call the front desk and ask for the manager of any of our properties anytime you feel something needs their attention.

We highly value your patronage and I would love the opportunity to talk to you in person to extend a most heartfelt apology and to ensure that you are satisfied with our response.  Please call me at your convenience at 1 (800) 555-5000.

Sincerely,

Sylvia G.

Hotel Representative

Sample Response #2 

11 week Hyatt-example2015

Dear valued guest from New York,

First of all, thank you so much for being a repeat visitor and for your wonderful comments about our beautiful new Hyatt Regency facility, relaxing spa and courteous staff who gave you great service during your recent stay at our property.

What does concern us is that your experience wasn’t as outstanding as it should have been. I called the manager today to ask her about some of your less than stellar experiences.  She apologizes that your view was not what you were expecting but said that can happen on the occasion that the hotel is at peak capacity. In the future, we recommend inquiring as to all the available options that the hotel desk clerk will gladly present you before assigning a room.

The manager also mentioned that even though they are in the tropical storm belt, their maintenance staff should have ensured the pool was free of debris prior to guest use. If in the future you are ever in a similar situation, please use one of the closest courtesy phones to contact the front desk for immediate action.

Parking garages in most heavily populated areas do require fees and fluctuate depending upon the area standard charges (NY $75; Washington, DC $26). As you mentioned, your car is secure while in the garage and we do have many shuttle service options. There is a parking special with fees paid with a mid-size rental car. For more information contact the concierge by calling (407) 284-1234 extension 54090 or by emailing them at hyorl@expedia.com.

We are so delighted that you enjoyed your late-night dining experience at B-Line.  They are renowned for their desserts and recommend trying their homemade milkshakes, cakes, and cupcakes.  Our Fiorenzo is extremely popular and I talked to the maître de who said that sometimes reservations do lag a bit when customer turnover is slower than expected. He offered a couple of time constraint options such as dining in the bar area with their full restaurant menu, or he could call their other popular restaurant onsite for table availability, Urban Tide, which features the best Florida seafood and coastal cuisine, as well as a distinct collection of craft beers and fine wines.

We highly value your patronage and I would love the opportunity to talk to you in person to extend a most heartfelt apology and to ensure that you are satisfied with our response.  Please call me at your convenience at 1 (800) 555-5000.

Most sincerely,

Sylvia G.

Hotel Representative

week 11 reputation-management-or-damage-control

The future of hospitality brand management

“We tend to focus exclusively on TripAdvisor, Yelp and Facebook reviews. While these are important to the industry, Flip.to is taking a new approach to reputation management by engaging future guests in social media conversations. Flip.to allows hoteliers to connect with guests from the moment they make a reservation, and to create a unique experience upon arrival. By connecting with the hotel, guests are able to share with their friends and family about their upcoming trip. Flip.to then creates a custom experience for their social media connections that can help lead to future bookings. One of the game changers about Flip.to is that it allows us to monetize the social media conversations, an important differentiator given that cost-benefit analysis has been difficult to ascertain for social media efforts. For hoteliers to use reputation management effectively, we need to have a presence on the sites by responding to reviews and reassuring the guests that we are actively listening to their feedback. Sometimes, the guest just wants to be heard and to have a voice; acknowledging the voice can be the best way to promote our properties. But acknowledging the voice and increasing bookings at the same time is a direct benefit to all parties involved.” (Rauch, 2015)

“Investment in online reputation management by hotels is expected to increase by 60% this year. The latest TripBarometer report, captured from a survey of thousands of hotels around the world, found that ensuring how a property’s online presence is managed is likely to receive the most injection of financial support this year, with online reviews considered the most important area of a business.” (May, 2015). Reputation Management Cited as Key Investment Trend for Hotels.

References

May, K. (March 2, 2015). Reputation Management Cited as Key Investment Trend for Hotels.

Rauch, R. (March 6, 2015). Make reputation management a top priority.

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