How citizenM Involves Everyone (…) In Improving Online Reputation
How citizenM Involves Everyone – From Guests to Their Entire Staff – In Improving Online Reputation
An effective reputation management program includes doing everything possible to encourage guests to leave positive reviews, but it also involves creating an internal culture of reputation management. Here, we explore how this process works at citizenM.
Cultivating positive online guest reviews
Encouraging more online guest reviews is a challenge for many hotels, but citizenM uses a system that works very well with their clientele. Each of their three properties receives many more guest reviews than the average hotel.
The company has developed a standardized procedure for use during the checkout process. Like many hotels, citizenM staff, called Ambassadors, ask guests how they enjoyed their stay as they are checking out. If there was any issue, direct communication with a manager is encouraged for prompt resolution. But if the person had a good experience, they are asked to share their thoughts on TripAdvisor.
Unlike many hotels, the invoice is sent automatically by email, providing one more touchpoint and opportunity to ask for a review. This followup reminder significantly increases the reviews received, since many travelers forget to post a review immediately after the stay.
According to Diego Sartori, citizenM’s Social Media and Internet Strategist, the number of the reviews is a result of everything else. “You have to deliver good service and create clear expectations of what people can expect. This is what encourages more reviews. We get people saying, ‘I usually don’t write a review, but my stay at citizenM was so special because you did this specific thing that made me think WOW.’ So that’s why we always try to set the right expectations, deliver excellent service and then surprise guests with something unique.”
Responding to reviews
“We don’t respond every single review” said Diego. “If a guest wants to communicate with you, they will contact you directly.” At the same time, if something is posted that is negative or that requires explanation, the citizenM team makes sure to respond and tell their side of the story. “If someone complains that something doesn’t work – alarm, WiFi, etc – it is important to recognize that, apologize, and give an explanation for what happened. Just as things break in your own house, things will break at a hotel, even though we work hard to prevent from happening.” Effective reputation management requires an understanding of this reality, and the knowledge of how to respond in a satisfactory manner.
Since the citizenM concept is so revolutionary, it is inevitable that sometimes guests arrive that immediately dislike the design. Perhaps they might think the room is too small. Or since the hotel does not offer room service, a guest that wants this may complain when they cannot get it. “We respond and say we created a specific hotel concept that is not for everyone. We are honest with what we offer. Other people will read about our amenities and say, ‘Wow – this is really special!’”
What ultimately happens is that these online reviews act as a self-selecting mechanism that, in the end, only attracts guests that are interested in the brand’s concept. People who are looking for a traditional hotel or with full-service may read reviews and decide citizenM isn’t for them, but it would be good for someone they know. “It happens that many guests who do not choose us still end up ultimately referring our hotels to others.”
Get the full story on Review Pro blog