Using Social Media and Review Analytics to Guide Marketing Strategy

by Josiah Mackenzie (in collaboration with Martin Soler of WIHP.)

While online reviews understandably receive a lot of attention in the hotel industry from a reputation management perspective, there is another use that is equally important: setting the direction of your marketing and advertising campaigns.

The attention devoted to online reputation management for hotels has been remarkable this year. Hotel consultants and agencies are educating hoteliers to encourage guests to share their experience online, and to craft a proper management response to a review. There’s good reason for this focus: The e-tailing group found that 89% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decision. This change in the competitive environment has forced many hotels to review their quality as expressed in online reviews, and as measured using satisfaction benchmarking metrics such as the ReviewPro Global Review IndexTM.

Yet the review analytics used for reputation management play a much broader role when it comes to marketing. They can guide the direction for your hotels’ marketing strategies.

Successful marketing starts when marketers know how the customers perceive the product and then change, improve or replace that perception with the one customers want most.

This is where an analysis of guest feedback online will set the cornerstone for your marketing strategy. A careful study of a hotel’s online reviews will reveal exactly what guests like and don’t like. With this information, you can now know what to avoid and what promote.

Here’s an example semantic analysis report from a popular New York City hotel:

As you can see, quality, location, views, and the bar are all parts of this hotels’ experience that guests talk about positively. These elements should be present in all marketing communications and mentioned over and over again in the advertising copy. Meanwhile, we can see that price is something that comes up as negative. This typically happens when the hotel is giving the impression of having great value, but guests do not perceive it that way. This hotel could increase the effectiveness of their communications by focusing on promoting these elements guests appreciate most, and guide the customer perception of the hotel before the booking. Promoting these attributes of the hotel through advertising will likely lead to an even better online reputation, since it will help attract guests that appreciate what your brand does best.

An example from ReviewPro:

Apex Hotels is one of the most successful urban hotel brands in the UK, and has made semantic analysis a fundamental part of determining their marketing strategy. “It enables us to instantly understand our unique selling propositions – from the guests’ perspective,” said ecommerce executive Amy Spark. For example, the team realized their location is much more important to guests than their food offerings, so they played this aspect up in their collateral. The results were impressive. “Semantic analysis ensures we are connecting with our audience, and communicates what they are looking for.”

There is more to review analytics than reputation management. Review analytics are a vital tool for guiding marketing messages to reflect what guests appreciate most about your hotels, and avoid topics that guests don’t care about or aren’t interested in.

Make an effort to understand what your guests are saying about you, combine that with your marketing research, and you’ll have a formula for powerful promotions.

Get the full story on ReviewPro

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Posted on September 19, 2011, in Hospitality Digital Marketing Services and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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