As Steve Kaufer CEO of Tripadvisor mentioned in his recent letter (see below) to hotel owners and managers that there are a number of companies in the market place that are promoting to hotels, offering you lots of fake positive reviews on Tripadvisor instantly, without contacting a single original guest.
Companies like Tripadvisor are now actively clamping down on this type of activity called “Reputation Optimization”. This could lead to your account being suspended by Tripadvisor and other sites. In order to help you spot one of these dodgy companies, I have come up with these 3 questions that you should ask them:-
1.Will your company get my hotel higher up the Trip Advisor listings?
The answer is no. The only way to improve your rating on Tripadvisor is by your staff & marketing team being proactive, and asking your clients who have stayed at your hotel to write a review on their stay. What you can do is direct your guests to leave their reviews on Tripadvisor and Google. This can be simplified by using feedback pages and auto responders. By organically growing the quantity & quality of reviews to Tripadvisor & Google, you can improve your rankings and visibility. Ranking well on Google and Tripadvisor will help you get more bookings, as both of these channels allow guests to make reservations. This is how reputable companies like Hotelient help their customers.
2. How much will you charge me for each positive review to bump up my Trip Advisor rating?
You should NOT be charged for positive reviews. Every review you receive should be from a genuine hotel guest. When someone leaves your hotel a great review on Tripadvisor or Google, it is because your team has worked hard to earn it! What hotels should be doing is shouting a bit louder about their great feedback. Reviews should be posted on your Web Pages, social media networks. Smarter hotels use companies like Hotelient to create review commercials for them to share on You Tube, social media etc.. Telling the world how great your hotel is, and by using creative ways to spread the word about your great reviews will result in you attracting more customers to your hotel.
3.Is there any way I can get into trouble for engaging you to artificially bump up my reviews?
The answer is YES! Review sites like Tripadvisor will take the strongest action possible against you and the company you have paid for false reviews. Your hotel could be suspended by Tripadvisor and other sites which will have a detrimental affect on your hotel. If Tripadvisor see that you suddenly have an abnormal amount of positive reviews over a short period of time, alarm bells will start to ring and they will investigate whether the reviews are genuine or not. If your reviews are legitimate then you have nothing to worry about, but is they find your reviews come from an IP address in an unusual location for instance..then you’re in trouble!! Best practise is to implement a process to get a review from every single guest that stays at your hotel.
Your hotels Reputation online is extremely important to increasing RevPar and continued guest satisfaction.
Companies like Hotelient firstname.lastname@example.org, that offer Reputation Management & Marketing solutions will provide your hotel with feedback pages, auto responder’s and other tools targeted at your guests to encourage them to leave genuine reviews and feedback. This is the way to do it!! Be very careful that you do not engage with a company offering you fast solutions by providing fake reviews, it could end up costing you very dearly and your hotel may not recover from a suspension on Tripadvisor and other social media outlets. Genuine reviews from genuine guests obtained by the hotel through their own feedback system supplied by a reputable Reputation Management and Marketing company is the key to success.