Your hotel’s Google reviews have a significant impact on your bottom line. Every hotel should have a strategy to win more reviews, hit a higher rating, and earn more money.
Reviews and ratings are about prestige and beating the competition. But they’re also about understanding how your guests think, what they want, and what you could do better. Whether you fall into the “must improve” category or the “must maintain” category, adapting to changing consumer demand and maintaining high standards must be a continual process.
But don’t worry; there are many ways to boost your rating. We’ve put together a list of creative tips and solutions to help you improve or maintain your hotel’s Google reviews.
What Are Google Reviews & Why Are They Important for Hotels?
Google reviews are customer reviews and ratings that appear on a business’s Google My Business (GMB) listing. They allow your guests to share their experiences and provide feedback, good or bad.
To put it simply: Your Google reviews have never been so important. Google accounts for 73% of all online reviews. And 93% of users, according to Podium, have made buying decisions based on an online review.
Great Google reviews could mean the difference between your hotel making money or losing money. In fact, according to Invesp, 86% of users will think twice before buying from a business with negative reviews.
If your property is not yet set up on Google, don’t panic. It’s easy (and free!). If you’re already listed, feel free to skip this section.
You need to begin by creating a Google My Business account. In some instances, your property may have already been set up on Google by a third party, which means all you have to do is claim it. Otherwise, you can create one from scratch.
You’ll need to enter things like your:
Then, voila! You’re ready to receive reviews.
Once you’re up and going, there are many ways to customize your profile. Add pictures, amenities, and a detailed description of your property. The more you can add, the better.
10 Steps To Earn Better Hotel Google Reviews
Driving the best possible reviews for your hotel isn't as complicated as you might think. By following the 10 simple steps below, you'll ensure that you're making the absolute most of your Google reviews profile.
1. Just Ask
Don’t be too offended if a guest doesn’t leave a review even after having an awesome time. Only 22% of hotel guests, according to SalesCycle, will leave a review of their own accord. But should a hotel request a review, that figure shoots up to 80%.
If you’re not sure what works best for your hotel, test. Find out which medium works, then make it best practice.
2. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
It’s a fact: Your hotel’s guest experience and guest satisfaction influence the quality of your Google reviews. And with customer service playing such a big role in the happiness of your guests, it should be your number one priority.
First, assess your current level of customer service. How do staff members respond to complaints? When guests walk into your hotel, are they met with smiles and positivity or are they ignored? Most importantly, do you think your guests feel cared for and valued, or disappointed?
Once you’ve got a good idea of your hotel’s strengths and weaknesses, you can get to work. Whether it’s better staff training, implementing new technology, or improved amenities, make a plan and stick to it.
If you want to go a step further, look for creative ways to surprise and delight your guests. In-room snacks, complimentary beverages, or a personalized touch are all great ways to knock their socks off.
3. Capture More Reviews With Canary Contactless Checkout
Speaking of customer service, guests love a speedy checkout. You might be thinking: We already have express checkout. Guests can skip the queue and drop their room keys in a box.
While that’s a good start, you’re missing an opportunity to ask for a Google review.
Using technology like Canary Contactless Checkout, you can guide your happiest guests to leave a review on Tripadvisor or Google using a brief, customizable survey. In fact, contactless checkout increases 5-star reviews by up to 350%.
Contactless technology also helps you upsell by giving guests the option to purchase a late checkout.
“We love [Canary Contactless Checkout] overall, but it's really helped with our Google Reviews! Before using Canary, we were at a 3.5 rating. Since using the Canary platform, our score has increased to a 4.6!”
- Sam Chesick, Assistant Director of Operations at Ali’i Resorts
Optimizing your Google My Business listing is an easy win. So you’d be surprised how many businesses neglect it. If you’ve got the basics down, like name, address, and description — great. But that’s just the start.
Here are a few clever ways you can optimize your Google My Business profile for more — and better — Google reviews:
Utilize keywords: Make it easy for potential customers and guests to find you when they search for related products and services.
Update regularly: Post new room options, events, or promotions to keep your listing fresh and attractive. You can even do this using Google Posts.
Use high-quality photos: Give your potential guests a good idea of what they’re about to purchase. Make sure your photos represent your property well.
Leverage Google Q&A: Encourage customers to ask questions using Google Q&A and respond promptly. Who knows? A guest may just book with you based on your response.
5. Use Technology To Augment the Guest Experience
Hotel technology has the potential to make a guest’s stay more convenient, enjoyable, and memorable. And that’s good news for your hotel! There are hundreds — if not thousands — of tech options out there that can help you improve the guest experience and drive better Google reviews. Here are a few ideas:
Guest messaging: Increase guest satisfaction, staff efficiency, and revenue with guest messaging technology. Enabling simpler communication for your guests means you can catch complaints before they become negative reviews. It’s also a great way to make guests feel listened to and cared for.
Interactive mirrors: This is a cool one. Interactive mirrors can offer guests information on local weather, news, or room service options. They are a great way to wow your guests and make their stay a memorable one.
Contactless check-in and checkout: Let’s face it. Check-in and checkout are pretty monotonous processes for both staff and guests. Give guests the option to get on with their day by allowing them to check-in or out on their cell phones.
Room controls: Let your guests control their room temperature, television, curtains, or lighting using a mobile app or in-room tablet. Hilton, for example, enables guests to do this through their Hilton Honors app. “The availability of in-app controls is the next step in allowing guests to manage all aspects of their stay from the palm of their hands,” says Jon Witter, former chief customer officer at Hilton.
Room service robots: Room service robots are a thing, believe it or not. They’ll impress your guests but they’ll also alleviate your workforce’s workload and stress. InterContinental Group's Crowne Plaza San Jose - Silicon Valley, for example, uses a robot called Dash who was created by AI entrepreneur Savioke. Dash can operate elevators and communicate with guests via a touch screen.
6. Listen Closely to Feedback
One of the best things you can do when it comes to Google reviews is to analyze them regularly. If you read every review, good and bad, you’ll identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement.
Reading feedback will help you make timely, well-informed decisions that improve your guest experience. Once upon a time, guests started to complain when hotels didn’t provide Wi-Fi (difficult to imagine nowadays, isn’t it?). The hotels that recognized they were lagging behind their competitors by not installing Wi-Fi, would have done better than those who didn’t.
Should a guest discover you listened to their feedback and made a change, they’ll be impressed. But making changes based on reviews will also positively impact future guests and result in even better overall feedback and reviews.
7. Personalize the Guest Experience
When it comes to exceptional customer service, personalization is now an expectation. Rise above your competitors by making your guests feel special and remembered. Here are a few ways you can personalize your customer service:
Address your guests personally: Have your staff address guests by name. Eye contact, open body language, and a warm smile go a long way too.
Highlight special occasions: Guests will be delighted if you remember it’s their birthday or anniversary. Congratulate and surprise them with a complimentary cocktail or dessert.
Reach out post-stay: Write to guests now and again to congratulate them on special occasions, or make them aware of offers you think they would appreciate.
Add value: We all love getting things for free, so why not offer your guests a range of complimentary amenities such as a robe, coffee machine, snacks, or high-end toiletries?
8. Address Negative Feedback
The way a hotel responds to Google reviews says a lot about their professionalism and dedication to good customer service. It might also be a deciding factor as to whether a guest books a stay with you.
It’s important to respond to every single review. For good reviews, let them know that feedback is appreciated and that you hope they come to stay again.
When it comes to negative reviews, a little bit of strategy goes a long way. Some businesses dodge accountability and even blame the customer. But the best thing you can do is apologize and make it clear that you’ve taken their complaint onboard.
For extra points, reach out via email and offer the guest a complimentary stay, meal, or spa voucher, depending on the severity of the complaint. You could also drop them a line to let them know you made some changes based on their feedback. You never know: They might be tempted to return.
9. Foster a Positive Work Environment
The happiness of your staff directly impacts the happiness of your guests. It’s not difficult to recognize when a member of staff is bored or unhappy, and this can be detrimental to your guest experience.
Get the most out of your staff by fostering a positive and supportive working environment. Make it clear that you value your staff just as much as you value your guests and you’ll soon see a change in demeanor.
There are a few ways to increase staff happiness, including:
Clear expectations & goals: When your employees have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, they’re more likely to feel confident and motivated.
Fair compensation & benefits: Make your employees feel valued by providing a fair compensation and benefits package. Digital tipping technology is a great way to increase staff compensation without hurting your bottom line. Canary’s Digital Tipping solution increases staff tips by 5X.
Open communication: An open and transparent culture ensures that toxicity has little room to grow. When your staff feel comfortable voicing their thoughts and concerns, your workplace becomes a place of trust and community.
Professional development opportunities: Provide your employees with professional development opportunities to help them feel fulfilled.
Recognition & rewards: Boost morale and job satisfaction by recognizing your employees for the good work they do.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are step-by-step instructions for an activity or process at your hotel. These documents don’t just enforce policy, they ensure consistency and quality across departments. And the right approach to hotel SOPs can also help you improve your Google reviews.
Updated, high-quality SOPs within each department mean guests will receive the same level of customer service and quality, day or night. Updating or creating SOPs can be a time-consuming task, so plan ahead and prioritize. For example, which departments, tasks or processes would benefit most?
Frequently reviewing and improving your hotel’s SOPs as technology and consumer demands change will help you improve hotel operations and enhance the guest experience.
Don’t underestimate the power of Google reviews when it comes to your hotel’s performance. Great reviews could make a big difference to your customer satisfaction and bottom line.
Guests rely on the experiences of fellow travelers more than ever before, which means every guest counts. Even one or two bad reviews are enough to send a prospect to a competitor. Get better reviews by improving the guest experience, responding to reviews, and implementing the right solutions and technology.
If you’re thinking “where do I even begin?”, start with your existing reviews. Analyze, find patterns, look for critiques, and then decide on strategies and solutions.
14 Easy Ways to Personalize the Hotel Guest Experience
Personalizing your guest experience is a sure way to delight guests, encourage positive reviews, and bring them back again and again. Personalization doesn’t have to be difficult. It just needs to be done right.