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Implications of the New Google Local and Hotel Reviews Management

With the new Google Local results, review management is now even more critical

Google is making local results very user friendly by highlighting hotel reviews on the front page:

  • Local Results are highlighted on the first search results page and are now more visually obvious than general search results;
  • Local listings are beginning to pull up reviews on the front page;
  • More opportunities for a searcher to visit something other than the business website – like UGC review sites – leading to potentially fewer visits to the hotel website.
Hotel Reviews using Google Local search

Hotel Reviews using Google Local search

Implications for the Hospitality industry:

Review highlights on Google Local are good news for those hotels that have great customer reviews, but not so for those with fewer quality reviews.

Reputation and review management is now more important in the reality defined by this new SERP. If the clients are on top of their review management game, they will stand to benefit from the new Local SERPs.

More on why Hotels should manage their reviews

Review sites and other social media are essential tools for many travelers making buying decisions. According to marketing firm Cone’s 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, more than 80% of the new media users surveyed believed:

  • Businesses should use social media and review sites to interact with consumers;
  • Hotels with presence in the new media have a better image;
  • Hotels which engage and demonstrate that they are listening to the customers have a positive reputation and cultivate long term brand loyalists.

Top Tips for Hotels when Replying to Reviews:

  1. A quick response time: Shows the hotel is listening to feedback and leaves a good impression.
  2. Professional tone always: Follow the rules of customer care – polite and courteous – because you are reaching an audience of thousands of viewers.
  3. Avoid jargon: Don’t use ALL CAPS, HTML tags or unnecessary typographic symbols.
  4. Focus on positive changes and updates: This shows that the hotel takes customer feedback seriously, plus it’s a good opportunity to showcase new features.
  5. Respect individual privacy: The response shouldn’t have any names, addresses or phone numbers of any reviewer or any individual.
  6. Be Authentic: Avoid stock responses. Customers appreciate a customized response pertaining to their situation.
  7. Appreciate positive reviews: A thank you and appreciation for good reviews will build goodwill for the Hotel which goes a long way. Remember that you are reaching an audience of thousands with your responses.

Contributed by Manisha Kumar, Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc


2 Responses to “ Implications of the New Google Local and Hotel Reviews Management ”

Just wondering, how does Google figure out who’s reviews to list first? It doesn’t look like ranking strictly by # of reviews from a specific travel website(I just searched our hotel in Petaluma).
And how does this new local results affect Google Universal search where all online sites pertaining to that particular hotel is served up?

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for the question. Google pulls the review algorithmically from the main UGC review sites- Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Yelp etc, in the case of the Hotel industry. Hence, it would make sense for hoteliers to manage reviews on the main UGC sites. Google’s efforts to make Local user friendly seem to be spilling over into the Universal Search results as well. Most of the top search results for a particular hotel are coming from UGC travel or review related sites.

-Manisha


Tips on Developing and Promoting Hotels on the Internet