Fragile First Impressions: How to Instantly Improve TripAdvisor Scores.
Let’s get it out in the open – most guests who book your hotel first look at TripAdvisor (or a similar site). You probably do it yourself when you travel. So, it’s absolutely critical to take advantage of every opportunity to earn positive guest comments and improve your rankings. This starts with the first point of contact guests have with your hotel, because first impressions disproportionately affect guest comments and rankings.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote: “we don’t always know where our first impressions came from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t often appreciate their fragility”. What is the first impression guests have when calling your hotel?
Some hotels believe there is a “pain threshold” that guests will endure while waiting on hold. Two minutes is a common one – once it reaches two minutes, the call rolls over to a call center, where it rings several times, the guest hears another disclaimer “this call may be recorded, etc.”, and then, in the case of a well-functioning call center, another 20-30 seconds before reaching someone.
Ask yourself: is this the first impression you want to convey? Is it what is needed to rank in top echelon of hotels in TripAdvisor in your market?
Time it yourself. Two or three minutes on hold is an eternity. If your hotel caters to an exclusive clientele that over-values its time, you can imagine the frustration these guests have when finally connected – and the chance for an excellent first impression is lost.
Many hotel owners and General Managers don’t believe that the additional expense associated with the goal of answering ALL reservations calls immediately pencils out. Put aside the intangible “first impressions” argument and how it translates to better TripAdvisor scores for a moment – how many people hang up after being on hold for a minute or so and book with an OTA?
So, do a simple test – for a couple of months, commit enough resources to answer 80% of your reservations calls within twenty seconds (with no pre-planned hold times), and also carefully document call conversion percentage and performance of your reservations team.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results – and your hotel will run much more smoothly, too.