Lodging Interactive has launched an online reputation management service, designed to help hoteliers track comments made about their business on social networking websites.
Lodging Interactive vice president Richard Walsh says recent market research shows more than 40% of guests will visit a social website or blog to read comments and reviews before thy book their accommodation.
This can cause problems for business owners as once the comments are online, they are there indefinitely.
The service, Chatter Guard, will help hotels sift through the thousands of reviews posted each day on thousands of websites to find one directly relevant to their hotel. They will then be able to respond in a timely and relevant manner, to minimise the potential damage to their reputation.
Mr Walsh says ‘word of mouth’ spreads much further on the internet than by traditional methods, and it will affect a hotel’s business, regardless of whether it is accurate or not.
“It is defiantly important that you manage your online reputation and that is done by being responsive to any type of online chatter,” he says.
“The social media websites and blogs are replacing the office water cooler. They are where people are finding out about travel services and deciding which service they will purchase and which ones they will not.”
By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh