eWOM rules hotel marketing

Reputation management
Gondos Kitti

The customer’s voice is a powerful one –  never underestimate it.

Hotel eWOM – WOM refers to word of mouth – a classic, yet impactful element

What is WOM? The things your customers say about your hotel (good and bad). Why is it important? Because customers trust other customers.

The tourism industry, especially the hotel industry, is dramatically influenced by electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM). Hotel WOM and eWOM will forever be a key player in the reputation of your business

Advances in information technology have led to changes in communication methods and consumer habits. These changes have affected the customer behavior and their purchasing decisions dramatically. To evaluate hotel alternatives, travelers seek information from sources such as travel agents, families and friends which are known as Word-of-Mouth. 

Since the advent of the internet, eWOM has spread faster and wider. Hotel eWOM can reach hundreds to thousands of people. It has a powerful impact on customers’ decision making process. Travelers review the advice of other travelers from online sources such as blogs, forums and review sites. 

Positive eWOM is one of the major factors that leads to increase customer purchase intention. It helps them to reduce risk along with buying services. From the company perspective, positive eWOM helps hotels to create a positive image.

What motivates people to publish eWOM? 

One of the main motivators is positive customer experience. It is getting more and more common for hotels to try to provide an unique and multidimensional experience for their guests to affect their behavior intentions. It is important to hotel managers to understand which types of hotel experiences motivate customers to publish positive eWOM.

Hotel guests are likely to trigger positive eWOM when they receive fast information and service. Availability of information and products and also entertaining hotel environment motivate customers to disseminate positive eWOM in effort to help the hotel company and other customers. Providing an entertaining hotel area combined with more sensory stimulating items may encourage customers to share their good experiences with others. 

An enjoyable hotel experience with fast and excellent service provided by the hotel company motivates customers to publish their positive experiences in an online environment. Hotel companies should train their staff and also improve their online services to make the delivery of service to customers easy and fast. 

How do you measure WOM and eWOM and how do you influence your online reputation?

Traditional WOM can be difficult to measure, this form of hotel WOM is transmitted via private conversations. There is a trail, you just don’t always know who or where it came from.

That is why it is so important to understand how your guest feels about you before they leave your property.

Verbal hotel WOM starts from inside your doors – rectify negative spread, before it happens

Before they check out, ask them how their stay with you was. If it turns out that they had a negative experience, take immediate action to rectify the situation. Talk through the problem, solve their concern, provide a voucher for their next stay, make them happy – whatever you do, do it before they leave. Because once the guest is out the doors, it’s too late.

On the other hand, if your guest has had a great stay with you, encourage them to share this with friends and family. This will help create a chain effect of positive hotel WOM.

Similar to verbal hotel WOM, you should always consider the pre-emptive influence you can make by rectifying negative eWOM before it happens. But there are also many other approaches you can take with eWOM that you can’t with traditional WOM.

eWOM is publicly available – keep track of it and respond 

Electronic WOM essentially incorporates all reviews and opinions related to your hotel in the online world – TripAdvisor reviews, public conversations between guests and friends on social media accounts, and so on.

The majority of eWOM is public, which means that you are able to respond to and rectify negativity – minimizing the negative impact.

Be prepared – comments are coming

It is time to rise and shine. Your online reputation depends on your reaction to eWOM. Answering your reviews and comments forms the picture of your hotel. It reflects your brand, your personality, and strengthens the possible engagement with future guests. Everything depends on you. And we are here to help you. 

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