008 | Managing Your Online Reputation with Geordie Wardman

Geordie Wardman is Founder and Chief Conversion Officer of WaveReview.com, a Software as a Service platform that helps businesses improve their online reputations by proactively increasing the frequency and effectiveness of customer interaction.

Over the last several years, he has become an expert in managing your online reputation.

LL08-Geordie_WardmanResources & Links

Recommended Books

[spp-transcript]

[spp-tweet ““Guests who had a bad stayare more motivated to leave a review” ~Geordie Wardman”]

Background

Geordie grew up in Bermuda in a hotelier family. His father and grandfather owned and operated several boutique hotels, so he learned the hotel business from the ground up.  Fast forward to 2007, Geordie started a business in Mexico where he began installing WiFi systems in hotels, and in 2009/2010, he decided to relocate to a beautiful area just outside of Porta Vallarta, Mexico.

[spp-tweet ““Those (Hoteliers/staff) who were the most proactive have the best reputation” ~Geordie Wardman”]

As his hotel WiFi business grew, Geordie began to hear his clients share some of the same challenges over and over again, including guest reviews and online reputation. In an effort to better understand the problem, Geordie made over 200 calls to hoteliers and business owners over a 5 month period. He dove deep into the problems and how to solve them in order to help hoteliers build a positive reputation and stay competitive. From the feedback he received, Geordie created various services to support Hoteliers, including a Software as a Service platform WaveReview.com that helps businesses improve their online reputations through increased customer interaction.

The WaveReview process is simple – each hotel guest receives an automated, 2-question survey after they check out. Guests that had a negative experience are sent an auto-apology, while also being escalated to a manager to resolve before the guest has a chance to complain online. Guests that had a positive experience are redirected to social review sites and encouraged to spread the news about your brand. More positive reviews will boost your online rankings and this will translate into more business.

Although these services are extremely helpful and effective, Geordie believes there are many things Hoteliers can do on their own as well.

Issue with online reputation and steps hoteliers can take

Geordie says there are really 2 types of people who leave reviews: those who had an excellent stay and those who had a bad stay. Those (guests) who had a “bad” stay are more motivated to leave a review. What hoteliers can do to avoid the volume of negative reviews is be sure to check in with guests as much as possible during their stay. Geordie also recommends giving out surveys to obtain accurate feedback. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for those who had a positive experience to leave a review and it is all in the follow up sequence.

A 2009 study conducted by Cornell’s Christopher Anderson revealed that if you increase your rates by one star, you can increase your rates by 10%. Of course, the numbers have doubled since then. But you can see the significance of having an excellent online reputation.

Once again, having a consistent follow up system is everything because it is all about communication and that includes following up with people who leave positive reviews as well as negative reviews. What he discovered was that people left negative reviews because the hotels did not address whatever issue they had. One of the core things he knew he needed to solve within his service was that the right person needed to know about a problem a guest was experiencing before it got online.

[spp-tweet ““Make it as easy as possible for those who had a positive experience to leave a review” ~Geordie Wardman”]

Get guest email addresses

As a hotelier, it’s really important to capture the email addresses of your hotel guests so you can easily communicate with your customers. Then you want to follow up (it’s recommended to follow up after about 2 days). The questions on the survey are simple:

  1. How was the service (Not great/Okay/Excellent)
  2. How likely are you to recommend? (Not likely/Maybe likely/Highly likely)

Then management follows up with all guests to get positive feedback. It also gives Hoteliers the chance to get real feedback from their clientele.

[spp-tweet ““I found that in hospitality you don’t need incentives (to get reviews)” ~Geordie Wardman”]

When a guest feels heard, they will feel valued. Even those with a negative experience will feel a turnaround if a Hotelier provides this opportunity. Simply take even 5 minutes a day to follow up. This is about consistency and being proactive. In just one year, this will make a big difference.

Geordie advises not to use incentives. He experimented with sending free breakfast, or Starbucks gift cards, or 10% off on their next stay in exchange for a review. The feedback received basically conveyed that if someone wants to leave a review, they will. Don’t try to get them to.

[spp-tweet ““Give it a day or 2 before responding to a negative review. Be objective” ~Geordie Wardman”]

ALSO…

Do not use fake reviews! This comes back to bite you. Many people like using Fiverr for this. Platforms like TripAdvisor can read between the lines and they will shut you down. Better to take the slow and steady route and build yourself organically.

How can a hotel respond to a negative review?

Geordie recommends to not get emotional. Give it a day or 2 before responding because you want to be objective. At the same time, you most definitely need to respond to it. Do your research and find out what happened and do it in a way where you share your side. They may even delete their comment if you respond well. It’s ok to have bad reviews as long as you have people in place to follow up and diffuse that with good reviews.

Special Offer for Lodging Metrics Listeners!

Geordie is sharing an offer today just for listening this episode! He is currently running a beta program for only $9 per month … and you can try it FREE for 30 days!

This offer cannot be found on the website! This offer is exclusively for listeners of the Lodging Metrics Podcast. Simply, write an email saying why you liked the podcast: and send it to info@wavereview.com

If you haven’t been doing anything manually, using the service will triple your online review rate! Clients who have used it for 8-9 months have tripled their net profits by 30%.

[spp-tweet ““Bad reviews happens to the best of properties” ~Geordie Wardman”]

Parting advice

Geordie is a big believer in the Compound Effect (book) because it is about showing up and paying attention. Growing your online reputation is about being diligent, getting guest email addresses, and spending 20 minutes every day proactively communicating with your customers and getting honest feedback – it’s the consistent, organic process for getting the results that matter.

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Thanks for Listening!

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Until the next …

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