Tuesday was our first Virtual Unconference Panel Discussion. The topic was “Reviews & Reputation”, and included two hostel owners from the US, one from Mexico, and one from Romania.
The discussion was informative, but we decided collectively after it finished that the format wasn’t the best choice. Despite good intentions, it went far longer than necessary. These talks will be recorded for those who couldn’t stream live to watch later. We know nobody has 45 or even 30 minutes to sit and watch a hostel video.
So, for future sessions, these will be broken down even further. Each question will be filmed as a separate short video clip, a couple minutes in length. I will then imbed each of these clips into the blog posts so readers can choose to watch the videos of most relevance to them.
As a current manager and an aspiring hostel owner, I always enjoy learning from others in the industry. Moderating this talk was no different, and I look forward to continuing with hostelmanagement.com's newest feature.
The next talk will be Tuesday, 5 Nov. ’13, at 10:00 PST (18:00 GMT London time). As many areas of the world are slowing down into winter, the topic will be Taking on the Low Season. If you would like to be a panelist and discuss ideas on increasing revenue and atmosphere during a hostel’s low season, please email me at .
Below is a link to the video of the entire first talk. Below that is a summary of most points we talked about. As I said, this video was much longer than future ones will be. Happy viewing!
**UPDATE: Here is a link to the 2nd panel discussion.
“Reviews & Reputation” Points and Highlights
Your reviews strongly set future guests’ expectations. Even guests with the best intentions can be potentially hurting you if they rave about something in a positive review that doesn’t quite match up in reality.
When & how to respond to reviews
• When the review is negative, especially if you can show how you have fixed a problem
• When the review is extra positive, to show appreciation and how you have connected with that guest
• If a staff member is mentioned by name; even better to have that person respond rather than a manager or owner
The biggest point to remember is that your reply to a bad review is not for an unhappy guest, but rather a prospective new guest. You will not win over someone who has already left unhappy, but you can show future guests how you deal with situations and the style of your hostel. It is a mix of damage control, marketing, and showing you care.
Dealing with vendetta reviews
No-show review: Hostelworld will remove them if you cancel them on HW as a no-show.
If you have removed a guest who booked with a third party booking engine, contact the site right away to let them know you had to ask this person to leave. That way if they later try to write a nasty review, it will be on record already that you had to kick them out. If you don’t tell the booking engine this right away, they may think you simply don’t want a bad review.
Do the same thing with anyone who threatens a bad review for whatever reason. No one should have to deal with threats.
Document any unfounded reviews with screen shots before contacting the site, in case they take it off. Always good to have documentation.
Reviews where the comments are glowing and the percentage is opposite have been fixed by Hostelworld. They will turn the review off, and contact the guest. Good idea for you to also contact the guest after contacting HW.
• Signs by the computer
• In house or email surveys
• Extra plus: Allows an unhappy guest to vent directly first before posting anything online. Their online review may then be less negative.
• Personally asking guests who you know are enjoying their stay
Other types of reviews
• Notes or letters scanned and put online
• Even better if you can transcribe the text for google to pick up
• Audio recordings for testimonials
• Word of mouth- give a free tshirt to a leaving guest you know loved the place
Keep following along: Off season marketing panel discussion