Companies operating in the travel and tourism industry can live or die based off of their online reputation. For this reason, a reputation management strategy is crucial, and reputation management software can play a major role in achieving sustainable business success. Here, you will find out more about the importance of a good reputation, the value of high-quality reputation software packages, and the main features you should look out for.

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Understanding the Word ‘Reputation’

A simple definition of the word ‘reputation’ is the general beliefs or views that people have about something or someone. Essentially, all of the different opinions that exist combine to form a reputation. Individuals can have reputations, as can organisations and other entities, including travel industry companies.

This means that a reputation can be thought of as the net result of how customers and others feel about your business or brand. For instance, a corporate travel management company may develop a reputation for delivering excellent savings for its clients, or a hotel may develop a reputation for the quality of its customer service.

Reputations can be positive, negative or neutral and the concept is quite complex. For example, businesses in operating tourism may have positive reputations for some elements of what they offer, and negative reputations for others. It is also crucial to understand that reputations are based on opinions, and these do not necessarily have to be true or based on facts. Your overall reputation can, however, significantly influence customers’ buying decisions.

The Importance of Reputation Management

Did you know that more than nine out of ten modern shoppers say they read online reviews prior to making purchase? This single statistic, published by G2, highlights precisely why reputation management is important, because it shows the extent to which customers rely on each other to help make their purchasing decisions.

The various statistics compiled by G2 also highlight the fact that 93 percent of local consumers turn to reviews when trying to determine whether a business is good or bad. Furthermore, 72 percent of customers will not take action – in terms of making a purchase or booking – until they have read a sufficient number of reviews.

Good reviews and a positive overall reputation can provide customers with the certainty they need to do business with your travel company, and can also help them to pick your business over a rival. Moreover, customers actually spend 31 percent more when a business has positive reviews. Therefore, not only can your reputation increase the number of customers you attract, it can help to increase the value that each of those customers offers you.

What is Reputation Management Software?

Reputation management software allows businesses and brands to manage customer reviews and other feedback from a single place. This means having the opportunity to not only view feedback and be alerted to new reviews, but also the ability to respond to customers, amplify positive feedback and limit the damage from negative reviews.

While the concept of reputation management itself is extremely valuable, it can be time-consuming and difficult to keep on top of. Reputation management software helps with this by automating certain tasks. The centralised nature of the software also cuts out the time taken to switch between different review platforms.

Which Travel Industry Companies Should Use Reputation Software?

Reputation management software can be beneficial for almost any modern business operating within the travel and tourism industry, although it is especially important for companies where online reputation can have a significant bearing on how customers behave and whether or not they wish to do business with you.

Some of the main examples of businesses that fall within this category include: hotels, airlines, car rental services, tour operators, travel agents, corporate travel management companies, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

What Are the Benefits of Reputation Management Software?

Reputation management software can be advantageous for travel and tourism industry companies for a number of reasons. Below, you will find four of the main benefits of using software solutions of this kind:

1. Increase Sales or Bookings

With travellers placing a high value on the thoughts and feedback of other travel industry customers, it could be argued that the main benefit of reputation management software is the ability to generate more sales or bookings. This occurs because successful reputation management encourages others to trust in your business.

The software can be used to increase the reach of positive feedback, provide counterpoints to any negative feedback, and build a reputation for delivering great products, services or experiences.

2. Learn From Customer Feedback

It is important to understand that reviews and other forms of feedback are not simply something to manage, but also something to engage with. When you receive criticism, you need to avoid trying to brush it under the carpet, because the complaints or negative views may actually raise some valid points, or bring things to your attention.

Using reputation software, you can also find trends within the negative feedback and respond to complaints that are raised repeatedly. This allows you to actually learn lessons and make subsequent improvements.

3. Establish Credibility and Trust

By taking the time to engage with feedback, respond to it and manage your reputation, you can help to establish your travel company as being reputable and credible. For example, responding to feedback appropriately and respectfully, with a human touch, will help to build a sense of trust among those who read what you write.

Clearly, the more positive feedback potential customers see, the better. However, trust can also be established by facing up to a problem honestly, or accepting constructive feedback and showing that you have acted on what was said.

4. Keep Your Employees Happy

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of using reputation management software is the ability to keep your own employees happy and instil a feeling of pride within the workforce. As a general rule, people do not want to work for a business that has developed a poor reputation, because it will mean their own efforts are less well respected.

By managing your reputation effectively, you may also find it easier to hire new staff as well.

What Features Should Reputation Management Software Have?

There are a number of reputation management software solutions available, and it can be difficult to know which to opt for. To make the decision easier, you will find information about the most important features to look out for below:

1. Aggregation of Reviews

Travel companies may find their products, services or experiences reviewed across a range of platforms, from online travel agents like Expedia and, through to the likes of Google, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Facebook, and even newspaper websites. Your software solution should allow you to manage all of this feedback from a single location and take actions across platforms, so that you can truly look after your online reputation.

2. Real-Time Alerts

Actually keeping on top of your reputation can be tough, because each new review can have an impact, and manually checking the various platforms can be extremely time consuming. A great way in which reputation management software can assist with this is through the inclusion of real-time alerts. Try to find software that will send you notifications as and when new reviews come in. This will allow you to stay up-to-date and respond swiftly.

3. Review Management Options

It is also important that your software solution actually allows you to manage online reviews effectively. To achieve this, your chosen application should clearly display customer reviews, allow you to move from one review to another quickly, and include options for replying to customer comments. Other desirable features may include the option to highlight specific reviews, and the ability to offer discount codes or other bonuses to reviewers.

4. Whole Company Management

Many travel companies own a series of chains, multiple locations, or various subsidiaries and this can potentially complicate reputation management efforts. Yet, with high-quality reputation management software, it should be possible to view insights for all of the managed properties, branches or chains. This can allow for management of reputation on a case-by-case basis, but also for management of the wider company reputation as well.

5. Performance Reporting

Next, it is essential that your chosen reputation management software offers performance reporting, so that you can get a clear idea of how well your efforts are working. There are a number of different key performance indicators (KPIs) that may be relevant to your reputation, including an overall metric showing your average review score. The best software solutions will also present this information in a way that makes it easy to share with others.

6. Language Analysis

It is one thing to be able to access the various reviews that have been left about your company, but true online reputation management requires a deeper understanding of these reviews. Try to find a software solution that offers some kind of language or review analysis, allowing you to actually identify some of the key words and phrases that are repeatedly used. This can make it far easier to understand what is being said, why, and how frequently.

7. Insights Into Competitors

Lastly, it can be argued that a reputation has little meaning in isolation and only really gains meaning when it is viewed in comparison to rivals and others operating in the same industry. With this in mind, great reputation software will provide insights into the reputations of other companies in your field, allow you to make direct comparisons between your business and these competitors, and enable you to view your own performance within this wider context.

Review Management Tips for Travel Companies

With the importance of managing your reputation clearly established, you may now be wondering about some of the concrete actions you can take to improve your online reputation. In addition, you may also be curious about some of the ways that reputation management software can actually assist with this.

In the article “Review Management Tips for Travel Companies to Manage Online Reviews”, you will learn about some of the specific steps you can take to actually manage online reviews and improve your online reputation.

Given the high value that many modern customers place on online reviews and company reputations, it is increasingly important that businesses adopt a comprehensive reputation management strategy. To do this effectively, it is also necessary to make use of reputation management software that offers the key features outlined in this article.

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