Truly effective marketing starts with getting to know your guests inside out. It’s about understanding their desires, their pain points, their likes and their dislikes. A great way of getting those kinds of insights is through voice of the customer (VOC) data, a process that involves capturing the thoughts and feedback of customers to improve service levels, communication and marketing strategy.
As a hotel, there are a few well-known ways of getting this kind of information. Surveys, questionnaires and collecting guest feedback during a stay are all reliable sources. But there’s another, arguably more efficient way of finding out what customers really think about you, which in turn can be used to drive marketing efforts.
Of all the sources available to gather customer insights, online reviews are often the most valuable.
TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, OTAs, and social media channels—these are the kind of places that provide the chance to really get inside the heads of your customers. After all, people are pretty honest when they leave online reviews, so you can be pretty sure the information you find is reliable.
And the wealth of insights you find can then be used to really help drive your marketing efforts.
Finding patterns in hotel reviews
When you know what guests like and don’t like about your hotel, it’s a whole lot easier to respond to their needs and market yourself more effectively.
When it comes to guest reviews, you’ll want to start by searching for patterns in customer feedback—that’s the voice of the customer data you’re looking for. Are people raving about the size of your rooms? Do they clearly love the fact you’re minutes away from local bars and restaurants?
Take these enticing benefits (that you know people care about) and use them at the heart of your marketing efforts.
Use them to help create the copy on your websites. Make them the focus of advertising campaigns, especially in search engine marketing. Incorporate them into newsletters and marketing emails. Every marketing platform can be utilized to emphasize the features that guests get excited by.
Not only can this help reel in future customers, it’ll remind previous occupants why they loved staying with so you much in the first place.
Using the actual words of your customers
Guest reviews are also the perfect place to cultivate effective marketing and sales copy—and by that, we mean stealing it. As conversion copywriter Joanna Wiebe explains, “It’s our thievery that makes us powerfully effective copywriters.”
This approach isn’t about merely paraphrasing what customers say; it involves using the exact same words they use, as well as tapping into what they love (and hate) about a certain product or service.
According to Jet Copywriting, you should be mining reviews for such gems as:
- The natural language people use to describe your service or product
- What they love most about your business
- Sensory-focused descriptions
- Specific benefits they talk about
- The adjectives they use most often
- Memorable phrases that stand out
- Problems or pain points they mention
For instance, if you see repeated phrases like “perfect for couples” or “a charming hotel in the country,” use these descriptions verbatim. Short and simple descriptions like these are perfect for headlines on your website or enticing email subject lines.
Now, this is more about cherry-picking catchy words and descriptions, rather than just reprinting huge chunks of text. But recycling language in this way is a great method for creating a more intimate, personal tone of voice.
Using everyday phrases will also come across as more natural and relatable. There’s often greater resonance in simple sentiments like these than there is in slick marketing headlines and descriptions.
Does your marketing fit the voice of the customer?
Voice of the customer data can also help you get a sense of whether your hotel is meeting the expectations of the guest. If the message of your marketing—whether that’s your website, OTA listing, or social media profile—doesn’t match up with the reality of the hotel, that will come through in the reviews.
For example, it would be unwise to say you offer a “calm oasis” if guests frequently mention problems with street noise or a noisy air conditioning unit, or “plush beds” if quite a few people complain about hard mattresses. It creates a disconnect in the marketing message, and people are likely to believe the guest reviewer over a hotel website.
Instead focus on the positive aspects that many guests share. Lots of people mentioning the excellent water pressure in the shower? Might not be the sexiest part of your hotel amenities, but that’s what guests are indicating they love and seek out in hotels. Use it to your advantage!
Transform the way you communicate
Used in the right way, voice of customer data can prove hugely beneficial. By looking for the features and benefits that repeatedly get mentioned in reviews and online feedback, you’ll have the confidence of knowing what drives customer behavior and decision-making.
The process can be a little time-consuming, but the insights it can uncover have the potential to transform the way you communicate with customers.
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