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Are Reputation Management Services Worth It?

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Posted by Alex Gaggioli
March 24, 2016

Introduction:

Reputation management is important for every hotel to embrace. We’ve written several posts to help hoteliers like you get the most out of their online reviews. It’s a full-time task to keep up with online reviews. Thankfully, there are several services that will help you handle your online presence. We will explore what these services offer, as well as show how to manage your own reviews on each site.

Quick Recap: Why You Should Respond to Reviews

Online-reviews

We wrote an in-depth post on how and why to respond to negative reviews that you should check out. It’s important to respond to all your posts, both positive and negative. You should give precedence to negative reviews and respond within 24 hours. Quick responses decrease potential damage and show guests you are listening. It’s key to know when and where your guests talk about your property. Check out our other post to get a more in-depth look at how and why you should respond.

Reputation Management Agencies vs. Reputation Management Software

Reputation management software companies and reputation management agencies are different. Agencies aggressively monitor your online presence and proactively fix issues. Agencies work for properties who want someone else to do all the work. For properties who want to do it themselves, software companies will give them the tools to manage their online presence.

Reputation Management Agencies

There are many companies that can help your property manage your online reviews. Agencies will represent your brand online and take care of the day-to-day work. Most agencies will monitor, respond, and flag online reviews as they find necessary. Their number one goal is to present the most positive online presence to guests searching for a property.

Some people have accused reputation management agencies of using black-hat SEO strategies to win. These companies typically use SEO to bury negative reviews. This then brings new, positive reviews to the top of search results. There are many ways to bury negative reviews, ethically and responsibly. But, SEO takes time and patience.

A link farm is a group of sites that all link back to one another, creating the false impression that many people have shared your link on another site.

Comment spam is fairly easy to understand because everyone has experienced it. Bots will scan websites and leave comments with links to give the false impression that their content is valuable.

Backlinks to website networks are also a common tactic. They publish keyword optimized content that ranks well for branded terms, which in turn pushes down negative reviews for branded queries.

Black hat strategies often work in the short-term, but in the long-term search engines, like Google, figure out what’s going on. Once Google identifies fraudulent behavior, they put the website in question on a black list. If a website is placed on a blacklist, it will have hard time ranking. These are only three of the many ways people try to trick the system.

Not all reputation management agencies use unethical practices. However, it’s important to know that if a company’s claims seem too good to be true, they probably are.

Here are a few reputable SEO reputation management agencies:

Reputation.com

Reputation.com offers software and services to manage your online presence. They can take total control of your online presence and say that managed customers see 230% more positive reviews on average. Some of their services include:

  • Review-request email campaigns
  • Respond to online reviews
  • Business listings population and ongoing verification
  • Social media profile design and optimization
  • Social media publishing
  • Respond to social media posts
  • Proactive outreach and and advice

You can see all their offerings here.

SEOP

SEOP offers online reputation management services using their own in-house technology. Their website ensures customers that they use white-hat strategies to help your business’ online reputation. They take a look at your online business listings and make changes according to your current situation. They also offer other services such as paid search management, social media marketing, and link building. You can check out all their services here.

InternetReputation.com

Internet Reputation is another top SEO reputation management firm that will manage your online presence. They can repair and protect your property’s online reputation and have already helped 10,000s of businesses. They also offer search engine optimization and review management services.

With their review management services, they will help you get more positive reviews and stop the negative effects of bad reviews. Email alerts will tell you the minute a new review is posted and help you take the right course of action. You can view more about their services here.

Reputation Management Software

Reputation management companies aggregate your property’s reviews from various websites. Usually they offer a dashboard that will allow you to view all your reviews in one place. They will also alert you when new reviews are posted and help you understand their contents. As we outlined in our last post, it’s complicated to understand a review’s context and inherent bias. Reputation management companies supposedly help you cut through the noise.  

These companies also claim they can get you more reviews. Their review systems help drive guests to leave reviews which gives hoteliers more information.

If you decide to use reputation management software, there are three major players right now. There are many other smaller companies who offer similar these services, but we will focus on these three.

Revinate:

Revinate Reputation Management

Revinate offers a product called Revinate Reputation. The product aggregates data from different online sources to help you stay on top of new reviews. Some of the other features include competitive intelligence, sentiment analysis, social media monitoring, and revenue reporting.

Pricing is dependent on a property’s size.

They also offer other products that help with surveys, marketing, and customer engagement.

Review Pro:

ReviewPro Screenshot

Review Pro offers a product that leverages a hotel’s reviews to increase revenue. Review Pro uses reviews to help properties prioritize fixes and upgrades to enhance the guests’ experience. Their reputation management product comes with sentiment analysis, competitive intelligence, social media monitoring, and a ticketing system.

TrustYou

trustyou-analytics-analyze-charts

TrustYou also offers a product to help hoteliers ‘analyze and react’ to guest reviews. They offer similar services as Revinate and ReviewPro such as competitive analysis, custom reporting, and social media monitoring. TrustYou’s differentiator are their TrustYou Stars. TrustYou Stars give a property a score based on their online reviews. Google now displays TrustYou Stars score in search results to help travelers get a better understanding the property.

How to Manage Your Own Reviews

Reputation management companies help property owners control all their reviews in one place, but for a price. Reputation management services do not make sense for every property.

Large properties who receive several reviews a day may find value in a reputation management software. However, smaller properties who receive fewer reviews should be able to manage them on their own. If you decide to manage your reviews yourself, we suggest tracking scores and sentiments over time. Historical data is useful when you look back and analyze your effort’s success or failure.

Google

In order to respond to your reviews on Google, you must first verify your business. After you verify your business, follow these directions that Google provides on their website.

  1. Sign in to Google My Business. If you have two or more locations, click Manage Location for the location you want to manage.
  2. Click Reviews at the top of the page.  You will not be able to click this if your business is not verified.
  3. Click Inbox
  4. Select a customer review and click View and Reply.
  5. Write a response and click Submit  

You can view Google’s original directions and a guide on how to respond on mobile here.

If you would like to report a review, click Flag as inappropriate, next to the review. You can see Google’s article regarding the topic here.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor created a helpful guide on how to view and respond to reviews. Before you begin, you must claim your property at https://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners. After you register, click on Your Business in the top-right corner of any page. Then, follow these steps.

  1. Click on the “Reviews” tab in the top menu and select “Respond to Reviews”
  2. Choose the review you would like to respond to by clicking on the review in the left-hand sidebar. You can sort reviews by date, title, bubble rating, language, and response status.
  3. Select your affiliation with the property
  4. Write (or copy) the response into the box provided. There is no character limit.
  5. Click submit

managementresponseguide

To report a review, click on Report in the bottom right corner of every review. It will then prompt you to fill out a form and TripAdvisor will review the claim. You can see TripAdvisor’s guide to reporting false reviews here.

Facebook

It is super easy to respond to a review on Facebook. On the left hand side, you will see a button to navigate to your reviews. Or, your reviews may be on the top page navigation depending on your page.

Respond to Facebook reviews

If you want to report a review, simply click on the down arrow in the top right corner and click “I don’t like this review” and follow the instructions.

Yelp

First, you will need to claim your business. As a business owner, you have the option of responding to comments publicly and privately. We have amended their original directions which you can find here.  

Public Responses:

  1. Go to Reviews section of your business account
  2. Locate the review and click Add Public Comment
  3. Enter your text and click Preview
  4. Review the text and click Post Comment

Private Response:

  1. Go to the Reviews section of your business account
  2. Locate the review and click Send
  3. Enter your text and click Send

Conclusion:

It takes time and effort to manage online reviews, so be patient and have a process. Take the time to look at each and every single guest review. Respond as needed and figure out a proper course of action. If you operate a large property that has a large influx of reviews, a reputation management service may be a solution for you.  

If you’re looking to manage your own online reviews, we have several resources to help you get started.