At Revinate, we consistently hear that we help hotels, brands, and portfolios operationalize social media and reviews. We take pride in this news because it means that hotels are finally able to do something that was once very difficult: accurately measure the results of their efforts in social media and even, in many cases, tie bonuses to the results. A great example of a company that has operationalized social content is B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group. The Hospitality Group operates a portfolio of 20 business class hotels, including 18 that are branded under franchise agreements with Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Hilton. The B. F. Saul organization fully owns the properties and employs a team of 1,100 enthusiastic hospitality professionals.
One of those professionals is Frank O’Hara, a Cornell graduate that recently moved from a marketing position with the company into an analytics role. In his marketing role, Frank became very familiar with Revinate since his company signed up the portfolio for Revinate service in 2011, and, as a result, became very focused on monitoring and managing their online reviews.
To operationalize the process of responding to reviews, the team implemented a flow chart and workflow for responding to online reviews to ensure that the General Managers responded appropriately to the right reviews. Frank says, “I was in Revinate every single day and I loved it. I would use the ticketing system to assign reviews to General Managers and then proofread their management responses to ensure they were in-line with our standards. Responding to reviews is critical for a good service recovery experience and it was great to play a role in that process.”
Recognizing the growing importance of positive online reviews for hotels, B. F. Saul created a landing page, www.reviewourhotel.com, to allow guests to easily access the correct review pages for each hotel and restaurant in the portfolio. The site, in conjunction with an internal contest to drive results, led to solid growth in the amount of reviews the properties received, which had the added benefit of driving many hotels up on TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.
Understanding the competitive nature of hoteliers, the hospitality group has launched a series of contests across the portfolio to get the GMs and operations teams excited about their online reputation. The first contest was all around TripAdvisor. Frank tracked the Popularity Index and percentage of people that would recommend the hotel and developed a composite score that would be comparable across properties in different TripAdvisor markets. When he launched the contest, seven hotels were below five in their markets and by December of the same year, those seven were in the top five in their markets. Frank says, “This growth was, in my opinion, due to constant engagement and reminders, from me, to be cognizant of TripAdvisor and its impact on the hotel. Treating each guest as a potential review writer drives staff to perform better. And, seeing how the hotels were ranked every month provided the competitive push that many GMs needed to really pay attention.”
When it comes to making data-driven decisions, B. F. Saul relies on Revinate’s Sentiment Analysis reporting to bring the voice-of-the- customer data into discussions. Frank O’Hara shares a couple of examples. “We noticed a low sentiment score around internet service for one of our hotels. When we drilled down into the comments around our service, we realized that we weren’t providing good instructions so we created better documentation around how to connect and log in. After making this improvement, we saw the sentiment return to positive.” Sentiment Analysis has also been used to make improvements to front desk teams, transportation directions, HVAC and carpeting at the properties.
In January 2013, B. F. Saul made the decision to add social media scores into the “Big Three Report Card,” the company’s internal guest service scorecard, which is tied directly to incentive plans. Frank says, “As soon as compensation plans are affected, the reliability of data becomes critical. Luckily, we have a lot of confidence in the reporting in Revinate for our social data.” In addition to traditional metrics around Occupancy and RevPAR, the new Report Card also takes into account overall review rating, new reviews per occupied room, custom review response metrics and comp set index on review sites. Frank says, “It’s great that we are now measuring our team across all facets of the business, including reputation. Revinate has not only made it possible, but it has made it easy.”