Guest reviews not only serve as a point of reference that prospective customers generally trust, more than 80 percent of travelers include reviews as an integral part of their decision-making process when determining which hotel to book.

Here are five steps that will help your hotel get more guest reviews:

1. At check-in – provide your guests with a “tool” that invites them to write a review about your hotel.  Include a guide and a variety of links to sites that provide the greatest exposure for your hotel.  There’s no better time to plant the seed than after a flawless check-in.

2. On property – station post cards at various locations throughout the hotel that gently reminds your guests about your eventual goal.  If you feel this approach is overkill then place QR codes in high-traffic areas for your tech-savvy guests.

3. Incentives – great service and value provide the best impetus for your guests to write reviews.  Never entice them with “other incentives” to write a review about your hotel.  If you do and you’re exposed, you will lose any credibility that you’ve established on review sites.

4. On your site – if you can, have your web designer create a simple form that is available on your site or can be delivered as a link via email to a guest that has stayed at your hotel.  Keep in mind that if you provide third-party reviews on your site along with a link that will send customers away from you site, they may not return.

5. At check-out – since TripAdvisor will assume that your hotel generated a fake review if you allow guests to use a computer on site (TripAdvisor monitors the hotel’s IP address and will flag a review if it comes direct from the hotel) go back to suggestion #1.

It’s important that you develop a guest review strategy that everyone will embrace.  You will immediately notice that your campaign will quickly gain traction and provide you with new customers as the fruit of your marketing labor.

Tom Costello is a Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter or contact him by email.

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