Thailand is one of the world’s most exotic and spectacular destinations. In this article, Wimintra Jangnin the founder & Editor in Chief of Hotelintel.co, interviews Pierre-Andre Pelletier, Regional VPO of ONYX Hospitality Group and discovers how the most reviewed hotel in Thailand achieved their goals. Hotel Intel is a B2B online publication focused on the hospitality industry.
Guest reviews can persuade potential customers to choose a particular hotel. They can also be a way for guests to show their appreciation for a great experience. In either case, reviews are good, more reviews are better, and in Thailand the hotel with the most TripAdvisor reviews last year was the Amari Phuket – a 380-room property located on Patong beach. Hotelintel.co recently had the chance to ask Pierre-Andre Pelletier, Regional Vice President of Operations for South Thailand, Vietnam and the Maldives, ONYX Hospitality Group, exactly how the Amari Phuket made it to the top of the list.
What did you actually do to get the most reviews on TripAdvisor?
First of all, we do feel honored to be named the most reviewed hotel in Thailand on TripAdvisor in 2017 – but as for what we did to achieve this, we honestly didn’t know here was such an accolade so we weren’t specifically working towards and platform ranking. It came as a very pleasant year-end surprise, but it’s also a part of what we do on a daily basis… ensuring that every guest who comes under our care receives an exceptional and memorable experience, and that we maintain an environment where guests feel comfortable to approach me or any of my team members in person to voice their feedback.
For us, it not so much about investing time and resources towards good rankings, but putting the emphasis towards delivering consistently good service, addressing issues immediately, making improvements based on guest feedback and insight, and creating magic moments. Once you have all the fundamentals in order, your guests will see and feel the difference and the compliments will come, both in person and on review sites.
Who exactly needs to be involved in the process?
In terms of who needs to be involved, here at Amari Phuket everyone plays an important role. One of the things which truly sets us apart is our very visible and approachable management team, and the extremely high levels of interaction between guests and our team members. I walk around the property frequently throughout the day and talk to as many guests as possible, and my team does the same.
In a large number of our reviews, guests take the opportunity to acknowledge specific team members by name. During our daily operational briefs, these comments are highlighted and celebrated, so every team member is motivated to play their part in delivering exceptional service. Our philosophy is that if our team is happy and our guests are very satisfied, we have done our job well.
What does the corporate office do to help each property in achieving their social media goals?
We have a dedicated on-property social media manager who reports to our assistant director of marketing communications and works closely with the corporate team at ONYX Hospitality Group to set our social media engagement goals and objectives.
We maintain a structured yet flexible content strategy, placing strong emphasis in true human interactions by responding to queries, lending a helping hand to those looking for travel advice and being active in conversations where appropriate. I would say that ONYX is proactive when it comes to sharing social media engagement best practices with every property within our growing portfolio.
For guest satisfaction monitoring and insights, our group uses ReviewPro which offers a TripAdvisor review collection platform – so guests can opt to also share their comments directly to our TripAdvisor page without having to visit two different platforms.
For us, being active and engaged on TripAdvisor and other social media platforms is a natural extension of how we maintain a high level of personal interaction with our guests while they are on-property. These platforms help us keep in constant contact with our guests, many of whom we have a long-term relationship with as they return again and again.
How can GMs can play a part in ensuring success for a hotel’s TripAdvisor presence?
As GM of a highly regarded property, it’s really all about empowering the team to deliver the best possible service and experience for our guests. It’s also about walking the talk. It’s important to lead by example by making frequent rounds throughout the property to meet as many guests and team members as possible.
We are in the business of creating unforgettable moments for our guests who choose to spend their well-deserved vacation time with us. The fact that so many of our guests are sharing their positive experiences online is a big bonus and honor for us.
This is my commitment to success, not specifically for TripAdvisor rankings, but because we are passionate about providing a meaningful experience for every guest and team member in one way or another. Even if platforms like TripAdvisor or Facebook didn’t exist, we would still be committed to creating these special moments every single day.
Does engaging actively on TripAdvisor help drive your business?
Absolutely! TripAdvisor is not only the leading global platform for travel research; it is also one of the world’s largest travel sites. In addition to providing travelers with the wisdom of crowds to help them make better decisions, TripAdvisor also compares prices from a large number of booking sites so travelers can find the best deal for the hotel that’s right for their needs.
Goodwill is an essential element of success in hospitality, and we are strong believers that goodwill accumulated over time leads to enhanced awareness and preference, higher satisfaction levels, and unity and pride among our team. What platforms like TripAdvisor have done is the curation of all this accumulated goodwill and happiness in a very accessible and user-friendly format for today’s travelers.
On a platform as popular as TripAdvisor, Amari Phuket is also extremely proud to be ranked by travelers as one of their top 10 hotels in Phuket. In Thailand, we are also ranked among the top 20 hotels. Our affiliate hotel in the capital, Oriental Residence Bangkok, is also ranked by TripAdvisor users as one of the top 25 luxury hotels in Thailand.