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‘Generating positive reviews’ more important than headlines, poll says

WASHINGTON D.C. – Generating more positive reviews in 2014 is a bigger priority than generating more social media followers – and even headlines, a new poll of hotel marketers from around the globe says.

Hundreds of hotel public relations and social media professionals responded to the poll, which was taken Tuesday during ReviewPro’s first monthly online event for hoteliers of the year – “How leverage social media for PR.” Produced and moderated by Daniel Edward Craig, founder of hotel consulting firm Reknown.com, the webinar featured panelists Diego Sartori, citizenM’s social media strategist; Juliet Kinsman, editor-in-chief for Mr & Mrs Smith; social media consultant Liz Borod Wright, editor of Travelogged, and myself. More than 1,100 people registered for the event.

The full poll results:

Which of the following is your highest priority in 2014?

  • Generating positive reviews – 43%
  • Building social media engagement (likes, shares, etc…) – 35%
  • Generating media coverage – 14%
  • Building social media followers – 7%

Given hoteliers’ traditional love of print headlines and newer zeal for Facebook “likes,” some – especially those in the media, I’m betting – will find the results surprising. But in the end, it’s not that surprising, given the growing numbers of hoteliers who realize they can bolster revenues by encouraging positive consumer reviews and managing their online reputation.

“It’s the reviews that directly impact website traffic and revenue!,” marketing manager Danica Smith, who oversees online reputation management for Edinburgh-based Apex Hotels, tweeted during the webinar.

Craig, too, found the results encouraging.

“To see that ‘generating positive reviews’ was voted the top priority is gratifying to me because for years now, through ReviewPro webinars and my articles and presentations, I’ve been extolling the virtues of online reviews and the need for hoteliers to prioritize them over all types of social media,” Craig told me after the online event.

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Additionally, he said, the poll results indicate that hoteliers increasingly understand that when it comes to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, “it’s not simply a numbers game,” he said. “‘Building engagement’ is more important.”

Finally, he notes, the priority that received the fewest votes – “generating media coverage” (7%) – isn’t necessarily the least important. Having a PR program that leads to positive articles in the media remains “an essential part of a well-rounded marketing program,” Craig said.