Tara Lodge builds better guest relationships with the help of GuestRevu’s feedback solutions.
Having first opened its doors in 1998, Tara Lodge has been operating in Belfast, Ireland for over two decades. Over that period, they have expanded the property from 19 rooms to 34, and have refined the high-quality product that they are able to offer to guests, aiming for customer satisfaction that exceeds expectations. This dedication to their guest experience has seen the property winning a number of awards and holding the top spot for hotels in Belfast on TripAdvisor for more than ten years.
“We work very hard to ensure that our guests are happy every day,” General Manager Sinéad Tierney explains. “And it's not just because of TripAdvisor. We do genuinely want them to leave happy, but the position as number one on TripAdvisor is definitely vital to what we do here.”
Maintaining their position with the review giant and getting feedback from their guests were ranked among their highest priorities, but it was a very manual process with room for human error until they found GuestRevu.
GuestRevu helps Tara Lodge to engage with their guests and maintain their online reputation across online travel agencies and review platforms with ease.
Time-consuming manual processes, not hearing from guests directly, and focussing all efforts on TripAdvisor
• Manual processes were taking time
“When the guests checked in and checked out, they were able to leave comments with us,” says Sinéad. “We also sent an email to guests after check-out.... asking them about their stay, if they had any additional comments, and then we would encourage them to leave feedback on TripAdvisor or contact us directly if they had any queries.”
While management were following these best practices to the letter, the processes were time consuming and open to human error, as was the scouring of review sites for the responses that guests would leave online. “Our online reputation was managed quite manually, to be honest,” Sinéad explains. “It was myself and Niamh, our Duty Manager, who would look at that every day.”
• Only learning how guests felt through TripAdvisor reviews
Despite their efforts to inform guests that they were welcome and encouraged to provide feedback to management directly, Sinéad was finding that feedback was intermittent unless it was posted on Tripadvisor. “We had no sort of idea of when they might leave feedback,” she explains, “or how they were feeling about their stay unless it went to Tripadvisor.”
This meant that the majority of the feedback they were getting was high-level and it was difficult to gain meaningful insights about their guest stays.
• Not hearing about small problems
While management was hearing about their guests experiences overall through the reviews that they were finding online, the nitty gritty details of their guest stays were coming to their attention far less often. “Small things, like maybe something not working in the room, they weren't reported and they kind of got overlooked,” says Sinéad. These small details can often become the difference between a good stay and a great one.
• Not paying enough attention to other review platforms
Being number one on TripAdvisor was vital in the minds of Tara Lodge’s management team, but maintaining the position relied on so much manual effort that it was the only platform that they found themselves focussing on. “We were a little bit guilty of neglecting some review platforms, the likes of Booking.com,” Sinéad explains, “because we focussed so much on TripAdvisor.”
A seamless, consolidated direct guest feedback and online reputation management solution with TripAdvisor Platinum Partnership and Guestline PMS integration
“GuestRevu did a fantastic job when we were implementing their review platform,” Sinéad explains. “We found that if we did have any queries, they were answered very, very quickly. To be honest, the whole process was very, very easy. In regards to training staff, because it was able to integrate with our new property management system, it made things so seamless.”
Thanks to GuestRevu’s TripAdvisor Platinum Partnership, their award-winning direct guest feedback and online reputation management solutions, and their integration with the Guestline Rezlynx PMS that the property uses, Tara Lodge’s management are able to:
- Engage with their guests to improve the experience that they offer
- Pinpoint their strengths and where improvements can be made
- Use a single, consolidated platform, which integrates with their Guestline Rezlynx PMS, to track feedback and monitor trends
- Manage their online reputation across multiple online travel agent (OTA) and social media platforms
I can say firsthand that GuestRevu made such a positive difference to our online reputation. We thought we were in quite a good position, so we weren't sure that we needed it. But it gave us such a strong advantage against our competitors, and I think that any other property who wants to stay ahead of the game, and at the forefront of technology should implement GuestRevu. Because they may be happy with their position at the minute, but it definitely can benefit them, and make their position a lot stronger.
Since starting with GuestRevu, we've definitely noticed positive changes with the staff. Because we can actually bring the feedback back to the staff. They're getting mentioned, so I see a little bit of pride in them whenever they see their names mentioned, which is fantastic.
Before implementing GuestRevu, we had won awards based on our service. But since implementing GuestRevu we have actually won two Boutique Hotel [BoHo] Awards, and those are based solely on guest feedback which was fantastic. It was a real honour to us, because we know that we offer a good service, but to know that the guests are noticing that as well is fantastic.
Building relationships with their guests, noticing patterns in feedback, and better understanding their guest experience
“Before implementation, I wasn't convinced that GuestRevu was for us, because we had quite a strong presence on TripAdvisor,” admits Sinéad. “But whenever I began to work with the GuestRevu team, I became convinced that it definitely was for us.”
Since implementing GuestRevu, the team at Tara Lodge have the time to focus their efforts on the most important aspect of their business – their guests.
• Integrated technologies saving time
Working with two systems can often be a painful process involving multiple phone calls and explaining the same situation over and over to different people. But this was far from the case for Tara Lodge. As Sinéad explans, “The partnership between Guestline and GuestRevu was fantastic, because they knew each other and it made us going to them, either one of them, individually, very very easy. And they worked together very, very well, which meant I didn't have to go to Guestline to ask for something, then ask the same thing from GuestRevu. They spoke to each other and made everything really seamless.”
“So we work with Guestline, and bringing on GuestRevu, they were able to integrate that into the system,” she continues. “It was vital to us because it saved us a lot of time, and all the manual work was taken out of it. The emails were sent out automatically, and still are, and the reviews then just came pouring in. So it was fantastic. It meant that there was no room for staff forgetting to send the emails that we used to do manually ourselves.”
• Building guest relationships
By asking for feedback directly from their guests rather than simply asking them to leave a review on TripAdvisor, Sinéad feels that Tara Lodge’s management are taking a more active role by engaging with their visitors.
“We feel that it bridges the gap between us and the guest,” Sinéad explains. “We're building that relationship. We're building it before they come and stay, but also after they leave, we still have that relationship with them where they are comfortable to contact us and let us know any feedback whatsoever. And then it encourages them to come back and stay with us again.”
• Improving their online reputation
With the help of GuestRevu’s consolidated dashboard, Tara Lodge’s management team is able to keep track of the feedback that they’re getting across review platforms with ease. There is no more need to manually check dozens of social media sites and OTAs, since GuestRevu pulls the reviews from them automatically. This, and the detailed insights that they are getting from their guest survey responses, has seen Tara Lodge improving their standing on platforms like Booking.com.
“Since using GuestRevu, our ranking on Booking.com has gone from 9.3 to 9.4,” Sinéad explains. “So we're definitely very happy that we have been afforded the opportunity to work on that. By addressing some of the smaller issues, I definitely do think that's made a difference, on Booking.com especially, because we're more aware of what guests are thinking now because we have this review platform to look at everything so closely.”
Thanks to GuestRevu’s Platinum Partnership with TripAdvisor, Sinéad is also seeing better results on the review giant’s platform. “I do definitely think that GuestRevu has helped us get more reviews on TripAdvisor with a higher rating,” she explains, “and it has allowed us to encourage repeat business who are then going to leave maybe more reviews.”
• Gaining a better understanding of their guest experience
The insights that Tara Lodge’s management team is getting from their GuestRevu surveys is helping them to better understand what their guests are looking for from a stay at the property, and how they can meet those expectations.
“Managing our guest reviews and feedback has definitely helped us to improve the guest experience,” explains Sinéad. “It does obviously allow us to correct things when guests leave, but it also allows us to notice any patterns in guest feedback, so that we can focus on making those things right for the next guests coming in.”
“So a specific example,” says Sinéad, “is a lot of the time we are noticing that guests are maybe asking for a mini fridge in the room, or that they would recommend we get aircon, things like that. So we do actually have those in some of the rooms. So it's allowing us to give the guests the knowledge that if they were to book again, they can book a different room type to receive the product that they were looking for exactly.”
The feedback is also helping the team to pinpoint where they are getting things right. “We get a lot more praise on things that we do correctly, so it's good to see a pattern. It's not just one person recommending breakfast,” she explains. “We might get ten people in a row saying the porridge in particular was fantastic. So we know what we're doing well and we know what we need to improve on.”