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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.”
“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:
“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.
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.”
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.”
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.”