Opening up a new hotel today is infinitely more challenging than ever before thanks to the sometimes-unforgiving nature of social media. In the past, hotels were able to soft launch and invite journalists in to stay and review the property after the initial kinks were worked out. Today, however, every guest is a potential review writer and when you open up an ultra luxury property in the heart of Bangkok, you can be sure that guests will go to online review sites and social media to share their experiences.
From the day the Okura Prestige Bangkok opened in mid-2012, General Manager, Samir Wildemann, focused on guest feedback. He says, “Opening a new hotel is much like bringing a symphony to life. Each department needs to learn its part and learn how to play as a whole before you get your standing ovation. With online reviews, today’s modern day comment cards, we were able to get instant feedback and make the operational changes that helped us improve and work better as a team.”
As great reviews started to collect on OTAs and TripAdvisor, the hotel saw its TripAdvisor Popularity Index Rank improve. In August of 2012 the hotel was ranked 71 (out of 753 hotels) and today it is in the top 10. Of the rise, Wildemann says, “From the moment we opened our doors we had the goal of being in the top ten in Bangkok. As we moved up the Index I was blown away by the traffic it drove to our site and the numbers of people that visited our TripAdvisor page. Since we don’t have a well-known brand outside of Japan, this free publicity is critical to our awareness in the market, and ultimately our success.”
To ensure that the hotel doesn’t lose its focus on guest feedback, Wildemann relies on Revinate. He regularly monitors Revinate’s log-in statistics to make sure that people are using the system to understand what topics are trending in reviews and how the hotel is faring against its comp set. He adds, “Revinate is a really important tool for us to stay on top of our guest feedback and also see what’s happening at other hotels in our market. Knowing what guests are saying about our competitors and why guests are choosing to stay there is critical in a competitive market like Bangkok.”
In just two years, Okura Prestige Bangkok is in an enviable position. Not only is it ranked number seven on TripAdvisor, but it is regularly beating its comp set, comprised of the most exclusive brands and independent hotels in Bangkok, in both review frequency and review rating. Many hotels work for decades to reach this point but thanks to a world-class team and supporting technology, Wildemann has done it in two short years.