Half Man, Half Machine: TrustYou Launches The Reputation Machine

by March 27, 2013 9:50 am Comunicados de Imprensa

“The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them.” ~ Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

By Ben Jost, CEO & Co-Founder

Behind every great machine is wealth of manpower, a passionate problem solver, a pursuit of doing something better, something smarter.


The car was invented so that people could get somewhere faster and quicker (after all, horses were slow and needed to rest).  The same thought could be applied to the invention of online reputation management solutions: people needed to get something – information digested and analyzed – faster.


In the beginning of online reviews the volume was sparse.  Tending to the flow of what was being said could be done as an afterthought, at best.  There was one site to focus on, maybe two, for a given market.  In what seemed to be in the blink of an eye online feedback began to multiply.  Reviews coupled with social media platforms made a simple search on what was being said about a hotel no longer so simple.  The frequency and volume had savvy hoteliers taking note.  This wasn’t just general feedback; it was a direct influence on booking decisions and the bottom line.  There had to be a better way.  And there was.


Online monitoring tools were born and while there might have been a few points of differentiation -- who translated an extra language, which claimed to have a sharper edge on semantics -- the products in the customers’ eyes were very similar.  I felt like we were doing something different.  I needed to put my finger on it.


When I sat back with my team to take a look at what we were doing in the online reputation management space we realized this was more than just a tool.  It was more than a quick fix for the industry.  It was a philosophy.  We were marrying our love of data and deep technology with our passion for the review space and pursuit of delivering customer service excellence.  We were taking a tool that tells you what your management response rate was and adding to that our thoughts on why you should respond to reviews (and backing it up with proof: hotels that respond to guest reviews see an average of 147% more reviews and 6% higher scores per TrustYou data of 500 hotels worldwide).  We were taking our knowledge of the importance of reviews and review volume and coming up with way to get more reviews out there.  We were taking the hard work of hoteliers that result in high praise and finding a way to tell the world about it via marketing tools and widgets.  In the end the goal is twofold: deliver the best


possible guest experience and increase revenue as a result.  It was this thought that led us to our newest TrustYou launch: The Reputation Machine.


As a wise man once said:


“The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them.” ~ Antoine de Sainte-Exupery


As with any great machine there are many moving parts.  By having a greater understanding of what is being said, through the monitoring portion of The Reputation Machine, we are able to plunge deeper into the likes and dislikes of our guests.  We are able to identify problems and apply solutions.  Hotels are able to show its guests (through words and responses) that they have been heard and action is being taken.  Taking the plunge into problems is how and when great solutions are born.  Analyzing the data also helps to apply fixes to quality management issues and make informed decisions on capital investments based on guest feedback (carpets are worn, elevators are slow, etc.).


Not only is the volume of digital feedback growing, but the impact of what reviews mean to the bottom line, is playing a greater factor.  Over 80% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchasing decision.  Hotels that are not on top of what is being said, and responding, are leaving money on the table.  Paying attention to online reviews is not optional.  It is incredibly important.  We also know that the volume of reviews that a hotel has can have a direct impact on the ranking.  The more reviews the higher a hotel ranking, as the majority of feedback tend to be positive.  Higher rankings translate into higher revenue.


Knowing that the volume of reviews is important we developed a complementary portion of The Reputation Machine (which happens to also be a complimentary service).  It’s our survey solution.  As we have proven from our continually evolving technology over the last five years, we are not ones to sit back and wait for things to happen.  We have applied the same approach to collecting reviews and created a way for hotels to proactively get feedback.  It’s a combined approach that allows staff to encourage reviews onsite, through on-property iPads and computers, and a post-stay survey email.  One major point of differentiation with the TrustYou survey function is the review distribution option.  Hotels can choose where reviews are directed, from TripAdvisor to Yelp!, Google+ or on the hotel site itself.   More reviews and more visibility translates into more guests, which is directly tied to increased revenue.


Let’s face it, when you do a good job you want the world to know.  However, self praise is no praise.  That is where the marketing portion of The Reputation Machine comes in.  Hotels don’t need to tell customers how great they are.  We will do it for them (whether they are a TrustYou customer or not).  A third-party endorsement is incredibly powerful (that’s why they say editorial coverage is worth three times more than an advertisement).  Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not going to make up outrageous stories or insert our opinion on how great you are (we’ll leave that up to you).  We simply take what is being said, across all online comments and reviews, and bring it into one centralized score called the TrustScore.  On a scale of 100 the hotel gets a score that is representative of what is being said about them across the Internet.  The higher the score, the better endorsement it is.  OTAs, meta-search sites, destinations, GDS player can integrate the TrustScore into its search results by using our API.  Hotels wear the TrustScore as a badge of honor, a sign of its hard work, across marketing materials and on its website.  It’s a customer seal of approval.


There is no machine without man (or woman).  That’s why we underscore that The Reputation Machine is half man, half machine.  As I said at the start, behind every great machine is wealth of manpower, a passionate problem solver, a pursuit of doing something better, something smarter.  The manpower behind The Reputation Machine is a combination of the TrustYou team and the hotel team.  We build and maintain the machine, generate the reports and comb through the data. The hotel teams fuel the machine and create the momentum to accelerate the process.  It’s a machine that goes beyond reputation; it’s about reaping the rewards of positive feedback, rewarding a job well done and increasing revenue.  On behalf of our entire team, we look forward to co-piloting The Reputation Machine with you.


Download the PDF here.