‘Giving the Past a Modern Presence.’
By James Mahaffey, Director of Sales.
Internet reviews, online ratings, social media following….in the last few years all hospitality business especially hotels have had to master more communication methods and influences than ever before (certainly more than when I started my career in hospitality).
When new owners took over New Place Hotel in 2017, it was to establish the venue as a full-service hotel, open for leisure guests, tourists and locals, as well as corporate training, conferences and Weddings. We knew that online presence would be key in diversifying the business into these new areas & making it a success.
The first step was to overhaul the hotels online presence with a brand-new website (www.newplacehotel.co.uk), and then reinvigorating our social media channels. The former was to give insight into the history and aesthetic of the property to attract those from far afield and abroad, while the latter was to establish engagement and interaction with people who take an interest in our newly acquired markets.
The hotel had a social media presence previously, but the use of it as a communication tool began in earnest last year with an internal joint effort by staff in a ‘private Facebook group’ for all employees to share ideas and material. The primary social media focus has been on Facebook and Instagram as more visual channels they are ideal to show off the hotel and the hotel’s grounds, as well as the events taking place. We can now boast an online following of over 3,600 on Facebook and 1,200 on Instagram.
Meanwhile, as the number of guests to the venue grew (over 50,000 in the last financial year) so did the online reviews on the likes of Trip Advisor, Booking.com, Facebook & Google. Trip Advisor in particular has a bad reputation in hospitality businesses for a place for people to vent! But all review sites offer the opportunity to take a 360 view of the business and is therefore welcomed at New Place.
Whilst I have always been interested and paid attention to review sites, I have never been someone to obsess about them. It must be accepted that there is a tiny minority that use online reviews in the hope of attention or to stir up animosity, but in my experience, the vast majority of people like to report honestly on what they have experienced. The culture we have fostered at New Place is to provide the highest standards of service for the guest experience. Indeed, we work exceptionally hard to resolve any issues encountered before the guests leave the property.
This philosophy, we believe has paid off as the hotel is currently achieving an average 4.3 star rating fro
m over 600 reviews on Google, 4.4 stars from over 460 reviews on Facebook, 8.3 or ‘Very Good’ from over 1,600 reviews on Booking.com and 4 stars from over 1,800 reviews, awarding us a Certificate of Excellence, from Trip Advisor for the second year in succession!
The question then is, have we made a good start online for the latest chapter of New Place Hotel? Yes, but, we are constantly evaluating and trying new and original ideas for content (and all suggestions are gratefully received) but so far marrying a Grade 1 listed Lutyens designed manor house with 21st century marketing has proved an exciting and rewarding challenge.