Reviews have a major impact on hospitality businesses. Love them or loathe them, they aren’t going away – learning to deal with them effectively is the key.
TELL THE TRUTH
Many poor online reviews stem from disappointment – a product not living up to expectations. So avoid (old-fashioned) over embellishment in your marketing messages. The days of broadcast marketing are over. If you over claim, you will be challenged (and inevitably exposed).
Focus your energy on getting your product as good as it can be, correctly priced, and aimed at the right target market. Don’t dwell on the odd negative comment – you cannot please all the people all of the time (Think Marmite).
LEARN TO TAKE CRITICISM
Accept that if your product is being criticised online (or off!) and no-one is leaping to your defence – you probably have a problem.
EYES OF EXPERTS
Appreciate that everyone today is a restaurant critic, a wine connoisseur, a hotel inspector, a master chef, and an interior design guru. Don’t fight them, involve them – take them on the journey with you. They can be your greatest ambassadors.
INVEST IN GOOD WILL
Invest time in Social Media to build up good will and positive brand ambassadors, so that should you be hit by a wave of online negativity, you will have a loyal fan base ready to defend you.
THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT (ALMOST)!
Always respond graciously to negative feedback. Thank people for taking the time to bring issues to your attention. But also don’t be afraid to politely point out inaccuracies.
SELECT THE RIGHT MEDIUM
Take the conversation off-line when appropriate. Never get into a public spat.
MONITOR, RESPOND, MONITOR, RESPOND
Keep listening, and respond quickly. Don’t forget direct feedback and comment cards – lack of response here can result in additional negative comment online.
CULTURE VS TECHNOLOGY
Don’t get bogged down in (or scared off by) all the new technology and social platforms. Remember Social Media is more about Culture than Technology.
Focus on becoming an open, listening, social, responsive, caring brand. Successful businesses today don’t shout the loudest, they listen the hardest.