The flip side of Social Media

Posted on May 20th 2010

How to deal with negative reviews in a consumer-driven Hotel industry?

Social Media is rapidly taking over the way both you (a person involved in the Hotel industry), and the consumers look, feel and think about products. The main difference with Social Media is it isn’t bias, there is no one hard and fast market driven perspective, what you actually get is an array of opinions from different sources. Although you as a business person understand the different levels of credibility of each of these opinions, some of your consumer’s don’t always notice the difference.

In a recent poll made available by Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey it was shown that the dominant authority people look for and trust is ‘personal recommendations and online reviews’. The issue with this is that these reviews may not always be a glowing sentiment to your Hotel and its services.

So how should you deal with negative Social Media attention?

1.       Do not ignore the posts that attack your product. If the negative feedback is legitimate (let’s face it no one is perfect) we encourage you to use a ‘management response’. This type of response is best used when someone has made a comment that is misinforms others about an issue, or perhaps highlights an issue that has already been resolved by your Hotel. The management response shows that you are actively listening to the concerns of your consumers and are also rectifying any issues that arise.

2.      You don’t have to reply to every negative comment or review. Sometimes people don’t have legitimate grounds for their unflattering comments about your Hotel. A large aspect of Social Media is knowing when to be concerned about review and when to ignore them. Sometimes people are just not worth the time or the worry. It is important to distinguish the legitimate threats from the ‘time wasters’.

3.      One of the best defences is a good offense. Be confident in your Hotel. If you are doing everything you can, to ensure your guests stay a pleasant one, then you should be confident that any negative review will be combated by positive ones.

4.      Another helpful idea to address the unfavourable review with a positive spin by turning negative comments made about your Hotel into positives (in one way or another). It is good to remember that although each negative comment chips away at the overall picture, if your Hotel has a lot of positive and very few negative (comments), you will see an accurate representation of your Hotel reflected in your general rating and comments over time.

Social Media definitely has its positive attributes when it comes to getting your Hotel present online, however it does require you to grow a thick skin and be prepared to hear what everyone (those who are qualified to give opinion and those who will give it anyway), have to say about you and your Hotel. You have to take the good with the bad.   

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