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Marketing your small tourism business in the 21th century: #3 Monitor and Respect Tripadvisor

By William Bakker | 03.29.08 | 2 Comments

If you run a tourism business, and especially if you run an accommodation business, you need to know what people say about you on Tripadvisor. A lot of operators do this already, but I’m amazed at how many don’t. You’ll probably find that most reviews are very positive. (Tracking Tourism blog did some research).
But some ratings might not be positive. Some might even be unfair. Tripadvisor gives you the ability to respond to any review, positive or negative. So you have a change to provide your side of the story and turn a bad review in an opportunity to show you care about your customer.
I’ve seen some very bad management responses. They often read like retaliations. I’m sure it made the operator feel better for a minute, but I don’t think they understand how it will only make things worse. This is one example I found:

Either you have never been a guest and grudging on behalf of someone else. Whatever are your reasons, let me tell you something, no one gets rude for no reason. If you push anybody to extreme, then be prepared to be pushed back. Hopefully, we live in a world of sensible people, I didn’t say saints. If your expectation are right, you will always get what you paid for. As someone said, “there are no FREE bananas”

Who knows, maybe the guest was completely unreasonable. But consumers don’t know that, and this kind of response won’t make them excited about a possible visit.
Good responses I’ve seen show empathy with the customer and demonstrate actions to avoid these situations in the future where necessary. The best responses I’ve seen include invitations to make up for it (when something obviously bad happened) or new policies based on the feedback. Here’s a good example:

Based on the review we have implemented the following changes:
1. Put larger desks in our corporate friendly rooms.
2. Increased the higher voltage bulbs in these rooms.
3. Had our wireless provider fix the errors.
I will like to thank you for your feedback and will like to offer a free night stay at our hotel to change your experience.
Sincerely,
GM

I’m not suggesting to hand out free stays to anybody who complains on Tripadvisor. The bottom line is that you can make a bad review into an opportunity to show future readers you care about you customers and are willing to address feedback. And if you follow rule #1, Tripadvisor will be one of your best marketing vehicles. Maybe there is such a thing as “free bananas” after all.

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