Don’t be a slave to TripAdvisor

A year ago, TripAdvisor ‘trolls’ posting fake reviews are reckoned to have cost one British restaurant owner £4,000 of lost weekend revenue. In a similar vein, a few months later, a businessman was accused of ‘blackmailing’ local restaurants by threatening to write bad reviews on it if he wasn’t offered a freebie.
Social media expert Stuart Thompson (pictured), who is European Director of the social display firm TINT, says these stories are not isolated incidents and suggests, here, how the hospitality industry could fight back.
Customer reviews are carrying more influence than ever before. There is a growing feeling amongst hoteliers, publicans, restaurant owners and other patrons whose venues are criticised, that the industry is becoming a slave to TripAdvisor; at the mercy of a disgruntled customer and a dreaded ‘one star’ review. Of course, sometimes the reviews are justified. Other times though, the hospitality industry is paying too heavy a price for a customer with a chip on their shoulder and an axe to grind.
It is time for these establishments to shed their ‘TripAdvisor complex’ and start seizing control back from the website, rather than nervously sitting back and fearing every word said about them in cyberspace.
For every negative review on TripAdvisor, there are often seven or eight fantastic Instagram pictures, Facebook updates, Foursquare tips and tweets, that attest to the quality of service hotels and restaurants are providing. A customer can quickly praise a service or product across social channels and the next thing you know a few friends re-tweet, favourite or share the content, which then spreads the word. The main problem is venues are not doing a good enough of job of capturing that social buzz and turning it into something productive. You also can’t fight negative sentiment online, unless there’s a place for your biggest fans to engage with you.
Hoteliers need to ensure all of their social channels – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram – are up and running, giving their customers somewhere to go when they are happy. Equally, having a well-run social presence can help nip negative comments in the bud, as those making them feel you are listening and care.
Then venues need to make the most of good news. If someone says something wonderful about you, make sure you retweet it, share it, favourite it and bring it to life within that particular channel. This user generated advocacy, which potential guests can see and engage with, is worth more than any advertisement you can pay for. People believe people, not brands, so make your fans work for you.
Hospitality businesses need to capture and collect positive customer feedback and make it work hard for them. By investing in social aggregation, curation and display technology that captures all of the mentions of a hotel or restaurant, across a wide range of social media platforms, before beautifully showcasing it on their website, prospective customers are able to see the original review content across all different platforms. This can also be moderated to filter out rude or unfair comments.
And finally display it. Put it on your website of course, but what about the TV screen in your lobby or perhaps your intranet when guests login? By doing this, it showcases all of the positive social buzz in one place. This reinforces positive feelings about your establishment at the same time as encouraging people to post more positive updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>