Monday 7 July 2014

Who would run a restaurant?

Here's another TripAdvisor Horror Story. This time it's focused on restaurants and pubs, but every hospitality professional will recognise the issues.

We heartily recommend you spend the time to read the article and look at the Double Barrel's responses on TripAdvisor. 

We don't intend to make any judgements about the rights and wrongs of the individual reviews here, but would just like to highlight some of the comments from the restaurateurs quoted in the piece...

Craig Smith is, of course, absolutely correct; a single bad review can severely impact on your business (over and above its impact on your ranking), and not just at the time it is written but for months and years to come. Many commentators and TripAdvisor fans make the point that they can 'see through the occasional negative'. They should speak to businesses that have to deal with the impact of those self-same 'occasional negatives'. No negative, however well responded to, ever becomes a positive for the business.

We meet this every working day of our lives. Dedicated staff are hurt by unfair reviews, and if they are not perhaps it is time to consider a career change? Why does TripAdvisor persist in allowing demonstrably incorrect and unfair reviews stand? We have blogged on this subject more than once; the answer, we are afraid is financial: TripAdvisor's share price performance is directly related to the number of reviews it hosts, so it doesn't do anything to impact that number.

Not a single hotelier, the CEO of the BHA

Every time we attend a conference where TripAdvisor are speaking hoteliers raise this question. Don't look to TripAdvisor for a solution: here's ours for hotels, we suggest that where it has become a problem for restaurants a similar note is added to the bottom of the menu (customers will respond positively).

Here's his review of the Old Crown:

There are a couple of interesting points to make here. The first is that, as Mr Hobson didn't actually eat at the Old Crown the review contravenes TripAdvisor's own T&Cs and could be appealed. The second is that the Old Crown has had five one star reviews (out of 39 in total) all in the same week in March/April last year. Now that's the most extreme example of repeat lightening strikes anyone at HelpHound can remember! 

In summary

  • Make sure all your customers/guests are aware that Dialogue exists for their benefit - if they have an issue (and, for some reason they don't want to bring it to a member of staff in person) they don't need to post it on TripAdvisor
  • Use Feedback Manager if you are in any doubt whatsoever about any response to an online review (responses can exacerbate the harm already done by the review)
  • Introduce a standard procedure for staff when faced with any kind of 'blackmail'
  • We probably wouldn't advise any of our clients to resort to suing (although we do have sympathy with Ms Bird and anyone finding themselves in a similar position)

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