In ancient times people were put on the town square, tied by hands and feet to be seen by everyone when they had done something wrong, better known as the pillory.
In 2015, billions of dollars are made by the modern version of the pillory: social media. If you choose to, everyone can comment on your life, your car, your job, anything... Of course the hospitality industry is not spared, on the contrary. Every little complaint is carefully written down on social media platforms or on review sites. The comments are out there for everyone to read, if you like it or not.
In terms of customer service there is an upside, service is improving. Restaurants and hotels are stepping up their game. They can not afford any longer to have a tarnished reputation due to what people write on the internet.
Marketing departments, PR companies and hotel executives are putting a lot of time in rebuttal strategies in how to answer the remarks given by guests.
Up until now I have read many of them. What strikes me the most is that almost 80% of remarks is about service, not about the food. Facilities (with Wifi on number 1) are very sensitive these days, but the way service staff reacts to remarks on those facilities is even more sensitive.
You know, about 25 years ago, people went to hotels to enjoy facilities they didn't have at home. Now almost every family has Wifi, a flatscreen TV, a coffee machine and a kick ass smartphone. What more can a hotel offer? A swimming pool? Tech companies are working around the clock with big hotel chains to develop state of the art facilities. License plate recognition when arriving at the hotel and smart watch door access are used as I write this and are considered new now, will that still be the case in 3 years?
So, dear hotel owners, the one thing that will never be outdated is service! Personal service that is. Invest in your people, train them to the highest level. Train them in recognizing body language, using the right language and anticipating the guest's next move.
In the near future I will handpick reviews of the internet and dissect them, sentence by sentence. I will give my humble opinion on how the situation could have been handled and hopefully start an interaction with you to find even more creative solutions.
Looking forward to the next post...