Do you lose business to bad reviews?

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I had a conversation with the owner of an Inn that my wife and I recently visited (The Vendue, Charleston, SC). It was our first experience at an Inn and we were completely blown away by what an Inn truly is. The customer service was beyond exceptional, the accommodations were well kept and pleasant, and I felt the need to let the owner know how much we appreciated his staff. Needless to say, we fell in love with Inns and B&Bs immediately.

At the end of the conversation, I asked him a curious question - what is the most frustrating part of your day to day business in operating multiple Inns and B&Bs? As a software entrepreneur I assumed (because his business was so well managed and maintained), that he had plenty of systems in place for any situation that arises.

His response was this:

I would say my biggest frustration stems from the constantly evolving world of online/social media and not being able to control it or respond to it without becoming defensive.  What started as online reviews that were posted after a guest stay has now turned into instant tweets, instagrams, etc. with no way to timely respond.  In essence, regardless of validity of any claims, we become immediate victims of any social media.

So my question for this community is a follow up to what he expressed. Is this a recurring problem (not being able to respond and manage positive/negative social media comments)?

Thanks for your help!

Joel

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Thank you, everyone who posted. To be honest, I was expecting more similar problems to what I heard from the owner. But it seems that's not the case! Smiling

As Joey Bloggs requested transparency, here's my deal. I mentioned in my post that I'm a software entrepreneur. Here's a little more info.

I'm currently looking for a new market to assist. When I begin looking for new markets, I interview and speak to business owners in that market and talk to them about their daily activities, what projects they are working on, etc... I'm looking for struggles they have that I can help solve with software.

Ironically on our vacation to Charleston, I was not expecting this but I struck up the conversation with the owner. I was not planning on looking into this market but I realized that B&B/Inn owners were extremely friendly and helpful. I thought it might be a good fit.

I have no product I'm pushing. Once I find common issues with enough owners in a market, then I know I've got something and I work hand in hand with those same business owners to build something they truly want. 

While social media doesn't seem to a major common problem here, is there anything that you struggle with during your day-to-day operations? Previous examples of problems I've heard are admin routine tasks, reporting, financial trackers, auto-responders to prospective clients... 

Here to give back to a community that recently got me hooked Smiling

Thanks for your help,

Joel

Joey Camb's picture
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if you want to invent something - it would be helpful to have something like this, that scans the internet for you B&B name and produces a short report of any mentions say at 9am every day it would make it easier to keep on top of any mentions, google alerts does this to a certain extent but if there are other properties with the same name you get theirs as well, some kind of fine tuning.

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

if you want to invent something - it would be helpful to have something like this, that scans the internet for you B&B name and produces a short report of any mentions say at 9am every day it would make it easier to keep on top of any mentions, google alerts does this to a certain extent but if there are other properties with the same name you get theirs as well, some kind of fine tuning.

Are you kidding me Cambs? indecision That is called a Google Alert. Just set it to find mentions in books, blogs, news, etc.Set it to report daily, weekly or as it happens. You just need to get the settings right for your needs. Google does it for free!

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Aussie Innkeeper's picture
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I actually got an e-mail from Joel. Not sure if he found me on this forum or just how, but no matter. He wanted to know what kinds of challenges I face every day. This is what I responded with:

Thank you for your inquiry. I have a small B&B (5 rooms) in one of the most competitive markets in the eastern US. There are over 150 B&B’s in our county.

What do I struggle most with on a day-to-day basis? That would be the allocation of resources. Whether it be time or money or ‘stuff’. Where to utilize what and when and how are probably the toughest decisions I make every day. For instance, yesterday I spent about 3 hours re-organizing my laundry room. There were no guests in the house (not uncommon for January here) and the place was a mess and I know that 3 hours will come back to me in time I save, but I could also have used that time to blog, send out an e-newsletter or work on my social media marketing. Those alternative things could have brought me some reservation($).

See what I mean? No one teaches you this stuff in innkeeping school. Oh, wait....I didn’t GO to innkeeping school. Well, unless you count that 2-day seminar back in November of ‘06.

Hope that helps you with your research.

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OnTheShore's picture
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Google already does this, and will send you reports of any new web pages it finds, for free -- the service is called "Google Alerts"

Of course this doesn't help with "new" mentions on an existing page that Google has already told you about.

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Camberley did mention Google Alerts in the comment above Eye-wink

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OnTheShore's picture
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Right you are, guess I didn't read carefully enough...

dumitru's picture
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This would be quite difficult to develop.
Have you tried https://en.mention.net/ ?

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We LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA!heart

gillumhouse's picture
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Not a problem here.

Silverspoon's picture
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Nope

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Arks's picture
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I guess the bigger worry would be the guests who threaten to give a bad review if you don't give in to their demands, in other words, blackmail. Luckily, we don't hear of that often at all, but it does happen.

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Dumitru I hope you are reading this...see you are not alone. heart

dumitru's picture
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I am Smiling

At least I have my mug up here Eye-wink

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"So my question for this community is a follow up to what he expressed. Is this a recurring problem (not being able to respond and manage positive/negative social media comments)?"

Absolutely not.

Thanks for asking.

Apparently he is OUT OF TOUCH. cool  If you are here to ask us for information to then DEVELOP an "innkeepers helper", to manage this aspect of innkeeping, then please be transparent and you will get some great responses.

By the way, we have offers to hire this out nearly daily, this is nothing new.  Social media "experts", those who can BLOG for us, "hired guns" for innkeepers online etc etc.  None of us would consider being a "victim" of social media. That is prettt funny however. We actually LOVE IT to the point we rejoice that we can market our inns for free) for the most part) nowadays...

You may have come to the wrong forum for the victims of social media...(sorry I love that line, and have to use it now Joel!)

(PS Glad you are loving B&B's) yes

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