There was a great article that came out a few days ago, Why Every Minute Counts When It Comes to Social Media Complaints http://www.openforum.com/articles/why-every-minute-counts-when-it-comes-to-social-media-complaints?extlink=em-openf-SBdaily
A quote from here that I find meaningful: A whopping 88 percent of customers said that if confronted with unanswered complaints on a company’s social media site, they’d be either somewhat less likely or far less likely to do business with the company in the future. I would agree with that statement 100%.
I had an innkeeper direct message me shortly after I tweeted the link, “well doesn’t that make businesses want to have less of a presence on social media?“
To answer the question, no, it makes it even MORE important to have a presence on social media, and to set accounts up on them and even if you not going to use them or use them heavily, monitor them and be set to react when and if someone tweets, posts or comments about your inn.
Think about it, which would you rather have, someone post a comment on your Facebook page (where yes you do have the ability to delete the post, although not recommended) but you have the ability to respond, acknowledge and control the conversation OR have them post on Tripadvisor, where even if you have signed up and are able to post a management response, you may be told that TA won’t approve the rebuttal, and from what I understand many innkeepers have had this issue.
The additional reason to use social media as a venue for getting feedback, whether it be positive or negative, is that posts on social media vs review site posts (especially Tripadvisor) is that their shelf life is short (online visibility), a comment on a blog post (that is responded to) or a post of Facebook (which after a certain number of months you probably “could” delete) retreats in importance to others viewing it as more blog or FB posts are added, the same with other social media mediums. A positive comment can be brought up to front and center attention, but YOU control it.
A negative post on Tripadvisor is there forever including the fact that TA has its review ratings chart at the very top, so someone can click instantly to a negative post (even if it’s from 2008). TA never lets you forget.
What about twitter though? You can’t delete someone else’s tweet, but you CAN respond to it and people seeing your response and their tweet can see that you have addressed it. Even if you don’t want to be on twitter at all, I would still monitor it and be ready at a moments notice to create a twitter account to respond to an issue.
While the number of complaints on twitter about issues in hotels far far exceeds the number of complaints on twitter about B&Bs, people do complain there, to the tune of several dozen per week. To date I have only seen one B&B actually respond. Again the number of complaints is very very low, but they do occur.
Most are complaints that innkeepers should be paying attention to (I would want to know if I was one). Drafty rooms, cold showers, clogged sinks, abandoned X-rated videos under the bed. While not all the complaints are totally negative, just like Tripadvisor reviews, take a moment to consider them. The videos under the bed for instance, maybe make sure you or your assistant innkeeper start checking/cleaning under the beds a tad more often? The tweet mentioning that particular one seemed to find it hilarious.
The important thing to remember here is that on your own social media turf YOU control what goes on, on a review site you are at the mercy of someone else’s platform. More and more people are taking to social media to discuss things, positive things and negative things, inns can’t use the excuse that they don’t have time to pay attention to it, because it’s becoming more and more important for reputation management.
Related article: The Art of Responding to review sites for restaurants and lodging. http://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/the-art-of-responding-to-review-sites-for-restaurants-and-lodging/