Word-of-mouth (WOM) communication is, arguably, one of the most effective marketing strategies, and, in my opinion, is particularly true of smaller, independent businesses, where customer loyalty is valuable.
The unpredictable manner of the hospitality industry means that it is a near impossible feat to satisfy one hundred percent of guests who walk through your doors; according to findings compiled by Dimensional Research, guests are, on average, seven per cent more likely to share a bad customer experience as opposed to a positive one – this figure rose to fifteen per cent via Social Media (click here to access the study).
Now, I have met many individuals who believe that social media is, almost, an invitation for guests to post negative comments about a business, and in a way I suppose that is not so far from the truth. However I find this a very pessimistic way of viewing, what is a relatively low cost marketing channel, with vast, influential, audiences.
If from time-to-time a negative review does arise and the hotel or restaurant has a presence on that particular social site then you have the power to try and rectify the disappointed customer. A recent study, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 68% of customers that left these negative reviews got a response, and 18% of these people became loyal customers as a result, and made additional purchases from the company.
Furthermore, customers who received a response from a company after posting negative feedback about their experience, 33% turned around and posted a positive review, and 34% deleted the original negative review (click here to access the article).
Now, it is not difficult to see, from the figures above, that responding to comments can be beneficial for any establishment, it does however increase time spent on social media, thus increasing costs, but from my perspective is a worthwhile investment.
Lastly I would like to leave you with a line taken from one of TripAdvisor’s 2012 surveys, which reads: “78% of respondents said that seeing a hotel management response makes them believe that the hotel cares more about its guests.”