An unapologetic look at Hospitality

Entries tagged as ‘tripadvisor’

Blame yourself, not the customer!

June 26, 2011 · Leave a Comment

Ever booked a hotel at a great rate only to find an ever lower price the next day? Happens all the time right?

But if the sign outside your front door says 59 dollars, maybe it’s not such a good idea to list your room on mytotallycheaphotelrooms.com.au (yes I made that one up) for 79. That’s what happened to an obviously annoyed tripadvisor reviewer.

…and if we had not paid in advance, we would have moved on. Rate we paid was around $79 and when we arrived there was a sign outside advertising rooms “from $59”. I feel we vastly overpaid for what we got.

Oops! But what is really surprising is the response from the management of the property.

If you paid a 3rd party agency in advance, we are unable to accommodate that kind of issue. Booking direct with ANY hotel is always the best method of booking.

Come again? No, it’s highly unlikely that this guest will come again. I have no idea what happened here, but not refunding because the room was booked through a third party agent, really? Of course I have no idea which third party agent the customer booked through, but it seems to me that the hotelier padded the room rate with the commission he is paying out to the OTA.  Of course booking direct is sage advice, but not as an excuse for your unwillingness to accommodate a customer.

NO REFUNDSYou are the master of your domain! You set those rates on the various channels, or at the very least should be aware of how you allow third parties to adjust them. To the consumer it makes no difference. We all make mistakes, but this could have easily be turned into a positive.

While we do indeed offer rooms at a lower price, one of those rooms would not have accommodated your party as they contain only single beds without room for a roll-away.

It’s sad to see that in an industry dedicated to people’s comfort this kind of stuff is going on. Worse yet, that we hide behind 3rd party agencies to cover our own shortcomings and even feel the need to do so on a review web site with millions of visitors. But… this is the beauty of social media. The customer has a voice. It’s now our job to learn to deal with that voice. Of course anyone that puts a sign in the lobby saying “Absolutely NO refunds without Manager’s approval” may have a hard time with that learning process!

What are your horror stories about dealing with unhappy customers? Leave a comment and let me know.

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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@HospitalityStat

May 13, 2011 · Leave a Comment

That list of Twitter updates over to the right of what you are reading, is my attempt at collecting interesting stats on the “social hotel industry” (or: how the hotel industry is using social media). I am a geek and I automated most of it. Sometimes that goes wrong… It just did for TripAdvisor. The cobbled together stuff I use to grab information from TA went on the fritz. On my other site, I am explaining in just a bit more detail what the heck happened.

Categories: Social
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No Vacancy 2011 – Social Media is a scam!

April 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

On March 23rd the No Vacancy conference was on in Sydney, Australia. I was supposed to go but instead I got stuck in the office dealing with real business. You know how that goes, someone has to stay behind making sure service to our customers isn’t interrupted. I was stuck following the events through various live-blogs, Twitter and the likes. What follows are a few highlights of #novac11 as seen through the eyes of an absentee.

William ShatnerFinding himself amidst several key-players in the socio-sphere, I couldn’t help but think that Mister Glenn Fogel of priceline.com should have gotten the price for gutsiest performance. Either that, or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Given that you don’t just become EVP of a company that large on good looks alone, maybe there is something he knows that we don’t. But to paraphrase, he called social media people scammers. Hmm! As the Web In Travel folks asked on their Facebook page. Did he say that out of fear or conviction?

The exact quote got somewhat lost in the shuffle for me (that in itself is an interesting side-effect of social media). Web In Travel used the term charlatans, while the Tnooz live-blogger Graham Robertson quoted Fogel as saying,  “No one understands if social media will work out. They are hucksters trying to steal your money.” Hmm times two!

To be fair to Glenn, he seemed to have mostly been talking about buying advertizing space on social networks. I am with Glenn at least on that one.  I don’t think an ad on Facebook will ever be more than marginally successful. In the greater scheme of things however, saying that no one understands social media flies directly in the face of soc. media success stories. A few of which being told at #novac11 that very same day.

Take for instance Accor hotels putting TripAdvisor reviews right on their own web site(s). That is a bold move! And it’s not just some test in a backwater market where nobody ever books a hotel either. During #novac2011, Accor’s Australian VP  Simon McGrath explained that Accor saw a booking increase at properties with lots of review traffic compared to those with less reviews. When asked why Accor didn’t use their own review system, McGrath’s answer was that TripAdvisor, as a third party, had much more credibility.

In the end it’s simple. Who do you trust? William Shatner or your neighbor?

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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One loudmouth does not a mob make…

January 28, 2011 · Leave a Comment

DISCLAIMER: This article does not represent the views of the company I work for nor any of its employees. They are mine and mine alone. In other words, it’s an opinion piece. Take it or leave it!

This article first appeared on jeroenschouten.com

With that out of the way… Some of you may be aware that I work in the hospitality industry. The company I work for specializes in competitive analysis. In short, that means we spy on hotels on behalf of competing hotels (that’s the best explanation I can muster in half a paragraph). I am also a social media junkie, have given presentations related to social media at several conferences and pretty much live on Facebook and Twitter.

I am compiling stats on social media and hospitality for a presentation I am working on. Looking at some of these, I was reminded of the complaints being voiced by a large contingency of hoteliers on LinkedIn.

While I understand that if it’s your job to make people feel welcome as best you can, you get peeved when one of them starts badmouthing you all over the Internet, it’s really not that bad! At least, that is what the data I am looking at suggests (and may I just add here that it seriously speeds up the research, that a new product we — my company — are working on deals with social media). (more…)

Categories: Hospitality · Social
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