The guest and customer is now in control. Third party review sites and your own social media sites let people praise and rant in front of the world, not just a small group of people who happen to be in your hotel, tour company office and on one of your tours. People will be people and their rants, the anti-social media, are louder than any positive reviews that you receive daily or hourly, and guests know it.
Don’t be held hostage by anti-social media
When people are on vacation they bring not only their luggage but some personal baggage as well, and knowing how to deal with this is the art of the tourism industry. Vacations are for many a once in a life time event and expectations are high, as they should be. People have worked hard to get this 7 day vacation in your destination and it is up to you to make sure that they expectations are met. Understanding people’s expectations first will bring you miles ahead and will have you get closer to their expectations when they arrive. If you do this, anti-social media could be less and your reputation will grow and not be harmed if you take just a few steps to make sure your tourism business is doing all you can to meet expectations.
Social media builds relationships before Guests arrive
Social media enables people to build a relationship with you and you with them before they arrive and in some cases before they book. This is the opportunity to make sure that what you offer matches that of the guest. Referring a potential guest to accommodations that could be better suited for their needs, or booking them on an alternative tour that seems to match their physical strength or cultural desires is better for your business than to take the money, hope for the best and then have to deal with a lot of anti-social media that could kill your reputation due to a poor match.
Use social media to learn more about your guests and if they are well suited for your tourism business. Referring them to a more appropriate business will gain you more points than booking them and having them rant on social media and third party sites like Tripadvisor, Yelp or Opentable. Repairing your reputation is far harder than losing a few dollars and is way more costly.
Check your digital media message
If your digital media message about your tourism business is not what you are actually offering, take inventory and make it match what your tourism business actually delivers. People will rant when they see photos that are not actual reflections of what you are offering, if testimonials are not real testimonials from previous guests who enjoyed your tourism services, if what you have promised to deliver is not delivered. Sorry we dont have that today, is not a great excuse. If you say you offer breakfast, offer a great breakfast, not just an okay breakfast, a really good breakfast. If you say that your tour has all safety gear have it and make sure it works. If you offer multiple languages, have guides with the language requested. Many anti-social media remarks are true as we have made promises and we did not deliver that day, just that day. Take stock, and make sure you are offering what you promised. Don’t give people the opportunity…to vent.
Teach your social media manager how to deal with anti-social messages
You know your staff best, so take the time to deal not only with how to post but how to deal with negative messages on social media. These messages need to be dealt with immediately and deleting them off your Facebook wall or timeline is not the way to do it. Give your social media coordinator tools to deal with these situations and always have the door open so they can discuss tough challenges.
Follow up with your guests before they become anti-social
If you beat them to the punch by emailing them for feedback, 8 times out of 10 if a guest is unhappy, they will let you know on email when you initiate the conversation instead of on social media. beat them to the punch, get to them first. If they share positive information ask them to share it on social media, if it is less then positive thank the gods that you can deal with their dissatisfaction privately, not publicly.
Your reputation is all you have, align your services with the right guests, learn about your guests in advance, make sure your media message is in line with what you are offering and follow up to find out how you did. This will help you stay under the anti-social media radar most of the time, and build your reputation online through positive feedback, not a disgruntled guest who needs to find a place to vent.