Posts Tagged ‘ riverside hotel ’

Could Social Media Hurt Your Business?

Over the weekend, I heard about how the Riverside Hotel in the UK had “catastrophic collapse in bookings” due to a red flag on its page through TripAdvisor. The red flag claims that they believe that those associated with the hotel were posting fake reviews of the hotel to boost ratings. This occurred when TripAdvisor tracked the IP address of one of the reviews back to the hotel. The hotel claims that one of their guests posted a review while on the hotel’s Internet connection. According to the hotel owner, Deborah Sinclair, the flag on the TripAdvisor page has ruined business.

“When it went up, the phone stopped ringing. I guarantee 100% I’ve not written anything about my hotel on there.”

TripAdvisor recommends to patrons that they don’t review a hotel while they’re staying there, but it isn’t a requirement for posting a review. In my opinion, this isn’t the best system. There will be customers who don’t listen to the rules and recommendations, and will post reviews while staying at a hotel. Should it ruin the hotel’s business?

On the actual page for the hotel on TripAdvisor, the reviews were mixed. While some praise and love the hotel, others hated it. Of course, it’s almost impossible for a business to have 100% customer satisfaction (unless you’re Zappos) so I wasn’t too surprised when I saw the mixed reviews. If the hotel was trying to boost ratings and post fake reviews, you’d think that their ratings would be more consistent with praise.

All of this begs the question, can social media hurt your business? The answer: yes and no.

People will always speak out against businesses they don’t like, or bad experiences that they’ve had with a brand, especially on social media. If your business does get negative feedback through social channels, learn how to deal with it. Boloco does a great job of this by responding to detractors on Twitter without inciting controversy or anger.

Unfortunately cases like the Riverside Hotel are unique, or at least, you don’t hear about them often. To be honest, I’m not sure which side is being truthful in this situation. If the review was fake, then the hotel is paying the price. If TripAdvisor’s review system screwed the hotel over, then clearly there needs to be a major change in their system.

For better or for worse, social media is around to stay. Businesses need to learn how to properly use these channels to gain a larger customer base, and give great customer service. For the Riverside Hotel, they need to forge ahead and develop a strategy to gain back customer support.