Posts Tagged ‘Trip Advisor’

AgreementI love the online Wikipedia definition of hospitality -  “the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. Specifically, this includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. The relationship starts with that first phone call from the guest or from the guest visiting a properties website. The Internet gives potential guests the ability to find out a lot of information about a property before they commit to a reservation, a.k.a. a business relationship. A guest can look at pictures, visit Facebook, Twitter and read reviews. The Innkeeper unfortunately, if the guest is a first time visitor, does not know anything about the person that will sleep in their establishment. The ability to know as much about a guest before they come to stay at a lodging is priceless for the proprietor. Small details about a guest can lead to little touches made to the room before the guests checks in. My online reservation system has a notes section. A guest can indicate that they have a food allergy or they are allergic to feathers.  There is also a small pull down button that a guest can indicate if they are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon or other special occasion. These small details are good, but more information about the guest would be helpful in managing expectations and the business relationship.

I recently had a guest that wrote a Trip Advisor review for the Camden Windward House Bed and Breakfast. The review was very favorable and I was delighted that the guest was happy with his stay. What I found most interesting was that this guest was a Top Contributor Reviewer on Trip Advisor. If I had known that this person had such a designation, perhaps I would have tried a little harder to impress him. Fortunately the service was great without having known. Current travel trends show travelers trying to leverage the review benefits. A community of reviewers have developed the Reviewer Card. The Reviewer Card rewards members with the promise of premium service. Flash this card at a hospitality business and the staff knows to impress.  So here is my idea, reservation systems should allow guests to make a reservation with their Trip Advisor Id. You can log into Trip Advisor with your Facebook Account, why not log in to a reservation system with the Trip Advisor Id? The guest can expect a special kind of service and the Innkeeper will have the chance to wow the guest. Knowing that a guest writes reviews put staff on their toes. Not only will the proprietor try to impress, but after reading the guests past reviews, the proprietor will know if there are specific issues that the guest had in the past. For example, if a guest reviewed a property and complained about a noisy street, then the proprietor can move the guest to a room that is quiet and away from the street. If a guest wrote that she or she enjoyed having fresh flowers in their room, then the proprietor could put flowers in the room.

I think it is time that the hospitality business insist that the relationship between the guest and the proprietor be on a level field to foster a beautiful relationship. I encourage Trip Advisor and Reservation Systems to work together to benefit the hospitality business.

Travelers from around the world – I do not speak Italian – but I think it is good!
“Peccato una sola notte!”
5 of 5 starsReviewed November 23, 2012 NEW

Il B&B è davvero carino, l’abitazione tipica del Maine. Le camere sono spaziosissime, comode e molto pulite. I letti grandi e avvolgenti. La biancheria ricercata e morbidissima. Il bagno funzionale e pulito (la doccia, in particolare, é fantastica). La camera aveva anche un caminetto a gas d’atmosfera e, in una fredda giornata di pioggia é stato l’ideale per riscaldare un po’ l’ambiente e regalarci un po’ di relax dopo una lunga traversata in auto sotto una pioggia battente che non ci ha dato tregua un minuto. Il “Windward B&B” è stato solo una tappa del nostro lungo viaggio nel New England, ma avrebbe sicuramente meritato di più. Le colazioni di Kristi, poi sono state davvero fantastiche, naturali, ricche e anche la stanza in cui vengono servite ha l’atmosfera giusta e Kristi stessa é stata molto gentile e ci ha consigliato un percorso in auto al termine del quale si poteva godere di un panorama davvero imperdibile. Buono il rapporto qualità/prezzo, anche se devo precisare che abbiamo viaggiato in bassa stagione. Il paesino di Camden é delizioso.

I am writing this on the evening of the first day of summer. I am anxious about the next 133 days ahead of me.  I was told today by my Innkeepers group that there are 133 days in the season – 133 days of  rising early, working hard and going to bed late. If you are in the tourism industry – you know what I mean. The reservations for the Inn this year are a little off, guests are not booking that far in advance and it is hard to plan for the season. I think the Internet, the weather, gas prices, the economy and trip advisor all play a big part in the picture. Travelers can see how many rooms you have available, how much your competitor is selling a similar room, what the weather is going to be, and what others are saying about you in roughly 30 seconds. After looking at the advance reservations I decided that I had to evaluate the businesses marketing plan and do something. I have been doing all the same strategies for the past 3 years and the last 3 years have been pretty good, I can not complain. This year seems different, and I am not sure why. Are people really starting to hold onto their money tighter? The tv keeps saying the economy is getting better. Are gas prices really keeping people home? 2 years ago the gas price went as high as $4.00 and that season I did really well. The only thing I noticed that was different was that for the last 2 years, Camden Windward House was in the top 3 of lodgings in Camden Maine. This year we are #9. We had a rough year last year with Trip Advisor. We had 2 very unhappy guests. 1 guest, whom was here for one night, wrote something so horrible I had to hire a liable lawyer to start an action against Trip Advisor. After spending a lot of money, the guest took the really bad parts of her review down, but kept a bad rating and comment up. The guest said if I had only given her money back, she would take it all down. I am not sure where the line of blackmail starts but that’s what it felt like. After that experience with the guest, I swore never to trust Trip Advisor again. But now I am starting to think, I can not ignore the power of such a well visited  site. So many people go there specifically looking for what I sell.

Last month I did what I never thought I would do. I bought a business listing on Trip Advisor. I decided to give the site another chance, a chance to prove that good things can come from such a well visited site. Over the winter Jesse and I did a lot of maintenance at the Inn, trying to polish the rooms and put our best foot forward. We are confident in our product and hope the guests will acknowledge our good intentions and hard work.  Today I even sent out a mass email asking past guests for a review on this site. I can’t tell you how nervous I am about reading the reviews. Will we get more bad reviews? Will the guests praise us and raise us to the top 3 lodgings in Camden?  Only time will tell. I should follow up in approximately 134 days. If you got one of my emails today – please be kind!!  Hope your season is great!!!!

Switch to our mobile site