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Social Media in Action – The Hotel Inspector

Social Media is brutal but worth its weight in gold

Social Media is brutal but worth its weight in gold

If you ever wanted to understand the importance of social media but were too afraid to ask, then watching this program – The Hotel Inspector on the UK’s fifth channel, ‘Five’ would have been a fine lesson in its power.

The Hotel Inspector is one ‘Alex Polizzi’ who is described as “no nonsense” although she’s no Gordon Ramsey in her type of frankness despite the odd ‘F word’. Alex Polizzi’s first task in the series was dealing with a ‘The Crown Inn’ in Lewes, Sussex. I had a certain nostalgia for the place because I used to go to school in the town up to the age of sixteen and ‘The Crown’ was where I occasionally went with friends when we were trying to persuade the barman that we were eighteen and we did have enough money for a pint.

Getting back to the point, the hotel was simply filthy, slovenly and uncared for by the owner. It was losing guests at the same speed as it was growing bugs in the bathrooms and it lost its ‘three star status’ with the local tourist board (On a side point, I think the tourist board needs to rethink it’s star system. If The Crown dropped from three to two stars, God help anyone whose establishment has two stars).

The key point of the programme was that guests were leaving their comments about the hotel not with the owners but on ‘TripAdvisor‘, the web based hotel review site. The owner of the hotel, Karen Lloyd, was dismissive about people who left their reviews on it – “Haven’t they got better things to do with their time?“. But the fact remained that the negative reviews were the truth about her business and reviews from previous customers are taken seriously by would-be guests.

As I write, the reviews about The Crown show the following results:

Out of twenty-two reviews, fourteen of them were couples.

  • Four say it is excellent
  • Three say it is very good
  • None say it is average
  • Two say it is poor
  • Thirteen say it is terrible

The reality of the web and social media is that whatever you do in business nowadays, if you don’t get it right, there is nowhere to hide. The feedback you receive as a business owner today is immediate, honest if not brutal, and worth it’s weight in gold. Whether your business is large or small, you will soon know if you are doing a good job of it or not.

In the past, you would be asked to fill in feedback by the hotel owner on a piece of paper with no way of knowing if the hotel cared a jot about your feedback. Good hotels and businesses would follow up your feedback. Most would not. That’s history and now the reticent British public has a way to vent their frustration, disappointment and delight with ease.

To be fair, the owner did turn the hotel around and regained her third star which is much to her credit. The morale of the story, nevertheless, is that social media and the web are now driving up the quality in the market of many products and services. If you don’t take the feedback seriously then your competition and prospective customers will do.

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