Brand Reputation Management

In this week’s assignment for MMC-5006, we are practicing brand reputation management. Below are Sample Trip Advisor reviews of hotel properties – one positive, one negative – for which we are to play the role of Social Media/PR Manager and respond to the reviewer utilizing tips we gained this week in class.

The Positive Review (Well…I suppose this does qualify as a positive review, although I believe it might also win an honorable mention award in the passive-aggressive category.)

Hyatt-example2015

Reply:

We think the Hyatt Regency Orlando is ideal for both corporate travelers and families with kids, and we are so glad that you had opportunity to enjoy the hotel for business and then returned for pleasure. I am especially pleased – and proudly not surprised – to hear that our staff treated you well throughout your stay. I will personally pass along your kind words to Ralph in The Fiorenzo. The next time you come stay with us at the Hyatt Regency here in downtown Orlando, if you will contact me prior to your arrival, I will see what I can do about that poolside view :-).  Happy travels! – Randy Cassimus, Director of Public Relations and Social Media, Hyatt Regency Orlando

My thinking behind the above response to the reviewer is that there was enough positive feedback in the review to not really even address the few minor negative items which, honestly, neither I nor the staff even could or would alter based on the review of one guest – the weather, the restaurant wait, the parking charge, the length of the massage, etc. I concentrated on solely positive aspects, although I did offer a personal connection with the offer of contact on a future stay to see if the guest’s special room/view-type might get a little more attention. In my position, it might be something small and at no cost to the hotel that I could probably advocate and achieve for the guest and further build that relationship.

If I am posting comments from guests on any of the resort’s social media or website, then I would feel perfectly fine using this guest’s initial lines verbatim – “This was our second time visiting your hotel. First was for business, second for pleasure. The facility is lovely with beautiful architecture. The staff was courteous and the new building was amazing.”

The Negative Review  (Wow…I think I’d complain too and would never stay at this place again no matter what, but here goes…)

Hilton-example-2015

Before replying, I would check this site and others for reviews from guests who stayed during the same time period, looking specifically for anyone who mentioned the class reunion. I would also check with Guest Relations and/or Management to see if they had received complaints from this or other guests associated with the class reunion and what the nature of the complaints were. I need to determine if the negative reviewer is legitimate or just a bad apple. If I decide the reviewer is legit and the complaints may have merit, I respond to the negative post quickly.

Reply:

Hello, this is Randy Cassimus, Director of Public Relations and Social Media for the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. I am expressly sorry for your unsatisfactory experience at our hotel last week. I would sincerely like to hear more details about your stay if you would consider contacting me directly at rcassimus@hilton.com or 305-555-5555.

The above response is brief, direct and to the point, and intended to show concern for the reviewer (and to review readers, if possible) as well as to seek and establish a timely offline conversation (before the reviewer takes to social media, if it’s not too late).

Assuming the reviewer contacted me, I would respond by asking detailed questions about the experience, apologize more specifically, and in this case, probably offer, privately, about as much as I am authorized to offer or converse with the General Manager and prod him/her into offering whatever he/she could to make this situation better – free future stay or multiple package upgrades or whatever  – and maybe for more than just the reviewer if I’ve been able to determine that other members of the class reunion gathering had similar poor experiences. I might make some headway using his own “Maybe in 10 Years” headline to cajole him into not waiting nearly that long to give our hotel another shot.

That is a terrible review and likely to cost the hotel future bookings, especially if the reviewer feels slighted by our lack of response/restitution and goes on his personal social media to extend the reach of the negativity – or even worse, gets the rest of the Class of 2005 to do the same!

Regardless of the outcome of my additional (always calm and respectful) interaction with the reviewer, I would work to contact my handy list of fans and friends of the hotel to post truthful positive reviews on the review site in an attempt to bury the negative review in question much further down in the cue.

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