Many business consultants advise “putting yourself in your customer’s shoes”, to test your product or customer service levels. The tourism industry is the one place where this is quite easy to do, since we all go away on holiday now and then (or try to!).
On planning a ski trip to Argentina last year, I was interested to find myself on the other side of the internet research and online booking process. I started by asking friends who had been there about their experience and recommendations. Then I read as much as I could online, finding good information from local and regional tourism sites, as well as commercial sites specifically promoting skiing. Once I had more of an idea about regions and what the operators offered, I started looking at available accommodation on several different web sites to compare prices.
When I had the names of the properties I was interested in, I went to TripAdvisor to see what people who had been there already had to say. And yes – what I read there often changed my mind.
Finally, I booked online. Where the property had a good web site and online booking system that made it easy to book directly on their own site, I did that. In other instances I booked on Booking.com, since I knew the brand name and had used them in the past with success. For the actual ski passes and transfers I used a South African travel agent who advertised herself as an expert on Argentina, since it was much easier to deal with her than a Spanish-speaking operator.
What lessons did I learn?
We’re excited to announce an exclusive 25% discount for NightsBridge clients on a TripAdvisor Business Listing. The promo code to qualify for the discount on a new Business Listing is available from now till the end of December 2011. If you already have a Business Listing and want to renew it during this period, the discount also applies.
What is a Business Listing?
Any B&B or Guest House can sign up for a free account to respond to guest reviews, update business details and enhance the listing with great photos.
The Business Listing product, however, allows you to:
- Put your own web address, email address and telephone number on your TripAdvisor page;
- Create Special Offers to increase your visibility;
- Show your direct contact details on the TripAdvisor mobile site and app.
By Martin Hatchuel – http://www.thistourismweek.co.za
One of the most consistent queries one receives as a marketing consultant is: ‘How do I manage negative comments on TripAdvisor?’
The simple truth is that in the digital world, you’re going to get lambasted by someone, somewhere, at some time. In the old days, that was OK – the lambaster was kind of confined to his or her circle of acquaintances. And if he or she was looking for a wider audience, that would have meant paying for advertising, and that would have cost actual money. But if you shouted loudly enough (through your advertising budget and via your public relations consultants), you could drown their message with yours.
The problem being, of course, that advertising and PR have never been as effective as word of mouth, and the lambaster’s lambastings would still have hurt.
If you knew about them.
Sadly, only the goalposts have moved: speech really is free these days, and any nutjob with access to the net can try and ruin your reputation by going on line and posting negative comments about you. Read more