Seize the op­por­tu­nity

RISKSA Magazine - - News - Due to the promi­nence of

“The shift that every­body is see­ing from a PCbased search en­gine trans­ac­tion view of the world to a mo­bile-based dia­logue, app-based way of re­lat­ing to brands, fun­da­men­tally opens up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for how we can have di­rect con­ver­sa­tions with in­di­vid­ual guests, how we can an­tic­i­pate their needs,” said Star­wood CEO, Frits van Paass­chen, in his in­ter­view with Skift. “Guests had suf­fered a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence at one of the coun­try’s lead­ing lodges. There was no phys­i­cal in­jury to ei­ther of the guests or threat of in­jury, but they had lost their pos­ses­sions as a re­sult of a ran­dom act of God. It had a par­tic­u­larly emo­tive con­nec­tion to them as they were out in the coun­try cel­e­brat­ing an im­por­tant an­niver­sary and a re­newal of their vows. As a re­sult of this act of God, this couldn’t take place. This in­con­ve­nience to­gether with the loss of the guests’ prop­erty re­sulted in them seek­ing com­pen­sa­tion from the in­sured well be­yond what they were en­ti­tled to by law. Dis­sat­is­fied with that, they pro­ceeded to de­fame the lodge on a num­ber of spe­cific plat­forms around hos­pi­tal­ity and around th­ese lodges. “It’s very high risk but at the same time it’s also a very handy tool, to tell guests about up and com­ing dis­counts or any pack­aged deals that they can take ad­van­tage of and also to keep the estab­lish­ment at the top of the po­ten­tial guest's mind,” says Mizen. “What so­cial me­dia and the avail­abil­ity of in­for­ma­tion does from my point of view is; the more you know about my ho­tels and what you can do there, the bet­ter chance we have of you

As­cent - good­will pro­tec­tion cover

this lodge and its re­liance on in­ter­na­tional tourists they needed to re­spond. We as­sisted with the cost of the at­tor­neys who de­fended the client against the guest, and on a legal ba­sis, got the guests to not par­take in any fur­ther defam­a­tory state­ments and equally ap­proached the plat­forms and, through the nec­es­sary chan­nels, had the defam­a­tory com­ments with­drawn or deleted. In ad­di­tion to that, it is be­lieved there were con­cil­ia­tory ges­tures made on be­half of the lodge di­rectly to the guests as an of­fer of good faith at their dis­cre­tion. So the costs of the at­tor­ney in­ter­dict­ing the guest from spread­ing any fur­ther defam­a­tory com­ments on the public domain, and ob­tain­ing the re­moval of the ear­lier defam­a­tory state­ments, were funded by the good­will pro­tec­tion costs ex­ten­sion.”

com­ing and see­ing us” says van Paass­chen. “Frankly, not to sound con­trite about it, it’s forc­ing the ho­tel in­dus­try to do a bet­ter job at cus­tomer ser­vice. It’s forc­ing us to get a bet­ter game. We prob­a­bly should have al­ways had a bet­ter game, but it’s forc­ing us to have a bet­ter one,” said Holmes. Pow­ell em­pha­sises the im­por­tance of re­cruit­ing guests as ‘ brand evan­ge­lists’ by en­cour­ag­ing the dig­i­tal word of mouth – tap­ping into the col­lec­tive opin­ion and ex­pe­ri­ence of pa­trons. He also re­as­sures that gen­uine neg­a­tive re­views need not be dam­ag­ing at all. “If they’re gen­uine, if they’re hon­est, and if they’re few and far be­tween, then they’re ar­guably an op­por­tu­nity not only to show­case how won­der­ful your busi­ness is at re­solv­ing cus­tomer com­plaints, but vi­tal for im­prove­ments to be made to pre­vent a re­cur­rence,” he says. “I think it’s made it a much live­lier con­ver­sa­tion …we get guest feed­back not just through our sur­vey, but through dozens of so­cial me­dia in­sights. That feed­back is…much richer in its depth be­cause it is very much alive. It’s feed­back that of­ten might be given by some­body while they’re still in the ho­tel,” said Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional CEO, Arne Sorensen. “There should be no doubt that an on­line con­tent strat­egy is not only ben­e­fi­cial to a busi­ness but is im­per­a­tive if your en­ter­prise re­lies in any way on on­line traf­fic for mar­ket­ing, sales, bookings, re­fer­rals, etc.” says Pow­ell. “Google your name or your busi­ness name and see what in­for­ma­tion is out there. How much of that in­for­ma­tion did you au­thor and is the in­for­ma­tion re­ally what you want po­ten­tial guests and the public in gen­eral to en­counter when they search you? If yes, you’re on track. If not, then you need an on­line con­tent strat­egy.” “Gen­er­at­ing unique, qual­ity on­line con­tent on a regular ba­sis not only en­ables a busi­ness to keep search re­sults fresh (and pos­i­tive) but is the most ef­fec­tive way of diluting the ef­fects of neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity – much like a drop of cyanide in the ocean,” he adds. “If you go to our web­site or our Face­book group, we pub­lish a lot of in­for­ma­tion on it. For ex­am­ple, in­for­ma­tion about fires, about fire safety, guides to good thatch­ing, the risks of Ebola to South Africa, etc. and we keep it up­dated,” re­ports Muller. Pow­ell has this last piece of ad­vice: “Don’t let a guest check­out with­out hav­ing elicited their views about your estab­lish­ment and your ser­vice. In­vite them (in­cen­tivise them if need be) to ex­press to you how they re­ally felt about your busi­ness. Give them the op­por­tu­nity to speak their mind and you will be given the op­por­tu­nity to make things right be­fore they go.”

CASE STUDY

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