| || |
Writing a restaurant or hotel review can make a difference
October 17, 2012 - Anita Hanaburgh
The face of customer service has changed forever. Last week, I expounded on the use of web ratings and how they are affecting the hospitality industry. Today, I wanted to show you how web ratings have worked for me personally.
I never thought that I would be the type to take the time or even want to tell others about my far-away experience in some far-away town. I thought that formal ratings or reviews written into web sites were written by some vague person, plucked from the sky to give a comment.
I never considered writing a review until I visited Taos, N.M., about a year ago. We arrived in Albuquerque after a long night of delayed flights, sleeping sitting up in silver metal chairs and being rerouted to our destination. Traveling to Taos with my granddaughter and her friend, I had made reservations in a hotel where all three of us could sleep in our own beds. Using Expedia.com, I found the Taos Pueblo Lodge. This hotel was certainly “budget,” at $79 a night.
After a two-hour drive, we found our intended respite. It certainly looked the part: Light ginger adobe buildings, hanging dried red pepper ristas, sketched Indian petroglyphs. My tired eyes were pleased. We wearily walked into the place. It was 11 a.m. A friendly voice said, “Welcome.” “Oh, hi,” I responded. “I’m the lady with plane trouble who called and canceled my last night’s reservations.”
“Oh yes, Mrs. Hanaburgh, we have refunded that for you.” Perfect.
She smiled at the girls.
“There are fresh chocolate chip cookies over there, milk and juice in the cooler.” Perfect.
“Is it too early to check in?” I asked, leaning heavily on the counter. “We missed last night.”
“I think I can arrange that,” she said. Perfect answer. I was beginning to think I was in love with this woman.
We drove right up to the room. It was much larger than expected, clean, with New Mexican decor with a fireplace. While the girls enjoyed the pool and hot tub, I walked, as directed by my new friend, to a fabulous fresh market for some lunch to fit into the provided mini-fridge. After a snack on the small patio table, we took our much-needed nap. The beds were comfy: not five-star cotton, but more like my mom’s cotton.
This hotel was an oasis in the desert with an easy stroll to downtown. Its “continental breakfast” was unique and generous with choices to please a vegan, a fussy kid and a dieting grandmother. I appreciated this hotel, and its merits deserved to be shared, so I wrote and told Trip Advisor about it. I had never done that before. Oh, busboy, it was a big deal for me at the time. I had to register, sign in, get a reviewer name and write the review. It felt good to give credit to a job well done. Since then, Trip Advisor emails me every so often to let me know about the status of my review. At the time I reviewed El Pueblo Lodge, there were 12 reviews for that hotel on Trip Advisor. Now there are 309 reviews. El Pueblo is now rated the No. 1 hotel in Taos, and my review has had 376 readers. I have 17 “likes” and 44 “helpful” ratings.
I believe that my review made a difference. I believe that others visited the hotel based on my recommendation. Oh, busboy, people who didn’t know me from Adam listened to what I had to say and gave the hotel a try. That’s exactly how the system works.
Please note that I happen to use Trip Advisor, but there are many other valuable review sites, and many companies today post their own reviews. Companies realize their customers are their most valuable advocates, and when their customers share their credible opinions via reviews, it increases sales of their products and services.
According to econsultancy.com, 82 percent of consumers say they find reviews “extremely valuable or valuable.” It is noted that readers trust customer reviews more that the businesses’ own description of the product or service.
Trip Advisor states it is the world’s largest social travel network, with more than 100 million travelers having used it. Trip Advisor states it does not post reviews instantly to its web site, but the reviews go through a verification process which considers the email address of the author and tries to detect any suspicious patterns or obscene or abusive language.
I have only “reviewed” three things in my life — that hotel, an activity, and a restaurant. I mostly use Trip Advisor to read the reviews. Before visiting a city, I check out the reviews.
Today, for an upcoming trip, I am checking reviews of hotels half-way around the world. A travel agent made the reservations, but today I want to find out about these the hotels and check nearby restaurants. My grandchildren recently moved to Wilmington, N.C. Before they left, I checked to see what activities were available in their new city.
But reviews are not just for travelers. Check out your hometown hotels, activities and restaurants, and maybe try your hand at writing a review.
Comments? Readers may write to email@example.com.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment
News, Blogs & Events Web