One of the industries that gets more benefits from social media is tourism. More and more travelers use social media to get information about their destinations and also use other travelers references to know if a company is trustworthy or at least if it offers good service.
But it seems like some business are not understanding how a business should be run nor how to deal with internet factors all business now have to deal with, and a clear example of this is The Union Street Guest House at Hudson, New York, which a couple of years ago started applying a $500 fine for every bad review they get from their hosts or their hosts’ event attendees.
The policy reads like this:
“If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone on your party and/or attending your wedding or event”
That is unless the bad review is taken down, if that’s the case then they will refund the $500 fine.
Right now the policy issue has gone viral and the hotel has now more than enough bad reviews on Yelp.
Customers are angry and they sure have a reason to be. According to the bad reviews they have on Yelp, the policy is not the only bad thing they have, customers complain about poor customer service as well.
This is the response the hotel gave on their Facebook page:
“The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.”
And now everyone is calling them liars, 165 (and growing) awful comments , opinions and experiences on their services are filling their Facebook fan page, and although it appears that internet users have now declared a war on the USGH, we must appreciate their huge mistake and learn from it.
Here are 4 things every small business has to learn about the power of the Internet and Social Media:
1. Everything Published on the Internet is Accessible to Users Worldwide
That’s why you have to be very careful on how you run your business, what you say, what you do and how you solve your business dilemmas. Many users all over the world are in need of your services and you will never know who could be your next customer.
2. Social Media Has More Power Than You Think
Even though you might think no one pays attention to your posts or comments on your social media, everyone does, and anything you publish will have a strong effect on your company’s image, so try to manage it wisely or have someone to do it for you.
3. Covering Up a Mistake Sometimes Is Even Worse Than The Mistake Itself
This is a ground rule, there is no way you’re going to get away with a mistake with a lie; lying will only make things worst. If you make a huge mistake or take a bad decision for your company, just be honest with your customers, tell them you messed up and offer to fix the problem, they will appreciate your honesty. Your customers are smart and can recognize a dishonest business from miles away!
4. Hire a Marketing Agency
Having a marketing agency to manage your business image can really help you take the best decisions over these kind of situations. Good marketing can solve any problem, and there are plenty of cases in which marketing has played it well enough to make people forgive and forget the issue, and they go from presidential scandals to small coffee shop mistakes.
At this point, is not only smart to have a marketing agency to help on your business, it is completely necessary.
In conclusion, if you want to destroy your business reputation in a second just follow Union Street Guest House’s example and ignore the advice we give you, but if you want to exceed your customer’s expectations then you know what to do.