Based on our experience designing websites for hospitality venues such as The Botanist, The Watershed Hotel and SoCal Sydney, we’ve learned that many hospitality marketing managers want to blog, but don’t see it as time-efficient or cost-effective. That’s why we compiled the Hospitality Marketing Manager’s Guide to Blogging, which outlines a 10-point content strategy showing you how to maintain a profitable, lead-generating blog on your hospitality website, even if you only have about 10 minutes of spare time a week.
A common mistake that businesses make with their blogs is either to not give their readers a voice in the conversation or, if they allow readers to post comments, to not respond to them. A hospitality blog should never be a one-sided conversation, because the hospitality business is not a one-way street.
“The customer is always right” has been the axiom of businesses for as long as they have existed in this world, and it is indeed a good policy to live by, particularly in the hospitality industry. Unfortunately, the Digital Age has made it extremely easy for disgruntled customers to voice their opinion for all to hear. It’s understandable that businesses have to be careful as to how vulnerable they leave themselves on blogging platforms and social media. There is safety in numbers, and a few negative comments or tweets can ignite a digital wildfire that besieges a company. As a result, many businesses may feel leery of extending “the customer is always right” to digital channels. Wouldn’t it be better to simply disable or ignore comments on the blog?
In fact, doing that would severely weaken the trust relationship between you and your customers. While you may fear coming under “the tyranny of the masses” by actively responding to comments, that extra effort actually represents a solid customer retention policy. When customers see that you value their feedback and are respectful of their views, they will continue to patronise your venue and recommend it to their friends. By allowing people to post comments and attempting to respond to them regularly, even the negative ones about an unsatisfactory stay or meal at your venue, you’ll be protecting your venue’s bottom line.
Of course you can still be judicious in selecting which comments to answer, but even a brief and courteous reply can go a long way. There’s also no need to get drawn into an argument with a customer. Some netizens simply won’t let the matter drop; in those cases you can reply once or twice and then leave it at that, or invite the commenter to use the website’s contact form for a lengthy message. The main thing is to always take the high road and show patience and understanding.
Blog comments can provide some useful customer feedback, including material for future blog posts. For instance, if there is a common thread running through a lot of the comments, you can address it in another blog post for all your readers to see. Doing this from time to time will demonstrate an awareness of your customers’ questions and concerns. It may also be easier to settle a matter once and for all with a blog post devoted to a particular question that keeps coming up in the comments, instead of trying to reply to the comments individually.
It’s important to keep all channels open with your customers and to remember that in your blog you’re not speaking to a bribed audience. Even those patrons who frequent your venue may have concerns which should be addressed. You’re only hurting your business by responding with silence. Don’t be afraid of blog comments. On the contrary, use them as fuel for new content, better service and ultimately increased revenue.
Thank you for reading the third installment of our series, the Hospitality Marketing Manager’s Guide to Blogging. You can download the full series as a zip file FOR FREE by clicking the link below. The zip file contains the Guide in PDF format for easy reading, as well as a Hospitality Blog Template in both PDF and Word format to help you get started.
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Image © Gabriel Georgescu
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