Remember when a Northumberland fish and chip shop hit the headlines for their TripAdvisor management responses in 2017?
“This is a gross exaggeration of our seating arrangements, which are perfectly acceptable for normal people,” wrote PR manager Tommycat1 in response to someone who had described the seating experience as being “packed like sardines”.
“We don’t serve sardines but your dubious account definitely sounds a bit fishy,” concluded Tommycat1.
TripAdvisor remains a tricky PR channel to deal with for many hospitality operators, but one thing is clear: if you use the management response correctly, it’s a brilliant PR opportunity.
The aforementioned fish and chip shop has remained popular with customers and has achieved a 4 out of 5 rating on the review site.
With that in mind, we thought we’d dig into the archives and finish this year with a light-hearted glimpse at some of the best TripAdvisor management responses out there.
Sorry about my wife
When a guest complained about a member of staff at the Peach and Quiet Hotel in Barbados having “a rather superior attitude”, the owner’s reply must surely have taken them by surprise.
“Yes! My wife does get a bit snooty on the odd occasion. I will have a word with her.”
Granted, the rest of the reply could perhaps do with a polish (the disagreement over high prices isn’t particularly customer-focused), but that closing statement will certainly put a smile on the face of passers-by. And that’s no bad thing at all when it comes to online reputation management.
Where’s my windbreaker?
After leaving a multi award winning restaurant in Sligo, Ireland, an Australian couple were dismayed to find they’d left their glasses and a windbreaker jacket behind. So, they duly phoned the restaurant who promised to forward the items back to their rightful owners.
After a couple of weeks, the couple decided to leave a three-star review on TripAdvisor, questioning the restaurant’s integrity. Having apparently followed up twice with no response and no sign of their items, the review was headed ‘HONESTY NOT DELIVERED’.
The management response?
“I apologise that I had not immediately sent your belongings back to Australia. I should have done a Joe ninety on it and hot tailed it up to the local post office and made your jacket a priority, but unfortunately these things don’t always happen the way you may have planed [sic].”
The respondent, as it turns out, is very tired. With three children “running around the house like gladiators and tearing to pieces while not going to bed on time, rising like ninjas at dawn”, they simply don’t have the time to quickly send lost items back to diners, it seems.
You can read the full response here. Whether or not you agree with the approach as a hospitality operator, it’s hard not to laugh at the no-holds-barred approach adopted by this restaurateur.
Calamity of errors
The Peppermill Restaurant in Nebraska is becoming rather well known on TripAdvisor. We’ll let you be the judge of whether or not that’s a good thing, but the reason for its popularity stems largely from the unique approach taken by Robert J. when it comes to management responses.
As bad reviews go, this is up there:
Well, I should probably warn ya, I’ll be just fine. Yeah! No offense to you, don’t waste your time Here’s why… 1) Two reviews lifetime and the other is a 5 star of our largest competitor. Seems legit. 2) Dollar General is next door and I hear their croutons are a calamity. 3) Come back and get your hundred dollars. This small town, family-owned business absolutely doesn’t need it. Take it down to your local Applebee’s and be miserable there. Because I’m ‘gappy’, Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I’m ‘gappy’, Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. Robert Joseph Ring me up anytime. Maybe the sound of your voice will get Pharrell out of my head.
As creativity goes, that surely takes the top award. And it’d be hard not to raise a wry smile at that if you were the bad reviewer in this instance, wouldn’t it?
Take time to be kind
“I love Hard Rock Edinburgh,” began the 3-star review before descending into a rather callous attack on the appearance of their waiter.
“We were somewhat repulsed by his appearance,” wrote the diner. “A large septum ring in the shape of a horseshoe, accompanied by ear expanders which resulted in gaping holes in his ears…”
The response from manager, Ben G, not only rightly stands up for the member of staff but ends with a sage piece of advice for us all.
Dear Elizabeth, Thank you for your review, I’m sorry that you waited longer than expected and that the table in the bar area was left uncleared, it should not have happened. It’s such a shame you were quite negative about your server’s appearance, since the first café opened in London back in 1971 one of our values has been “Love All – Serve All” – which means no matter who you are, where you from, what you look like, what your background etc. you are welcome at the Hard Rock Café. We can hardly adopt such a value without treating our staff in the same way, can we? Your server has been with us for almost 15 years and is passionate about the brand and offering a great experience, it’s sad you couldn’t look past his appearance and see him for the genuine nice guy that he is. There are hundreds of Hard Rockers all over the world with tattoos and piercings living the same values and delivering a great experience too, hopefully if you get the chance to meet any of them you might remember that they are human beings, just like you… Take Time To Be Kind
It’s thought that TripAdvisor has over 500 million candid traveller reviews on its website, and that number continues to grow.
If you run a hotel or restaurant, ignoring TripAdvisor isn’t an option. It needs to be harnessed and every opportunity to shine taken advantage of.
As these responses demonstrate, it certainly doesn’t hurt to throw in a bit of humour when you feel it’s appropriate to do so. But remember - the world is watching!