Let’s do a little bit of review: why is your tourism brand so important?
Well, it’s the shorthand for your reputation.
It’s the promise you make to your customers - what they should expect, what they’ll experience, and how they’ll be treated.
And then it’s how your customers describe that same experience after the fact. How they talk about you, how they share, and where they share all end up being a part of tourism user-generated content.
Remember what we went over on Day 1: “Your brand isn’t only yours. A brand is also a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization.”
Because a good part of your brand is what others think about it, and because it’s easier than ever to share publicly what we think about companies and services, today we’re focused on:
What are others saying about your tourism brand (and where are they saying it)?
With 87% of millennials saying they use social media for travel inspiration, it’s increasingly more important to make sure you’re a part of that conversation.
Part of any good conversation is listening. Or in this case, social listening, which is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, product, and more.
It’s done in two parts:
What should you listen for, exactly?
Over time, you may want to create a list of easily searchable terms to make the social listening process more automatic. This could include:
Now, what happens when, after all that listening, you don’t like what you hear?
When should you respond to what they’ve said? Especially when it’s negative?
What did we always learn as youngsters… if you don’t have anything nice to say, it’s better not to say anything at all, right?
Unfortunately, not all tourists learn that lesson. Whether they had a bad day, whether you made a mistake, or whether they’re just plain impossible to please, the moment will come when you get…
A bad review.
But it’s not the end of the world.
(Even though it might feel like it.)
In fact, when you respond appropriately, you can come out looking better. Your customers understand that you’re not perfect. They understand not everyone’s going to be pleased. And more than all, they want authenticity. That’s why people trust 4.9 star reviews more than 5 star reviews.
First and foremost, your instinct should be to respond.
Just not right away.
With sites like Tripadvisor, deleting responses to comments can be tricky. On others like Facebook or Instagram, it may seem easier (look! An edit button!) but it’s also possible for customers to take a picture of what you’ve said and display it after the fact.
So, hold on. You might be mad. You might be worried other people will read it. But take 5 or 10 minutes away from the screen. Write down your comments on paper or talk them over with a coworker. Then once you’ve gathered yourself, feel free to respond accordingly.
Here are a few scenarios with negative reviews, and how you can consider responding.
Next steps: after you’ve dealt with the comment, figure out how to keep it from happening again.
If it’s your fault, what can you change?
If there’s a misunderstanding, how can you be more clear in your offer?
If it’s their fault, maybe there’s an opportunity to speak with your team about how they sell the offer.
Because while the occasional negative review won’t sink you - and may in fact make you seem more authentic - regular ones, and repeated ones, could do irreversible damage to your brand.
Be a good (social) listener. To get you active and engaged, use our list from before and adapt it to your tourism project and your destination.
Then put them in a document. Set a reminder to do a search on a regular basis (once a week, once a month, etc.) to get into the habit of tracking these conversations.
We're close to the end of this series. To finish off, we'll talk about next steps once you've established your tourism brand!