(Note: this post is for educational purposes only. I do not work for, nor am I affiliated with Hyatt Regency or Hilton hotels or resorts.)
This week in Intro to Multimedia, I’ve been asked to imagine that I am the social media manager responding to two different cases of customer response–one positive, one negative. I am to imagine I am responsible for PR for both Hyatt Regency (Orlando) and The Hilton (Ft. Lauderdale Marina).
Case 1: Hyatt Regency Orlando
Below is an example of a positive customer review left for the hotel:
Although this review is overwhelmingly positive from a score / rating standpoint, and the customer enjoyed their stay and recommended the Hyatt Regency to fellow travelers and vacationers, they clearly ran into some inconveniences during their stay, and didn’t stray from making mention of a few incidents. Even though the customer was able to stay in a high room, they didn’t get the view they had expected. Due to some inclement weather, the pool was not as clean / sightly as usual, and the client’s massage was not as long as they may have liked. Although they had made reservations for the B-Line Diner, they still experienced a wait, and though they appreciated availability of a shuttle service to nearby theme parks, they were a bit put off by the daily parking fees for their own vehicle.
The customer left a generous review despite the little mishaps and inconveniences marring their stay. This is a good opportunity to respond to the customer, let them know their praise is greatly appreciated, and gives the Hyatt a chance to address their concerns.
As a social media manager / PR manager for Hyatt, I would begin my response via public post, and would want to say something along the lines of:
The Hyatt Regency Orlando would like to personally thank you for your recent review of our hotel. We greatly appreciate your comments, and we’re glad you enjoyed your stay with us. We noticed that you experienced a few inconveniences during your stay with us, and we’d like to extend our apologies for anything that may have interrupted your family’s fun…”
First, I’d address the issues that may have been beyond the hotel’s control, and suggest future solutions to inconveniences that could have been avoided this time:
“…We’re sorry to hear that our pool was not in its typical, fine form. As a hotel that accommodates families, we know how important it is to parents that their kids have fun in safe and clean environments. Florida weather can be unpredictable, and we at Hyatt try our best to stay ahead of it.
Next time you visit us, and we hope you will, we recommend staying during the mid to later autumn months. October and November can be especially pleasant, and cooler and sunnier than the warmer parts of the year. Also, if your family enjoys Orlando and its many attractions, the crowds are much lighter during the off season, whether you’re spending the day in a theme park or enjoying the restaurants and facilities here at the Hyatt.
We’re also glad you enjoyed your experience at the B-Line Diner, and we regret your reservation with Fiorenzo was less than satisfactory. When you return, we hope you’ll try one or more of our other restaurants, including Coconuts Poolside Bar & Grill (a good choice for the whole family) and Urban Tide…”
Now, there are a few opportunities to make some conciliatory offers to the customer, particularly regarding parking fees, the massage, and the room reservation, but it’s generally unwise to offer special services, accommodations, or discounts publicly, and this is where I would attempt to continue the conversation via phone or personal email:
“…If you have some time, Hyatt would like to speak with you via email or phone and ask you a few more questions about your stay, and we’d like to ensure that your next visit with us is even better than your last. Please fill out a customer feedback form here and be sure to leave your email and phone number and mention this post, or simply call Hyatt Guest Services at 800.323.7249.”
As a final touch, as was discussed in this week’s lecture, I would sign the post as myself (simply “Chad, Social Media Manager, Hyatt Regency”, or something similarly appropriate). This way, the customer knows that a real person, not an automated response, is replying to their post. This simple touch lets the customer know that their individual experience with Hyatt is important to the hotel.
At this point, if the customer follows through and emails or calls Guest Services, the Hyatt has a chance to remedy some of the customer’s complaints not directly addressed in the public post. For example, Hyatt may offer to reserve the customer a better parking space next time they visit (since there is no other way around the fee other than a special rate, or suggesting cheaper, offsite parking, which may just be more inconvenient). The hotel could also offer a discount on the next room the customer books, making sure the location is precisely as asked for, and, as a last option, the hotel could offer a discount on the customer’s next massage, since the first did not quite meet expectation.
Case 2: The Hilton, Ft. Lauderdale Marina
Below is an example of a negative customer review left for the hotel:
This case is quite different from the positive review left in response to a customer’s experience at the Hyatt in Orlando. The post is critical in every regard, and there are no positive comments to fall back on, but that’s okay. In this case, I think I would elect to use a slightly different approach than I used in response to the Hyatt comments. At least to begin with, I’d take some cues from the Red Cross (and they way they handled this PR crisis) and implement a friendly and professional sense of humor:
We wanted to tell you that we’re grateful that you took the time to comment on your experience staying with us, and we want you to know it will definitely not be ten years before you’ll want to stay with us again!…”
Opening with a bit of humor should help the hotel to connect with the customer, who, at this point, may otherwise have little interest in hearing from Hilton, considering the negative experience they’ve had.
“…Although we’re thrilled to hear that your high school chose us to host your reunion, we’re very sorry to hear that your stay with us was below expectation, and unsatisfactory…”
I’d follow up with an immediate apology and concern regarding the customer’s experience staying at the hotel, and then explain that the hotel is now under completely new management. Again, I would address this professionally but lightheartedly.
“…We hope you’ll be glad to hear that since your stay with us in 2008, the hotel is now under new management, and we are taking much greater care of our customers and much greater pride in our hotel. We’ve embraced change, and done away with many of old management’s ideas, including newspapers in the pool (we feel they’re better suited for the dining area during breakfast) and cold showers (this is Florida, not the North Pole), and we’ve made sure that all of our housekeeping staff are wearing watches, or at least know the location of the nearest clock…”
At this point, it would be a good idea to try and move the conversation to phone or email as with the previous case. This will provide the hotel a chance to invite the customer to come and stay at the Hilton again, perhaps at a one-time, discounted rate, so they can see all the positive changes new management has made.
“…If you have ten minutes, we’d like to spare you a ten-year wait, and speak with you a little more and ask you some questions about your stay via phone ( +1-954-463-4000) or email. We at Hilton would like to know what we can do to make sure you give us another chance the next time you visit the Ft. Lauderdale area.”
As in the first case, I would leave my real, first name on the post and disclose that I am the social media / PR manager for The Hilton Ft. Lauderdale, and direct the customer to the contact info on our website.