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Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 15 – How to Deal With a Social Media or PR Crisis

Your social fan base can be one of your hotel’s best assets and word-of-mouth exposure can be priceless.  However massive social exposure is not always a good thing…

So what do you do when a guest tweets a photo of bedbugs, or someone posts a scathing review on TripAdvisor?  In this episode we discuss the three tactics for mitigating the damage when the social stuff hits the fan (S-SHTF) and even turning it into a win.

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In The News

Expedia Purchases Photo Sharing Site: http://www.dgitaltrends.com/photography/expedia-acquisition-acquires-trover-travel-photography/ This combined with Orbits and CheapTickets expanding their reviews to rental cars is a sign that the OTAs are looking to chip away at the TA marketshare

Google releases new ways to edit Google Maps listings.

https://maps.googleblog.com/2016/07/more-ways-to-share-your-street-smarts.html

How many hotels have jumped on the Pokemon GO Bandwagon

http://www.ryansolutions.com/blog/2016/pokemon-go-hotels/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=buttonDBBOXr&utm_campaign=stash

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Show Notes:

Examples of S-SHTF

Strategy 1: Lemons into Lemonade

  • This should be your default strategy for negative social press
  • Find guess with small issues and turn into big wins (Giraffe example)
  • You are building your positive social brand here
  • Monitor beyond your # or @.  Watch for brand and destination keywords

Strategy 2: Embrace and Turn

  • Creating content to own the search results
  • Become the uber-expert
  • Be aggressive and overwhelm the negative

Strategy 3: Own Up And Apologize

  • Own it fast if you’re going to own it at all.  You don’t want to be perceived as doing this as a last resort.
  • Be sincere and direct in your apology
  • Be “over the top” in terms of making it right.

Strategy 4: Fight!

  • This is the riskiest of all strategies because you can easily become the big corporation attacking the little guy.
  • Clear cut case of right v/s wrong
  • Clear evidence to the point
  • Prove your point but be nice and always take the high ground
  • Humor helps to break the tension

Strategy 5: Passively Monitor

  • WARNING: Be careful you are not missing an opportunity to turn an upset customer into a lifelong guest.
  • WARNING: Be sure your head is not in the sand
  • A good strategy if the issue is just a single comment/post and you believe any involvement will only add gas to a dying fire
  • Note the potential problem and address internally
  • Prepare in case your strategy needs to change

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Prepare In Advance for a S-SHTF

The time to prepare is before the crisis hits.  Take a page from Marriott’s playbook and create a detailed crisis plan (2001 plan released on Wikileaks) http://loyaltylobby.com/2013/10/15/marriott-crisis-management-guide/

  1. Have a Plan –
  2. Involve The Team –
  3. Build Social Capital Now –
  4. Monitor and prepare to react –

https://www.revinate.com/blog/2013/05/best-practices-in-hotel-crisis-management/

Success Stories:

  • The Bed Bug Hotel – Addressed and owned the story
    • Addressed personal questions
    • Created content educating guests about their bed bug procedure (really cool)
  • The Murder Scene Hotel – Won with content
    • (did they address the issue directly?)
    • Created a series of videos to bury the negative
  • Joshie the Giraffe and Ritz Carlton – Lemons into lemonade
    (lost once – found, lost again at another hotel – replaced by Ritz)

  • Death at the Grand Floridian – Apologize and make right
    • Over the top response at Disney including closing all beaches
    • Fences
    • Disney CEO Bob Iger personally calling family
    • Provided information, was transparent, and helped

Fail Stories:

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The 5 “A’s” Of A PR Crisis (credit to Forbes)

  • Assess. Calmly, despite the stress, identify the issue and determine the best course of action.
  • Admit. If you were at fault (or worse, lying) admit the transgression quickly and directly
  • Address. Specifically address what you are admitting and apologizing for.  Don’t mince words, be direct and succinct.
  • Atone. Make right what you made wrong.  Detail out your plan to ensure (1) you fix the issue and (2) layout out plan for it to not happen again.
  • Adapt. Move on a better person or company.  It’s time to begin repairing and rebuilding you social capital

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FINAL THOUGHT:

Understand even the best brands will hit social stumbling blocks, how you handle the issue will define your brand moving forward.

Follow Us on Twitter:

@fueltravel
@stuartbutler
@makavanagh
@pforiska
@pdimaio


Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @fueltravel. Download our leisure travel study at www.fueltravel.com/study/.

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