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The great TripAdvisor debate – part two

2011 October 12

The TripAdvisor debate continues!

I have been threatened with TripAdvisor and told we will put a bad review up about your Country House and on any further forum we can find.  Why? Because their child had taken a biro pen and stabbed a wardrobe (making holes) and drawn all over it and the sofa, along with cutting the kitchen floor with a pair of scissors.  The client admitted they had done the damage but refused even make a contribution and told me it was their fault they had no control over their 5 year old child.  The classic other one is when on a very rare occasion, normally the busy weekends in the calendar, Beaulieu Auto Jumble, Bank Holiday, May bank holiday and half term the noise level is higher than any other time. One client may have been very ‘naughty’ and made a little noise coming in at 11 pm, probably due to a few glasses of wine and the following morning I am told if I do not reduce the bill they will put it on TripAdvisor and other review sites telling people what a lousy place to Leyland Country House is.  I am given no option but to reduce the bill.

Of course we do have the professional complainers few and far between but all the same to come with a very large Health Warning!  They complain before they have even seen the room!  It can start as early as at the front door! Or if we are very unlucky with a phone call on their way down insisting they have early entry while the previous client is still tucked up in bed having yet to check out!

I have never been rude or unpleasant to any client despite the fact that has not been the case from their side.  My children, have been shouted at by clients who are upset, so have my staff and so have I.  None of the things have been life threatening, mainly it has been because water bottles had been forgotten, a cork screw broke in the top of a top of wine bottle, easily removed by myself but not before my youngest son got verbally shouted at, wrong coloured toast or not quick enough to clear the tables.  It is all in a day’s work here and I tell  the staff to keep smiling it will all come out in the wash.  Clients who realise they have been rude apologise for their whole stay as they know they have been unreasonable. Others will never learn.

My heart jumps when I see the ‘Review Alert’ from TripAdvisor in my inbox, will it be good, bad or very ugly? So much is down to perception and on occasions nothing will be right for certain clients has their mind set is off kilter. Yes, we do make mistakes; I am always honest and I accept responsibility for everything we do wrong. We offer flowers, champagne, a bottle of wine, a free spa pass or a discount on the next visit. I am very glad to say it has only happened 4 times this year, but we have learnt from the experience and addressed all the issues in hand.

Having had a German couple stay who professed the English Breakfast we served was the best they had ever had.  I asked if they used a site called TripAdvisor, to which they replied, ‘NO!’ – because they said they have stayed at places where people had said on the review that they were dreadful and when you arrive it is beautiful.

I really do try incredibly hard to ensure every little detail is covered by myself and the girls that work for me. It is a tough job.  I am sure my staff love me (of course!) but my goodness they think I am a fusspot!  This is a tough market place and very difficult to stay in business in the present climate.  Do customers really wish to destroy high quality, professional and Great British establishments that we should be proud of and encourage to stay in business not critizise them within an inch of their businesses.  Please just have a chat with us, we will listen and your feed back is very much valued.  I really do not take much pleasure in doing Management responses on TripAdvisor, but if I do not other clients read it that we do not care.  My responses on TripAdvisor have become Legend and create great entertainment in my home town of Lymington.

Let’s all work together to make our British products the most wanted in the globe.  With this world recession also comes opportunity.  It is there all around us, if we have the best quality, the highest customer service and show the best of British we will win through this recession.

Thank you till next week,

Liese xx


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