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Posting Online Reviews - Low ResSocial Media Policy

Recently I read an article about a hotel that had a unique social media policy written into their special event contracts. This hotel was built in the 1830s and appears to specialize in weddings.  The property looks to be quite beautiful; however, their social media policy is not. It appears that the hotel is concerned about any negative comments that are posted via social media or any other Internet site.  An article from quotes the following online policy from the hotel:
“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” reads an online policy. “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.”
This tells me the hotel fears for its reputation, and fear can cause a loss of customer confidence.  Are they capable of delivering a great experience? And, why would anyone want to sign a contract with a hotel, or any business for that matter, that would require a guest to sign away their rights, and their guests’ rights, to their freedom of speech?

I’m visualizing the wedding invitation with a footnote that reads:

We love this hotel, but you might not. So, if you don’t, please, please, please don’t post a negative review on the Internet. The hotel will charge us $500 if you do. Thanks in advance, and we’ll see you at the wedding! Contrast this with the hotel I stayed at that has a sign at the front desk that asks you to leave a review on Yelp.  That tells me that they have confidence, which gives me confidence. If there is a problem, the staff will probably take care of it.  The hotel staff is asking for reviews, so they are going to do their best to get a good one. Customers used to talk to their friends over the phone or at parties about their experiences.  Now they post on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and others.  They have a microphone and everyone can hear them. Certain businesses are more likely to be reviewed online, versus others whose reviews may come in the form of discussions with colleagues and friends. Either way, accept that customers may review you. But, even if you’re not going to be reviewed, perform as if you are. Treat every situation, opportunity and interaction as an opportunity to show how good you are. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

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