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14. January 2020

The power of rating portals

Before the digital age, people went to a travel agency to book holidays. Travel agents had a dream job. They were the influencers of the time. Digitization has completely turned that around in tourism. There is hardly anyone anymore who doesn't book their trip or hotel room themselves and online. The review portals play an important role in the choice. The reviews of guests/customers influence the decision to a great extent.

What are rating portals?

Rating portals are all websites where customer reviews can be published. This way, everyone can make their opinion known online and make it public. The importance of these rating platforms has increased greatly in recent years and almost everyone is influenced by reviews. A picture about a product or company can be made when there are many reviews. But you should read them critically. Because unfortunately there are also fake, "bought" reviews. The operators of these websites punish such fakes, but we believe that it is very difficult to catch them all. The review platforms are a challenge for companies. Because the submitted feedbacks are not always positive and objectively written. At Swiss Holiday Park, we notice time and again that guests do not inform themselves properly about our resort and allow themselves to be influenced by subjective reviews. In addition, the information provided is not read. This gives the guest a false impression of their planned stay.

How do you handle reviews on review sites?

Customer reviews can be both beneficial, but at the same time highly damaging to business. Many businesses therefore see reviews not as an opportunity but as a danger. They either do not react to the reviews at all or blame the guests. At Swiss Holiday Park, the importance of these entries has long been recognized. All reviews are answered. The positive ones are thanked and compliments are appreciated. For the employees, positive feedback increases motivation. Then there are entries that contain factual, constructive and justified criticism. For those, we thank them for their feedback, can apologize and, if necessary, offer to make amends. Everyone knows that where people work, mistakes happen. The more people working in a place, the more mistakes there are. When guests report negative things, we have the opportunity to raise awareness and train staff accordingly. The best thing is for guests to report anything wrong on the spot. Defects can then be rectified immediately. And in case of bad service or other mishaps, interventions can be made immediately. So objective criticism on the platforms is very valuable because it helps us to keep quality high and to constantly improve. It is more difficult with unobjective or reputation-damaging criticism It is not easy when you are attacked below the belt. When replying to such posts, it is very important not to reply immediately and to think about the answer carefully. One must not under any circumstances engage in the same tone and should remain diplomatic, factual and understanding. One must always remember that the guest was looking forward to the stay. Disappointments trigger a wide variety of reactions in people. While some people are understanding in certain situations and remain tolerant and matter-of-fact, others can often go berserk over the smallest details. It is often the case that no complaint is made on site, although it would be the best thing to do. Instead, entries are then written on the platforms under pseudonyms, where frustration is let loose without decency and fairness. There also appear sweeping accusations, where you do not know what really happened and to which it is almost impossible to take a position. If a review is unobjective, untrue or damaging to one's reputation, one can apply to the rating portals to have the entry deleted. However, this is very difficult because you have to prove otherwise and document the case in detail. In extreme cases, you could also file a lawsuit, but that doesn't really do either party much good.

Using the advantages of rating platforms

Rating portals clearly come with disadvantages. In particular, negative reviews can be image damaging and cause customers to book elsewhere if there are a lot of negative reviews. However, we believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. We encourage our guests to write a review and as most are very positive, we are also allowed to accept customer satisfaction awards. Like we just received the Gold Award 2020 from HolidayCheck again. These awards are great for marketing. Because if you are one of 19 hotels in Switzerland to receive the Gold Award, then that is already a reference. And if hundreds of guests can spend a satisfied holiday at Swiss Holiday Park and write about it on the rating portals, then that is the best advertising for us.

The rating platforms are of the highest credibility for customers. We know that more than 70% inform themselves on platforms and then almost all make purchases or bookings based on customer reviews.

That's why the following principle applies to us: customer reviews are very important for our marketing. The positive reports increase the booking rate and the negative ones force us to constantly question and optimize our services and quality. Therefore we say to all guests who give us feedback: Thank you very much.