HURDLE SIX: COMMUNICATION
Technological developments are occurring so often now, that it’s hard to put a plan in place that’s likely to be around for very long. With the development of websites such as Trip Advisor, Dine Out and Facebook, reviews and comments are put out into a world-wide forum every day. As a result, a lot of power has been placed in the hands of the customer, leaving an almost non-existent gap for error within the hospitality industry.
Your customers are both your greatest and worst critics. In order to survive, hospitality managers must embrace these online platforms in order to keep up with industry competition. In this day and age it’s not uncommon for all generations to be educated on how to use the internet, and declaring one’s feelings and thoughts online is a growing trend.
Review websites are a tangled web of positive and negative reviews of bars and restaurants, and it takes a very trained and unbiased eye to filter through those comments that you know “may be a little over the top”, or “slightly inaccurate.” How hospitality managers deal with these is pivotal in how they are received by the general public. Businesses must remain mature when they know a patron or diner is inflating the truth, and remain diplomatic when they know that a customer’s “bad experience” may have simply been out of their control.
Social media channels also provide a quick and effective way for bars and restaurants to communicate with their customers. Just think back to the days where most businesses had to rely on word of mouth to get themselves known, because who really wanted to pay an exorbitant amount of money on paper advertising to promote a special that would probably change within the next fortnight? Whilst I’m not saying that paper and magazine advertising is not effective – in such a competitive market today it does hold a great importance especially when used in conjunction with online communication.
There’s often such an overload of information that needs to be communicated to the public, whether it’s about new drink specials, menu changes, hiring opportunities or certain advertising events. It’s important to use the platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. These online forums were turned to primarily for an individual’s personal and recreational use, but the growing influence now of businesses on these websites is here to stay and joining in with this trend is paramount in order to keep up with the competition within your industry.
Solution – Make sure it’s someone’s job to monitor all online channels for reviews. Thank those who give you good reviews, and to those who choose to get colourful with their negative comments, it’s still important to acknowledge this feedback. All feedback is useful at the end of the day. How you deal with it is what will make or break you as a business. Use social media to put your establishment on the radar and engage and connect with potential customers on an emotional level.
A lot of these social media channels are free. How you choose to use them is your choice, but I suggest dedicating time to making your pages ‘user-friendly.’ Be informative, be engaging and be emotive. Get amongst it – and get your business out there!
So there you have it. 6 hurdles hospitality managers commonly face. Next time you are at a bar, and a staff member goes out of their way to give you great service or you order a meal that you really enjoyed – let someone know. People generally are very quick to complain, and gratuity these days is often a forgotten thing.
Finally, to all you managers – give these solutions a go! You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to overcome these hurdles.
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