When the most popular travel review website in the world calls your hotel the “dirtiest in America“, you have a big problem to say the least.  The Grand Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN received the dubious dishonor of being number one in their list of the Dirtiest Hotels in America. The distinction, to say the least, severely harmed business at the hotel, and the owner of the hotel is still reeling from the public shaming.  The effects on business were so great, the hotel’s owner is suing TripAdvisor for $10 million.

No matter what happened, or didn’t happen at Grand Resort Hotel,  where do they go from here to repair their reputation, even if the “award” was unjustified and the bad reviews were due to malice?

I asked Michelle Quillen, Social Media/Marketing Manager of New England Multimedia and Public Relations pro Jayme Soulati of Soulati Media what steps the Grand Resort could use to clean up their reputation (deserved or not, a dirty hotel is what their potential customers now know them as).  Michelle in turn asked her Facebook readers for their take and advice.

Michelle had several suggestions for the Grand Resort Hotel

1) Come up with Room Cleaning Standards Checklist, give it a name reflecting stellar service.

2) Create similar checklists w/same stellar-reflection service name for other hotel services.

3) Train all workers in new standards, get them on video talking about standards, taking pride in hotel.

4) Make video of CEO talking about new standards, & offering free night to any customer whose stay does not meet gold standard in any of those areas. Offer incentives to workers to deliver standard.

5) Finally, plaster that new Stellar Service Standards all over the website, social media, TV.

After making the suggestions, Michelle adds: ” But I agree with the owner, to a point. I don’t trust review sites. Competitors troll them.”

Jayme Soulati said ” Ta heck w/ standards! CLEAN!. Then open up the hotel for the grandest promo ever” Free Night Weekend” and invite guests to stay over free as long as they consider (you can’t force) Yelp, Foursquare, Trip Advisor recommendations.  Also,  launch a photo story board — perhaps Facebook timeline? Launches all the photos peeps take while staying there. I’d also get a top notch quality control inspector to give it the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and ensure no bed bugs among other things.  Rebecca Griffin adds that a change of name for the hotel could be appropriate. Ugh BAD PR is bad PR no matter how you slice it. My advice is to have them clean the hotel and well, and possibly invite Trip Advisor people to come inspect it. Lawyers are just going to cost them more money in the end.

Gia Volterra De Saulnier of PhinnVolt Enterprises adds that “BAD PR is bad PR no matter how you slice it. My advice is to have them clean the hotel and well, and possibly invite Trip Advisor people to come inspect it. Lawyers are just going to cost them more money in the end”.

From Tristan Pinnock: “Hire some former Marine Corps Drill Instructors to inspect rooms after cleaning. In fact, you could run a marketing campaign on that fact alone”.  (This would be HUGE!)

I’d like to thank everyone who commented in this impromptu discussion; these are all very good ideas.

My take on the Grand Resort lawsuit: It may well be justified, Grand Resort could be 100% in the right, and TripAdvisor and their reviewers could be 100% wrong, but the reputation damage has been done and it will take much time, effort and money to overcome the damage that this black eye has caused. The Grand Resort has it’s work cut out for them.

(If anyone from the hotel is reading, thank you, and if you would like help putting these ideas into effect, contact me at BradLovettMarketing  AT  gmail.com.

NEED SOCIAL MEDIA HELP? GET IN TOUCH!

Advertisements