Recently, a group of three youngsters were slapped with a bill of Rs 12,000 and a serving of not-so-Hawaiian food, what followed was a scathing blog that went viral, a twitter rage and a police case.
Speed of light may be an exaggeration, but it literally takes a blink of an eye for a bad word to spread in this age and time. The Lemp Brewpub in Gurgaon after the recent fiasco has learnt it the hard way.
Recently, a group of three youngsters were slapped with a bill of Rs 12,000 and a serving of not-so-Hawaiian food, what followed was a scathing blog that went viral, a twitter rage and a police case. The “Lemp Experience” blog alleged cheating and mistreatment by the restaurant managers, since the offer listed by the US-based chain on Zomato (restaurant listing and review site) advertised the Sunday Brunch was for just Rs 999.
The lesson: with the online medium becoming an equaliser of sorts, hotels and restaurants no matter how big, need to take the virtual word more seriously than ever before. “Earlier the first thing general managers would check when they reached office was the occupancy and room rates of their hotels. Today, it is the online feedback on social media. It has become one of the key performance indicators,” said Dilip Puri, managing director, Starwood India. The company in fact has made it a policy to respond to all online feedback within 24 hours and address complaints, if any.
Websites like TripAdvisor that provide unsolicited reviews and ratings for hotels have become an important check post for consumers. While all positive feedback is flaunted on the website of the company, any negative comment is immediately responded to.
“An individual can do significant damage to your brand simply by an online post. We have people tracking TripAdvisor. We get around 30-40 comments every day and we respond to all of them. It is important because rating sites have become routes to booking today,” said Patu Keswani, chairman and managing director, Lemon Tree Hotels. The hotel chain is also deploying software that will enable it to track any comment made online and respond to it at the soonest.
The latest online buzz doing rounds on Lemp Brewpub says that the restaurant has changed its name onFacebook page to “Purple bar” after drawing all the flak, as a damage control measure. The company officials however denied any such move. “In an online medium where anyone is free to say anything, veracity cannot be checked. Companies can take legal recourse but it is better to prevent such instances by keeping a close check on all online feedback,” a hotel and restaurant reviewer, who did not wish to be quoted, said.