Read and trade virtual guestbooks

Guest feedback on paper is increasingly being replaced by comments on social media.Every year, the number of users on social media is growing in double digits. Facebook already has over 1.7 billion followers, Google+ also had its 540 million in 2014.At a global sporting event, for example a soccer match, millions of tweets and comments are sent; most anonymously [...]

Guest feedback on paper is increasingly being replaced by comments on social media.Every year, the number of users on social media grows by double digits. Facebook already has more than 1.7 billion followers, and Google+ already had 540 million followers in 2014. At a global sporting event, such as a soccer match, millions of tweets and comments are sent out; most of them anonymous or personally intangible; many emotional, some unqualified or even provocative and insulting.Social Media MarketingThe tourism and event industries are also increasingly challenged to track and process this uncontrollable flood of opinions and recommendations; in the hospitality industry, TripAdvisor is right at the forefront as an "opinion leader".What is already relatively well mastered is the one-sided use ("outbound") of social media as a marketing tool. That is, for news, teasers, goodies, contests, and sometimes even opinion-forming measures. Switzerland Tourism and many event locations that are active in the entertainment sector are at the top of the game; transport companies, museums and restaurants are still partly in the learning process. But it's all coming very quickly now - using social media as a sales and PR tool is no longer great wisdom.
At Rigi Railways, all feedback is read and liked or commented on / answered in the known social media.How to deal with feedback?It becomes more challenging when it comes to feedback and the return of messages ("inbound"). This data is not triggered by the provider, but comes uncontrollably from the large anonymous mass of participants and visitors ... or even people who were never there in the first place.TripAdvisor is already full of comments on practically every provider, every hotel, no matter how small, every concert organizer, but also every information desk somewhere, every streetcar, every ice cream store and every mountain railroad. While the event industry, including seminar and congress organizers, have mastered their "outbound" activities (search platforms, information, interest group formation, offers, booking platforms, updates, event-related data, exchange of photos and experiences, post-processing, etc.), the management of the "inbound" flood is still quite hand-tied.And yet, every single negative comment, whether qualifying or provoking, can directly deter potential future customers from making a booking. The "dangerous" media are not so much those with a professional background, such as Xing and Linkedin, but the "intangible" contacts on Twitter, or TripAdvisor.Permanent monitoringThe solution is a strict monitoring of these most important social media; a daily and selective "monitoring" of what was communicated "inbound". And then: an immediate evaluation and, if necessary, editing of such communications. This gives room for new posts in the companies. The Umwelt Arena in Spreitenbach, for example, has a part-time employee who takes care of its Internet presence and social media maintenance, according to Managing Director Jörg Sigrist. "Our Head of PR & Advertising is also a member of the management team and reports regularly on all activities on social media".Stefan Jost, the Managing Director of the FIFA Museum in Zurich, even personally looks at these virtual comments and explains, "Feedback via any kind of media is extremely important for us. It's the only way we can learn what visitors have experienced and what we can or must improve. Such feedbacks are always just individual opinions, but these are also experiences and in the sum then again representative."
High praise for the Zentrum Paul Klee on TripAdvisor from an event guest."Like" or replyTransport companies are event managers for time; time which company visitors and tourists spend on their railroad or ship. Stefan Otz, the new director of the Rigi Railways, sees it exactly that way and positions the "inbound" social media accordingly high: "All feedbacks are read and either liked or commented / answered. While we can't talk about a flood yet, we have to pay attention. Instagram and Facebook are managed by our "SoMe" manager, and TripAdvisor is handled directly by the operating team. The question arises as to whether every single message on Trip-Advisor, for example, has to be answered? After all, it takes a lot of time and some skill to provide the right answers or comments.Sort out unqualifiedAccording to Jörg Sigrist, the Umwelt Arena team basically responds to all comments or questions. Only in the case of unqualified comments do they sometimes refrain from responding, because according to their experience this only leads to endless dialogues. The FIFAMuseum also follows the strategy of answering all comments. Stefan Jost also sees this as a learning process for his still young museum in the Zurich Enge: "Complaints are often about a lack of understanding on our part or about unclear communication, for example about parking spaces or visitor times.Analyze and actWhat is relevant is that this data from compliments, complaints, evaluations and suggestions is then actually collected and evaluated. Responding to this "inbound" data is one thing; evaluating and implementing it is another. So when it comes to comments on TripAdvisor, all three managing directors agree: these must always be answered; if necessary, just with a small "Thank you for your contribution".More valuable might be to analyze the visitor data as far as possible (origin, gender, age group, self-pay or company invitation; and later perhaps even exact visitor time and length of stay), in order to then incorporate these facts into the services by means of adjustments and corrections. Stefan Jost can only confirm this: "Through the agency Webmark, we regularly collect a market research report on the feedback of all visitors; whether delivered on site or later via social media. With this representative view, we can ensure and then expand our level of service."Author: Daniel Tschudy

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