There is a lot of controversy around marketing online, and the fact that anyone can say anything about you whether it is true or not. “Why have a presence online, if it just gives people an outlet to say bad things about the company?”
NEWS FLASH – It’s already happening. What you can decide is whether they’re going to say it either to your face(book)/Twitter or they’re going to do it behind your back… on a site that you DON’T control or even worse a site that doesn’t notify you when they do.
I could go on and on about how to deal with bad press, but instead I’d like to tell you a story that explains it all.
I went to Montreal for work last year, and I stayed at the Sofitel hotel. The hotel itself was okay. The room was okay. The people were nice enough but there was nothing that really stood out for me that made me want to come back. As I checked into my room, I realized something that I thought was funny.
This was a picture I took on Instagram captioned with something along the lines of “they are trying to save the environment and protect the planet by not washing my sheets, but they will give me plastic bottles of water? Just seems lazy to me.” And then I tagged them in it. To be honest, I think probably most hotels do this, but this hotel was at the unforutnate end of my random Instagram post. I was not upset, and I was not worried that my sheets weren’t clean. I just thought the irony was funny and that people would enjoy it. And then I left for dinner.
I realized after how terrible this press was for the hotel to the people who actually might really care about this kind of thing. If I was doing social media for the hotel, I would have 100% told them to do something about it right away.
The way they dealt with it was brilliant. This is what I came home to after dinner:
The note read: “Dear Ms. Thorne. Thank you for sharing your concern for the environment. Instead of using our plastic bottles, you may wish to try our local water with your own reusable water bottle! Take it with you or leave it behind for our team to have ready for your next stay!”
This means, they not only caught the picture immedietly, but they figured out my full name (It’s Alix online but Alexandra on their system) and found out what room I was in. They then, I’m guessing, had to go buy that water bottle since it was not a “sofitel” water bottle. And if that wasn’t enough, they also brought me fresh berries and presented it in a very beautiful way.
If there was any way to deal with the bad press I had given them, this was perfect. The whole thing probably cost them 2 dollars, and they made a huge impression on me. One that I will be telling people for years (especially since it’s such a great story for my future clients)
The fact is that, I was not impressed with this hotel to begin with. I wasn’t unimpressed, but it was not a place that I was dying to come back to. But I had a POTENTIAL problem and they fixed it so quickly, which makes me know that they are paying attention. For that reason, I will go back the next time I’m in Montreal.
So thank you Sofitel. For the bottle and for the story!