Often we learn from others mistakes. Our good friend John Cleese of Monty Python fame started in video training with lessons in how not to market. It has been found that humour certainly helps in getting messages across (see the video at the bottom of this article).
Local Port Elizabeth Guest Houses will learn from the recent major social media marketing mistake that a hotel in Hudson, New York, like John Cleese, blundered into what they thought was a novel way to keep negative reviews off review sites by threatening to fine any grousing guests.
The Union Street Guest House charges couples who book weddings at the venue $500 for every bad review posted online by their guests.
Their policy reads:
If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event. If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review.
They do offer to give the grousing guest their money back if any nasty reviews are deleted, though.
I am sure that you can guess what happened?
In the immortal words of Barney Stinson – “Challenge Accepted” – and the negative reviews for the Union Street Guest House roll in.
A selection of some of the negative reviews posted on Yelp:
- Couldn’t quite get past the weird smell. The lobby’s and room smelled like moth balls all weekend.
- The duplicitous, dishonest, disingenuous owner told the world after our stay: “We are so sorry these guests did not like our cancellation policy. if there’s any way to make it up we would have but it wasn’t to be….”
- Avoid this establishment with every fiber in your body.
- The bed felt lumpy and the rooms were way to hipster for my tastes. I ultimately had to sleep in a sleeping bag to avoid the lumps. Heck I would have had a better experience if I just camped out on the lawn outside.
- We got no sleep that night, due to the rats, and the cockroaches, scurrying around the entire night. Crawling over us, around us. It was disgusting. I only wish I could give -5 stars.
- magine what pintrest would have looked like in the 80’s. Lots of dark teal green, fake ivy plants, like that. NOW imagine that the worst offenders of that imaginary 80’s pintrest decorated this place and spared NO expense. THEN imagine that those same 80’s amateur decorators all did upper-deckers in the rooms they’d decorated.
- Stayed here for a wedding and the whole wedding party got crabs, ouch! Also, the owner tried seducing the bride and kicked her in the shin when she politely said she was taken.
- The worst service, rude innkeeper, nothing in the hotel works. It is like the hotel is roleplaying 1950.
- Their attitude here is they hate their guests, but love their money.
- want to be abused? this is your place! horrific customer service, indignent and rude. will never stay at the union street again
To their credit some of the reviews prior to this change in policy seem to be excellent which brings us to another axiom; “Don’t mess with stuff that works!”
A trailer from So you want to be a success at selling:
- Part 1 – Preparation: Why it is imperative for salespeople to get to know their customers and to understand how their products or services can benefit their client.
- Part 2 – The Presentation: Sales staff learn how to stay cool and dispassionate even when a customer criticises them or their products.
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