These days when booking a holiday or weekend away the first place most of us head to check out where to stay is Tripadvisor.
The popularity of the site has grown and is showing no signs of stopping – personally this is something I’m glad of. But perhaps I wouldn’t say that if I were a hotel or restaurant owner.
It really has become a major influencer and something everyone in the hospitality industry must be aware of. There is both a negative and positive side to the Tripadvisor coin though when it comes down to PR.
Sure if you get a positive review you can use that to promote your business, maybe on your website or on social media. But what happens when you get a negative review?
This week one restaurant owner has shown how to get the most out of a negative review, getting positive press coverage in national publications, highlighting what he did right in the ‘situation’ as well as undoubtedly appealing to the kind of clientele he would like at his establishment.
This owner was Steve Bothwell, of Café 52 in Aberdeen. He has replied to a review left at the end of April from an unhappy customer. This week his response went viral and was being shared across social media, since appearing on the Daily Mail and the Mirror, to mention just a few. Incredible coverage for a restaurant ranked 54 out of 492 in Aberdeen.
The review on Tripadvisor gave just 1/5 stating that after a member of the writers dining party was cut by a glass dropped by a waitress they were not given antiseptic wipes or a plaster. It goes on to state that no recompense was offered and that the customer service did not make the grade.
Despite being a relatively comprehensive review it is nothing out of the ordinary and attracted no attention, apart from anyone looking to visit the restaurant and of course from Mr Bothwell. No, it is his cutting response which has caught the nation’s attention and support.
He has responded with a funny response stating how he remembers the occasion, and it is quite different.
Mr Bothwell claims they did tend to the woman, quite the opposite of the comment, but he does lash out saying the plasters perhaps didn’t match the outfit of the ‘alleged victim’, that he made sure her leg wasn’t going to fall off, and adding that the party felt his backside during their visit after having a few drinks.
This is a risky PR strategy as My Bothwell could alienate potential customers but in this case it seems to have paid off.
He has grabbed headlines with most people appearing to be team Café 52. He has also had the chance to set the record straight after what could be a wholly untrue representation of an accident and minor injury. Most importantly he has got people talking.
But I do fear for Mr Bothwell that he may be getting a few visitors hoping to enjoy a feel of more than his restaurant.