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Nothing Radical About Social Media’s Role In Hotel Sector: Windsor Hotel

May 9, 2014 Social Media No Comments Email Email

Claims that social media and online review sites are revolutionising the hotel industry are overblown, according to Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel CEO David Perry.

“Hotels are hearing a lot about the customer revolution that is being empowered by social media,” he said.

“And of course dedicated attention to all social media platforms and the full range of online review sites is absolutely critical for any tourism operator. But this is only revolutionary or radical if a business has been ignoring its customers for far too long. For any hotel that is fully engaged with its guests, social media  is business as usual.”

Mr Perry said social media should now be seen simply as an extension of guest services.

“Once upon a time most hotel guests filled-out paper feedback forms, which may or may not have properly reviewed by management in an effort to improve services,” he said. “This rarely happens now. The only way to judge whether service and amenities are good enough is by tracking and responding to online feedback from around the world.”

In a recent example at The Windsor, a guest complained on TripAdvisor that room access to Wi-Fi was “archaic” and limited to two devices. The issue was picked up within an hour by the hotel’s management and access was immediately upgraded within the day to four devices for all future guests with higher speeds to boot.

“There wasn’t even an internal conversation about the issue,” Mr Perry said. “It was immediately resolved and we had personally responded to the guest within the hour.

“He had a very good point. Of course, people are travelling with multiple devices and these need to be accommodated. We knew immediately that we had overlooked this.”

Mr Perry said a recent TripBarometer survey by TripAdvisor indicated a serious disconnection between what travellers say they want and what hotels believe is important.

Only 64 per cent of hoteliers said online reviews were important, compared to 89 per cent of travellers and only 33 per cent of hoteliers said a guest’s previous experience at the hotel was important compared to 86 per cent of travellers.

“The only reason for this disconnect is that some hotels are simply not talking with their guests,” Mr Perry said. “And social media is now the customer’s preferred way of communicating. There’s nothing radical about it unless you haven’t been paying close attention to the customer in the first place.”

The Hotel Windsor has recently integrated its online post-stay guest satisfaction questionnaire with TripAdvisor giving all guests the choice of copying their hotel feedback to the major global review site. Mr Perry said the reason behind doing this was simple:  “know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

Posting on TripAdvisor and Windsor Hotel Response

“Archaic wifi service”: April 30, 2014

In-room wifi is charged at A$25 per day (which is not cheap!), but access is limited only to 2 devices. Just enough for my iPhone and my wife’s, but what about my iPad and my MacBook Air? How archaic! I have never come across any hotel like this.

David G A Perry, Manager at The Hotel Windsor, responded to this review:

Dear Sir,

I cannot comment regarding the copy on the top of this page regarding a special offer concerning free wifi but I can understand your frustration in this ‘archaic’ limit on number of devices allowed.

Honestly we had not even considered it as no one had mentioned it to us and we had forgotten! We shall address urgently. Thank you for bringing this to our attention and apologies for providing a fast yet ‘archaic’ service. Your feedback is priceless. Thank you. 

Built in 1883, the 180-room Windsor Hotel pre-dates the Savoy in London, which was built in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York which dates back to 1893, and the Ritz Paris which opened in 1898.

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