Operators encouraged to use TripAdvisor to reassure customers

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Customer expectations: how can operators explain and defend their safety measures on online review sites?
Customer expectations: how can operators explain and defend their safety measures on online review sites?

Related tags: Tripadvisor, Branding + marketing, Health and safety, Hampshire, Social media

TripAdvisor has said pub operators should use its platform to draw attention to their safety measures.

Although some visitors to venues may be vocal about the changes they dislike, the review platform said the vast majority of customers were keen to see pubs doing everything they could to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

It launched a series of ‘Travel Safe’ tools last month and has encouraged publicans to display a checklist of safety measures on their listing via the TripAdvisor management centre. Operators can also use the feature to write a text description of their measures and link back to safety information on their own website.

The management response tool on TripAdvisor means operators can submit replies to reviews for free to put their side of the story across and explain why changes have been made to protect customer and staff safety. Replying to reviews will have a net benefit to a venue as it will increase customer trust, a spokesperson for the site said.

Changing expectations 

Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer at TripAdvisor explained: “As travel restrictions ease, hospitality businesses must recognise the changing expectations from consumers around safety and cleanliness.

“That is why Travel Safe will be such a vital tool. It will provide consumers with the information and reassurance they need when they travel, while allowing businesses to build trust by highlighting the concrete steps they are taking to keep their customers safe.”

Other changes made by the platform include a new search filter, which allows TripAdvisor users to easily find pubs and restaurants that are taking added safety precautions.

Dig at pub

The advice comes as one operator shared his experience of a review left by a customer who disagreed with the site’s use of disposable cutlery and flatware. 

The review said: “First meal out since the restrictions have been lifted and not a great experience. Drinks were in cheap plastic cups and all the food served in cardboard boxes with plastic knives and forks. 

“Not the dining experience I expected and won’t be returning until it changes. Other similar sites are virtually as normal in terms of glasses, plates and cutlery. And still charged full money for the camping experience.”

Mark Thornhill from the Inn on the Beach, Hayling Island, Hampshire said the majority of his customers had been reassured by the pub’s safety measures and its signage explaining what was necessary.

He said staff do not have to touch used glassware and flatware in a washing-up process therefore reducing the risk of passing on Covid-19.

He added: “It is a sticking point for some but most people – I would say 99% – get it and are comfortable with that because we are eliminating a couple of touchpoints, you remove certain processes. 

“We have an obligation to staff that work is as safe as can possibly be.”

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