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Welcome to the Business of Diving (BODI) discussion forum!

Discussion in 'Business of Diving Institute' started by Darcy Kieran, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Darcy Kieran

    Darcy Kieran Business of Diving Institute

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    I was MIA the last 12 months. Busy outside the dive industry. Miss you guys! I'm back and ready to participate in discussions. Cheers! Be safe.
     
  2. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

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    I think this is a great topic. We have a very small op and many of our customers have been ours for many years. They don’t tend to write reviews or share on social media. Thankfully happily use word of mouth!!!! I find social media and traveler sites both good and bad. I know of a blogger who posts crap reviews if there are no freebies in restaurants and other venues. Makes it clear what is expected up front. Just don’t see anything fair or honest but she has thousands of followers and lets them know that too. Doesn’t affect us but sets the stage. Have seen Reviews on TA that are paid for in food, activities and lodging, and some written by disgruntled employees (in the case of a great dive op, someone beating up the op after being dumped by boyfriend). Many places get thumbs up by folks who have no personal experience but chime in anyway. How as a small business who doesn’t want to muddy the water do others deal with this? Last year in Tuscany I was stunned that every guide had the mantra “mention us on TA”. I thought the guidelines say you are not supposed to push folks or worse give them discounts or incentives. How do we honestly get through the quagmire?
     
  3. Industry Outsider

    Industry Outsider Angel Fish

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    Darcy Kieran likes this.
  4. Darcy Kieran

    Darcy Kieran Business of Diving Institute

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  5. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

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    By continuing to be honest and if the blogger really has tried extortion in various ways, call her out on it. I follow many bloggers and like to only follow those that don't ask for anything upfront nor announce who they are in social media until they leave. That way, as they assure their readers (people like me) that it is an honest and true review based on their own unbiased perceptions. Isn't that really all any of us want in a review?

    In TripAdvisor, I've seen many management responses, wherein the reviewer has been called out, either because they were complaining because they didn't get something that wasn't part of the room price in the first place OR perhaps were an unethical blogger.

    While I do recommend calling those reviewers out, it's also a situation that requires a great deal of finesse.
     
    Darcy Kieran likes this.
  6. Industry Outsider

    Industry Outsider Angel Fish

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    TA has a program to encourage your customers to post reviews, good or bad.
    Review Express - TripAdvisor for Business

    Where I am, we have a competitor with 100's of 5-star reviews, which means they are certainly pushing customers to review and I know from a former customer, they provide incentives (they where offered a letter of recommendation at the end of their Instructor program if they post a 5 Star review which they did. The irony was they did not like them at all). They also encourage people to place bad reviews on our listings.

    I have never really encouraged/discourage people to place reviews and as I don't hold much weight in their effect from a marketing perspective. Sure 1-2 star average rating could be harmful, but my business like most, do not live or die by a couple of unhappy customers. Also, you can never please everyone and from experience, you can get a variety of opinions in one activity. Last week I had a boat dive with six 5 star reviews and one that was a 2. Our boat was not big enough for them, which is by far the biggest in the area and no else seem to find that an issue.

    In my opinion, building your business via TA long term will not end well. Businesses encouraging TA are ultimately building their brand and maybe trapping themselves. You can't completely ignore it but is just one channel.
     
    chillyinCanada and Darcy Kieran like this.
  7. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

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    There is a place that I used to stay and returned many times. It was a great little place, very well run, excellently placed, except for not being beach side. It wasn't fancy but has all the modcons and was very reasonably priced. Yes, I did quit going but it was because of an allergy to some bug on that island not because I didn't want to go back.

    Sorry, long lead in.

    About 2 years after my last stay, I git an email from the owner asking me if I wouldn't mind posting for them on TripAdvisor. They hadn't ever been concerned about it in the past and it turned out, was starting to hurt them.

    I rounded up all my friends that had stayed there on my recommendation and we helped to get their reviews fleshed out in an honest way. It was my understanding that from then in, they akways asked their guests to please leave a review.

    I haven't checked in lately but I should, because I do think of them now and again. My friends that used to stay there have started having babies or getting married or fallen for other islands and I've lost a personal track of how they might be doing.

    Why was it important if everyone liked staying there?

    Because there was another place, very similar just down the road that had always encouraged their guests to please leave a review on TA and it had people going to stay at place B, not even knowing about Place A, until after arriving on the island. So, that's just one example.
     
    Darcy Kieran likes this.
  8. Industry Outsider

    Industry Outsider Angel Fish

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    Without understanding their marketing strategy, then it's really hard to make a useful comment. Here is an assumption below.

    The assumption here is that TA is the reason, but it could be just a red herring. Could the other property simply be doing more marketing to get the customers, like Adwords, Facebook, and trade events (I not really aware of all my competitor's marketing activities)? Did they exist 2 years ago and are they in a better location?

    To me, you made two very telling statements?
    "Yes, I did quit going but it was because of an allergy to some bug on that island not because I didn't want to go back."
    "My friends that used to stay there have started having babies or getting married or fallen for other islands and I've lost a personal track of how they might be doing."

    I see a lot of small business relying on Word of Mouth and customers coming back. Your statement above shows the issue with this strategy because;

    Customer Loyalty
    People stop buying/returning and often it completely out of the control of the business. They get married, have kids or they can't go back, lose their job or want to try somewhere else. There is a belief that you can get people to extract more business from existing customers and it is cheaper.

    Word of Mouth
    WOM has been happening all the time, but rarely do business maintain or grow because of it. It's part of the marketing mix.

    Said it before but TA is one of many marketing channels, and business should not fall into the trap that is the end of be all. Look at Apple, how much marketing does it do on its Facebook site?
    Apple

    As of 6 August 2019, 3 posts in total by the most valuable brand in the world. Not saying Facebook does not have value, but it's just another channel and Apple seems to not worry about it.

    IO
     
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