It might seem like common sense that you should deliver what you say you will, but I find it shocking the number of times people exaggerate or misrepresent something online. In the accommodation industry, this is setting the stage for disappointment, and more than likely a few bad reviews.
This isn’t the method upon which you want to build any sort of a business or reputation.
Most people know what it’s like to see something online, and then get disappointed when they see it in real life. This is true of both products and holiday destinations. Dave Eddy (a recent guest on That Bad Review) is one person who knows this all too well. Dave recounted to me the story of renting an Airbnb that looked nice and modern in its photos, only to arrive at something vastly different. The owner was not honest in presenting the reality of her property. The result was Dave felt deceived and immediately annoyed. In this particular case, some delicious bread and marmalade saved the host from a bad review, but in many other cases, this doesn’t happen. And rightly so.
Everyone wants to present their park, hotel, apartment or camper in the best possible light – there’s nothing wrong with that. Take photos that highlight the best features you can offer, but don’t gloss over important details that some people might not like or you end up with an essentially false online profile of your offering. This is, again, the perfect recipe for disappointment.
One exercise I try to do when it comes to this issue is to place myself in the guest’s shoes. If you stop to consider their perspective, you run a much better chance of properly towing the line between acceptable embellishment and misrepresentation. If you were looking at a holiday park that showed a picture of a gleaming pool filled with crystalline water and smiling kids, but upon arrival found a dirty pool with nothing but bugs that’s perpetually under maintenance, how are you going to feel?
This is an extreme example, but the answer is obvious. The better solution is to not lure people into bookings under false pretenses, but rather to create a good product that people will appreciate. Display it honestly, or perhaps even in a humble way – then, when people aren’t expecting so much, over deliver and create the ideal experience for your guests. Approaching it from this angle positions you on the opposite side of the disappointment trends mentioned above, and is likely to garner you quite a bit of positive feedback.
When I think back on my park experiences, the ones that stick out are not the ones where I built up huge expectations, but the ones where I was pleasantly surprised by a place that I thought was good but turned out to be brilliant.
Listen to my entire conversation with Dave here.