I am a Starwood, Marriot, Hilton member but it gets me almost nothing to be honest, I have been a United Mileage plus member twenty years, and I even have a frequent parking account. But what really frustrates me about a lot of these programs is that they don’t know who I am and many organizations are not leveraging them for competitive advantage. When I arrive at hotels they never upgrade me, and for the most part I never hear from these programs anymore. I remember a time when we got monthly statements about our activity and then they were moved to quarterly and then disappeared completely! Why because they forgot about us, their most loyal customers.
I expect more for my loyalty, don’t you? What many companies don’t understand is that they no longer control their brand, the social customer does. All of us should become social customers; this will enable us to drive up the overall quality of products and services in many companies and industries globally. Most importantly companies need to know who their social customers are; here is a real world example of how social customers are impacting business today. I am a social customer and now hundreds of people are reading my Trip Advisor hotel reviews. Here is my most recent post read by 100 people in less than a week, and so far the poor reaction to my comments about this hotel from its management.
Sheraton NYC Towers Trip Advisor Review
This was my second stay at this hotel in less
than a month and I have to say it needs a major overhaul, all the way from the
rooms down to the bell desk and into the club lounge. What was most scary about
this place was the overall lack of security especially at 1-2am when no
security people were at the elevator entry areas. I did really like the club
level and the breakfast is fun and coffee nice along with the overall
environment. The bar at the club was missing the martini stirrer and didn't
have absolute vodka, a woman next to said “it’s always like that here.”
But let’s start at the beginning, we arrive late its 85 degrees and humid as we enter our stuffy room on the floor twenty and the air conditioner doesn't work. I call down to the desk and they say they will send up maintenance, thirty minutes passes no one arrives. We pack up our stuff and head down to the front desk this time pissed off. We ask for another room and I complain about the room assignment, the front desk attendant says "what do you expect me to check out every room to see if the air conditioner works?" I ask for a manager and he is even ruder, and guess what? I am a ten year Starwood member and our company recommends this hotel, I remind him of that, but he doesn’t care. They assign me a room above the club level, make sense? I don't think so, the next day I ask for the day manager, Zoe Cohen and she is nice and gives me 12,000 Starwood points.
Two days later it is raining and we attempt to go out for dinner, the cab line is long and the bell captain is nowhere to be found, so I jump the line and get my own cab. The next morning we leave at 5:45 am and guess what? There is no bell person to help with anything? What is up with this? Overall a great location and it is unfortunate that all our European visitors are treated to the same level of poor service. I noticed many Italians during my two visits. The good news is our maid service was very good, but I don't think I will stay here again, because as a Starwood member I expected my room to be ready at 1AM. On my previous visit my colleague’s room wasn't ready either and we checked at 6:30PM.
Sheraton’s Response to my TripAdvisor Review
Thank you for taking the time to provide the feedback and recap of your visit here in NYC.
The content, although some of it painful is critical to our performance and garnering guest loyalty. I would like to discuss your visit in more detail if you have the time. During this conversation I will also update you on our direction for renovations that are coming soon.
We look forward to hearing back from you on how to connect.
Identifying and managing your social customers is paramount in the social media landscape of today and it can be a clear differentiator in many industries, in this case especially hotels as they are very vulnerable. I think it is great that Sheraton at least corresponded with me but the same lack of sincerity and thoroughness about their product and services was reflected in their response. First of all they got my name wrong, they did not address one of my issues and a security lapse in NYC is serious. They did not recognize me as a Starwood member or even say we are making sure that the club bar is stocked an appropriately appointed with martini stirrers. I pulled the latest statistics off TripAdvisor and although the site says that 67% of travelers recommend this hotel, the number is actually closer to 57%.
The general manager was nice enough to offer the opportunity to talk with me, but to be honest; I am not too interested in communicating with you if you can’t even get my name correct. The power of social media today is the power of the community, not the power of one. If I was the manager of a large iconic hotel in the most visited city in the America I would be shocked that only 2/3rd s of the visitors to my hotel could recommend it. TripAdisor, Yelp and many others are now the voice of the people and their voice travels globally at Internet speed. As a business, know these communities and leverage your customers loyalty in new and exciting ways that can keep them loyal and provide you with the opportunity to find new loyal customers that can enhance your brand.
Sheraton NYC Towers Reviews All (1,464)
67% of travelers recommend this hotel
· Very good 484
· Average 275
· Poor 222
· Terrible 138