Editor’s Note: The following article appeared on Campgrounds Connect, a website operated by Jeff Loper. Loper is a marketing professional with more than 14 years of experience creating campaigns for some of the biggest entertainment brands in the world. In 2010 he voluntarily stepped away from the corporate world to refocus his efforts around his passions, of which camping and the outdoors are a part. Campgrounds Connect was born.
Your campground or RV park falls into one of these categories:
- Bad things HAVE been said about your campground
- Bad things WILL be said about your campground
Over the past couple weeks I’ve had this question come up twice:
Bad reviews are being written and posted online about our campground. What do I do?
The truth is, you can do a lot. Here are four ways to protect your campground or RV park’s online reputation, combat those negative reviews, and turn them into positives.
1. Be Responsive
If you come across a situation in the online space where you’re receiving bad campground reviews you NEED to respond. Failing to do so doesn’t help your business in any way.
People post negative reviews about a product, service, or experience because they want to be heard. Sometimes they want to be heard by their peers or be able to inform others of their experience, and sometimes they want to be heard by the business itself. By not responding you allow this negativity to live on forever in the online world and your telling your campers that you don’t care, even though you probably do. When you respond you have the opportunity to:
- Turn a negative into a positive
- Stop the negativity in its tracks
- Prove that your camper’s concern was heard
- If applicable, use the negative criticism as a learning tool to make changes
2. Be Graceful
How you respond to the bad campground reviews can make all the difference in the world. A combative response can often times turn into an online exchange of tit-for-tat. Not only that, others that are online see the conversation taking place and can come very quickly to a conclusion as to whether or not they will want to visit your campground.
Rather, respond with grace and tact. Let the camper know that their concern was heard and thank them for their feedback. If it’s something you can remedy, let them know what you plan to do to address their concern. If it’s something you can’t solve or it’s out of your control, acknowledge the problem, explain why it can’t be resolved or why it’s out of your control, and apologize. Consider also offering the camper a discount or a free stay the next time around. This is obviously sometimes hard to do depending on the personality of the person you are dealing with, but in the online space it shows that you care. From there, others that read the conversation taking place can draw their own conclusions about whether or not to visit your campground. Chances are, by responding in the proper way, you can turn a negative into a positive and encourage campers to visit as apposed to staying away.
3. Be Informed
The best way you can protect yourself from bad campground reviews is to be informed when it happens. Otherwise you have no way to address the situation. There are two steps you can take to do so. The first is pretty obvious, but also very time consuming and unrealistic. Basically you would need to find all of the online review sites, bookmark your listing at each, and review them from time-to-time. Rather you can stay informed much easier by using Google Alerts. In using Google Alerts you can receive emails right to your inbox that will let you know when something has been been posted online about your campground.
Click here to read an expanded explanation of Google Alerts.
4. Be Socially Active
And here’s yet another reason for campgrounds and RV parks to be active on social media. In doing so you:
- Provide another outlet for customer service.
- Provide campers a place that you control where they can vent their concerns. At least if they post their bad review about your campground on Facebook or Twitter, you can control that and respond appropriately, whereas with some campground review sites you aren’t allowed to respond to a bad reviews written about your RV park or campground.
- Have a place where your fans can come to your rescue if the concern is unfounded or ridiculous.
- Show that you care by responding, and responding gracefully.
How about your campground or RV park? Have you received a bad campground review? How did you handle it?