October 2 2012 by Bryson Forbes
Anyone who has followed my blog over the last four years already knows that I profess my adoration and respect for www.BestWestern.com almost every week but this week I am kicking it up a notch.
I recently received a press release that was issued announcing how Best Western has made improvements to their already impressive website. One very notable enhancement is the addition of Trip Advisor reviews embedded directly within the site corresponding to each of Best Western's properties. To me it was another example of Best Western addressing an issue head on and putting the customer experience first.
I only label Trip Advisor as "an issue" because most travel brands and executives have never been sure quite how to deal with peer reviews. I recall struggling with it a few years ago while working on the retail side of the business. The obvious fear is giving your clients unfiltered access to highlight any issues or deficiencies you may have. But conversely, if you consistently meet or exceed your clients expectations and step up and rectify issues quickly when things go wrong (no one is perfect), you really have nothing to fear. In fact, it provides a venue for your loyal enthusiasts to share their positive experiences.
Fellow Canadian and friend Dorothy Dowling who just happens to be the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Best Western said "Travelers on average conduct more than 20 web searches when planning travel, according to research from Google, and we recognize that a growing number of guests turn to social communities and online reviews for research before they book a hotel stay. Our commitment is to provide the most information possible to bestwestern.com visitors to ensure they're booking their travel plans with complete confidence"
I really feel strongly that this is a trend that we will see across all industries when it comes to dealing effectively with online prospects. Companies need to provide as much relevant information to an online visitor as possible while taking efficiency into account. Providing visitors with access to information from Trip Advisor not only saves people time but it also helps them make the best decision. This should ultimately help improve client satisfaction, which in turn means more favourable peer-to-peer reviews and the cycle goes on.
Hats off to Best Western. I applaud this strategy and think it is truly a win-win scenario.
Can you think of any online examples of companies that appear to have put the client experience as their top priority?