“Have you enjoyed your stay?”
My boyfriend and I catch each other’s eye. Our conversation is unspoken. We’re both wondering whether to answer the question truthfully.
The truth of our stay in Ibiza this month was that it wasn’t that enjoyable. Hoping for a relaxing stay in the north of the island, the holiday was blighted by my boyfriend getting food poisoning from the all-inclusive food and spending most of it sick or still weak and recovering. Add to that a room in the noisiest part of the hotel, staff that found it difficult to understand us, and an overall drainage smell problem we unfortunately spent a large part of the week pining for the shores of rainy England.
However, faced with the question at check-out we were still stumped with how to react. Acknowledging the British blood that pulses through our veins, we turned back to the reception staff to murmur in unison “Mmmm yep, great thanks!” and scurry off to our airport transfer, ashamed at our own inability to speak up.
What I was doing whilst holed up in the hotel room, waiting for my boyfriend to emerge from the bathroom, in which he spent far too much of our holiday, was write a TripAdvisor review in my head, all primed and ready to press send as soon as the wheels of our plane hit Gatwick ground. Given the opportunity to speak my complaint to staff… oh god no! I couldn’t bear the awkwardness, but put me behind a keyboard…
I laugh at my own ridiculousness, but the sad truth is that I feel more able to air my grievances on a review site or over email, rather than face to face confrontation. Review sites are becoming more and more important for customers, and for businesses. Barclays Feedback Economy Report revealed that 45% of people are more likely to post a review than they were 18 months ago*. Certainly true of me – this is my first foray into the heady world of online reviewing.
Love them or hate them, these review sites are extremely important to foodservice businesses with a whopping 70% of millennials seeing online reviews as key when deciding where to stay or eat**. Restaurants and hotels are being urged to take notice and act on feedback rather than hoping the negative criticism goes away. The Barclays report says that responding to customer feedback could add £3.2bn to the sector making it vital they start listening**.
Although I wish I could have had the confidence to tell the hotel how I really felt about our holiday, having the opportunity for an online review gives me the chance to tell them how I feel in a more thought-out way. There may be those who abuse the medium but at least for me it is a comfort to know that despite my 5’5’’ stature and shy nature, at least my voice will be heard!