Be careful what you post

Published Aug. 14 2018

To the Editor

While I am the owner of Haliburton’s Bonnie View Inn I am actually writing this letter with all local businesses in mind. There have been so many changes to how we all do business over the past several years and one that has a huge effect is the rise of online reviews: TripAdvisor Google Facebook etc. These publicly viewed customer comments can absolutely make or break us. In many ways this is a good thing as it helps us see what we are doing well and where we can improve. Often it also gives us a chance to reach out to the reviewer – to thank a happy guest for their endorsement and to ask a dissatisfied one how we can make things right with them.

I watch my online reviews closely as I’m sure do many of you. I am very pleased that the vast majority are positive (e.g. 74 per cent of my TripAdvisors are 5-Star Excellent rating me #1 of 9 hotels in the area and my rating on Google is 88 per cent) but I also value the middling and even (very infrequent) poor reviews as they are usually very useful and constructive. We are far from perfect and always working very hard to be better. But every now and then there is one that makes me shake my head and is upsetting.
I recently had a low star Google review. When I followed up with the customer I found out her experience had been good except that she had not liked the food.
As I write in my check-in packages “I can only fix the things I know about” (and I even give my personal cell phone number so guests can reach me anytime!).
I am just putting this out to the community at large (1) Please keep supporting local businesses – we really do appreciate it! (2) Whenever anything is less than satisfactory please tell the owner/manager right away. They want you to be happy and will likely bend over backwards to make that so. (3) Please think about the impact before you post a negative review online – your 30 seconds of “satisfaction” will last forever on the internet and hurt us your friends and neighbours long after you’ve forgotten what you were even upset about.
Thank you for reading and for caring.
Andrea Hagarty
Bonnie View Inn