Gone are the days when only hotel managers and some destination marketers would bemoan authentic customer rating platforms like Tripadvisor & Co. as a potential threat to their business. Think again, more and more of these platforms have quietly added other subjects as well. It is not a matter of hotels and destinations anymore.
Would you like an example? You might know the Austrian crystals company Swarovski. More than 700.000 saw their visitor attraction Kristallwelten Crystal World in Tyrol last year – including me twice (my pics).
Their brochure and website quote CNN saying: "As beautiful as one of the Seven Wonders of the world." Not quite in line with the opinions visitors have posted on Tripadvisor: Only 11 have reviewed their experiences online, but the message is pretty dramatic. Opinions range from "tourist scam" to "waste of time" – and what really made me laugh: "I had expected displays of how crystals were formed or how they are turned into jewellery and objects of desire. What I got was bizarre and consisted of: a zebra in a stiletto (yes, really!)".
If you are in charge of a tourist attraction, reviews like these are exactly what you should be looking for. Could there be a grain of salt in them? Are all 11 reviewers just plain wrong? Could these reviews be a chance to set things straight or develop new strategies? This is the subject of a speech I am going to give for 200 directors and managers of tourist attractions next week.