The View from the Bottom is Mike Millisor’s monthly letter to all of the stakeholders of the Breckenridge Grand Vacations family of resorts.
There is no question that the internet has changed the travel industry. According to Mashable.com, there will be 98.3 million online travel bookings in 2012. Most travelers no longer rely on a travel agent to find the best deal on a flight, a travel package to a foreign destination” or high quality accommodations. Travelers have taken their vacation shopping into their own hands.
In addition to booking online, travel shoppers can read reviews of their prospective destinations via many different venues: travel review sites, facebook postings, twitter feeds and travel blogs, to name a few. Of the research and booking tools out there, TripAdvisor has become one of the first stops for people checking out a hotel or resort.
The BGV management team watches for comments on TripAdvisor and other sites to determine whether or not we are meeting our commitment of "always great vacations". We have built our success not by focusing on sales as a short term goal, but by focusing on the kind of service that will build on the great experiences of happy owners.
When a poor review is posted on TripAdvisor for example, we review the complaint, investigate the situation and post a response as quickly as possible. In addition to addressing the concern online with our response, we make sure the issue identified is dealt with internally and changes are made to improve our guests' experiences moving forward.
The ability to post a comment, concern or complaint instantly to millions of people greatly empowers the consumer and can be seen by some companies as an opportunity for huge exposure. We welcome the transparency these tools have created as it enables us to gain further insight into our quality of service and allows us the opportunity to continually improve our product.
One impact of TripAdvisor may surprise you, however. While a few people may take a look at the ratings before they come to Breckenridge for a property tour, the majority of consumers who consult TripAdvisor are looking to rent rooms at one of our resorts. More than 90% of our rental stays are in units that our owners have booked and have put up for rent. That means the impact of TripAdvisor comments may be felt by our owners who want to rent out their unit/week in any given year.
The question you may want to ask, then, is "Does TripAdvisor present an accurate picture of a property?" The answer is undoubtedly "sometimes, and sometimes not." The resort has no means to control the information, and it is often only disgruntled guests who take the time to submit an entry. Thus, the impression created by TripAdvisor may be skewed. Luckily, most savvy travelers understand this dynamic and utilize reviews as only one piece of the decision making process.
We know that we can sometimes fall short of our high customer service standards, but we also know that most of the time we are successful at creating great vacations for our owners and guests. That is the information we hope makes its way to TripAdvisor and other online review venues.
So I encourage you: the next time you have a great vacation at a BGV property, take a moment to get online and let the world know. It will benefit you and all owners in the BGV family.
Since TripAdvisor is one of the most well-known venues, we've made it easy for anyone to read ratings and post comments to that site. The websites of each of our properties now have a link that will take owners, guests, and potential guests directly to TripAdvisor.com. I am proud of this for a couple of reasons. First, it is proof that we are confident in the experience we provide our owners and guests. Second, it creates the transparency we desire by inviting everyone to share their experiences. It says we have nothing to hide, and that we are proud of our resorts.
At BGV, we are committed to making sure that we provide the great vacations that generate praise. Will you please help us get the word out?