thumbs down_460pixWe recently followed a very interesting post on LinkedIn that discussed whether negative user generated reviews and comments cause any real harm to travel brands and what is best practice when moderating any negative reviews.

As the leading provider of social media solutions for the leisure and travel industry, we have a lot of evidence around the subject of how to deal with a negative review and the moderation of user generated content.

One of the most common things we have found is whilst clients are often more worried about the possible effect of negative reviews, there are actually very few of these posted to their review sites. In fact, across the 200 sites we have created, most of them have very few if any, negative comments posted and instead receive 80-90% positive reviews and comments.

It is important and also easier than you would image to influence the type of content that is gathered from your visitors and to encourage positive reviews and comments.

For example, some of our most successful platforms are those that use their social media solution for competitions and ask their customers to upload their favourite experience, photo or video at the attraction or destination. An example of this can be seen with the Victoria Art Gallery who launched a black and white photography competition to promote the launch of the Don McCullin: Shaped by War exhibition.

Clients also worry they will need to spend a lot of time moderating and approving comments and reviews but again, this often turns out to be dramatically less effort than expected.

Negative comments can often provide great opportunities because it gives organisations the chance to react with the unhappy customer openly and publically, rather than the customer festering and simply not using their services again. This opportunity can lead to our clients turning around their few unhappy customers and showing potential customers that the organisation does actually take and react to what people say.

Finally – other visitors often come to the defence of an organisations’ bad experience and this is fantastic when it happens. Building a strong and loyal community can really help to police your own website and when your own community comes to your defence, this completely nullifies any negative effects that may come from such comments.

So, in conclusion, whilst we agree it is important to be mindful of inappropriate content and keeping an eye on what is being posted as well as quickly responding to criticism, some brands and companies are making a mountain out of a molehill when worrying about the time required for, and impact of negative or inaccurate content.