I just read an interesting article in the October issue of Inc. which describes how some companies are using blogs to allow employees to "out" themselves when they make a mistake. Employees are guaranteed "protection" if they offer-up the errors of their ways. The point being that more good comes from learning about errors and correcting them, than never knowing or finding out after it's too late.
This got me thinking about the real power of blogs, especially as it relates to hotels engaging with their guests. What if you set-up a blog as your customer feedback mechanism, giving guests the opportunity to post both good and bad for all the world to see. I bet you can think of a bunch of reasons not to do this...like the potential for lost business because someone finds out room service is too slow. But, consider the flip-side. In today's world of corporate deceit and trickery with the likes of Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, to name just a few, it might be more important to show a few warts and gain someone's trust than to worry about whether they find out what they know already anyway...that you're not perfect. Plus, all the positive comments will have that much more credibility.
And, here's a bonus...it forces you to deal with customer problems...first.
Transparency leads to trust...which leads to long lasting relationships. So, why wouldn't you do it? Two reasons, the same reasons I might not...fear and chance. Fear of people knowing my issues and judging me only by those issues. And, the chance they may never find about my problems, so why tell. Of course, neither is likely to happen. Most people are willing to overlook problems to get to the good parts (to a certain point). And, murphy's law almost always prevails...just ask Dell (remember Dell Hell?).
The idea still seems risky doesn't it. That's because it is. You're not likely to achieve extraordinary status by playing it safe. So, go ahead, take a chance...be different.
I'd like to know if any hotel has tried this yet...please chime in.