When Adam and I came to the Inn 10 years ago there was no tripadvisor or yelp. Guests who didn't enjoy their meal or their stay came directly to us with feedback or they just left and didn't come back. The world sure has changed a lot. Now we have glowing reviews and occasionally scathing reviews both with a measure of anonymity that can delight and sadden in equal measure. The world of online reviews has turned the interaction between businesses and their clients on their heads.
A recent article in fact draws a direct correlation between the revenue of a small independant restaurant and their star rating on Yelp. What the author of the study, Michael Luca, found was "that a one-star rating increase on Yelp leads to a five to nine percent increase in revenue, regardless of the actual quality of the restaurant itself". For a business doing $1 Million in revenue that could equal an additional $50,000-90,000, no small matter in this tight economy. So what does this have to do with us? We're a little hotel and restaurant on Orcas Island, run by the same family for 44 years, the "youngsters" that have followed in our parents footsteps, whose friends are well versed in the online world. We want to use these online forums to both build our business and also serve as a platform for a balanced approach to solving problems.
And that's the thing...we really care. We want to solve the problems that could potentially occur during a meal or a stay at the Inn.
When people choose us over some other option on the island or even in some other location, we feel like we have entered into a contract to give them a clean, beautiful room, friendly, warm service, nourishing, tasty food and a place where they can come to relax and renew. It is our job to provide a place for this unwinding, supporting their relaxation and enjoyment. That's what we have chosen to do with our lives.
There's a lot involved in that. To start, people want a clean room. It's a basic. But they also want something far more complex. They want to NOT be distracted from the beauty of the island or the relaxation they are chasing by a mistake we have made that could have been avoided.
95% of our guests report a great deal of satisfaction with there stays and let's face it, when you work hard and really care it is important to receive positive feedback. It encourages people, motivates them, and can literally make their day. On the flip side, when we a guest calls our attention to the fact that they don't have hot water (which occasionally happens when all 14 oversized jacuzzi tubs are in use at the same time), or that their soup is cold, or that one of our staff members was rude, it is distracting from their enjoyment.
And here's the other thing...
It's the people that are not enjoying their experience that we need to especially hear from so we can get ever better at what we do. We prefer be told about problems at the time they happen so we have an opportunity to improve the situation, but if you're too mad, don't like confrontation, are just plain shy, or didn't think of it at the time, we are all ears any time after your stay too.
So please share with us...if you have a suggestion for how we can improve, we look forward to hearing from you. If you saw the beauty, appreciated your service, tasted the good wine, and loved your truffle fries, go ahead and crow about it to the stars (people read the stars through the internet these day...links below). We, and our staff, truly appreciate knowing we have served you well!