Can Bad Word-of-mouth Publicity Harm A Hospitality Business?

Yes, as a short answer. If you want the lengthy discussion and why I was even eager to write about this, you need to scroll down and read through it. How can bad word-of-mouth publicity harm a hospitality business? That can hurt the business in many ways, eventually leading to its closure.

I will go over my own personal experience with that. Then, we will skim through the books and what research says about the same content.

Alright, here’s how this 2-minute read will follow.

Story: How can bad word-of-mouth publicity harm a hospitality business?

So, what triggered me to write about this?

During my last trip to Europe, I entered one of the restaurants in a top tourist area that treated our family and many other customers in a bizarre and wrong way. When we all came out of the restaurant, we reviewed the place on Google and were eager to spread our negative experiences to others. My intention was to never actually see people entering that place because I didn’t want anyone to be treated the way we were. In just a few days, I found many unrelated tourists and people coming from different parts of the world, confirming my review and agreeing. This place should not be serving people or making revenues if it provides others with bad experiences and memories. I am in no way exaggerating.

Statistics: How can bad word-of-mouth publicity harm a hospitality business?

After that, I couldn’t help but look for evidence and figures to know to what extent science is proving my point. So, before writing this piece, I looked up some trusted sources to understand more about the narrative. Thank God I found some figures to back me up.

Deloitte’s Global Consumer Trends 2022 report and a University of Pennsylvania study on the impact of online reviews on hotel revenue showed some numbers. That gave me relief.

The numbers are the following:

  • 89% of users mentioned they would avoid a business (in general, let alone food!) after reading negative online reviews.
  • 79% of consumers said they would trust a recommendation from a friend or family member over a paid advertisement (that’s the University of Pennsylvania Study).
  • 67% of consumers said they would share a bad experience with a business with at least 15 other people (and that’s precisely what I have done, not just in Europe but when I returned to my home country, too!).

Also, the University of Pennsylvania study highlighted that a one-star decrease in a hotel’s Yelp rating can lead to a 5% decrease in revenue.

So, in general, the primary research I conducted aligns with my point of view. The hospitality industry is particularly vulnerable to bad word-of-mouth publicity. Think about it. It’s a field that revolves around customer satisfaction. Whenever customers face bad experiences, they will very likely share what they experienced with others. The negative feedback loop starts, and the business’s reputation is jeopardized.

Tips for the hospitality business that I believe are important to remind everyone with

I hope we are both on the same page and that you, as an entrepreneur in a hospitality business, agree with me on the topic.

I will reinforce some ideas as a small reminder to protect your business and your reputation as an entrepreneur from word-of-mouth publicity.

Go an extra mile in your hospitality business to:

Make Your Customers Comfortable

Don’t tell me that the housekeeping has been deep-cleaning the room for four hours from 11:00 am (the check-out time) until 3:00 pm (check-in time). Especially when I requested an early check-in service since our flight will arrive very early.

Be professional and responsive.

This was totally unacceptable. I crossed out this hotel from all the lists.

Show Your Customers that You Care!

There’s a huge difference between having someone in a restaurant telling you that the place is crowded, but they will do their best to help make you happy, and informing your customers that the place is very crowded, so you will be standing the whole time so it’s either take it or leave it. Come on! What’s wrong with you?

Be very attentive to the details and to what your mouth is actually speaking out loud to others. Your mouth is the very same reason why you are losing customers.

Wrapping Up

That was my side of the story and some numbers to back me up. So, dear reader, yes, bad word-of-mouth does and will always be something of value. I also had an urge to remind business owners in the hospitality business with some guidelines. I know these are basic, but maybe every business should see whether these are applied in practice or long forgotten.

And just as I constantly remind you, we have many downloadable pitch decks and business plan templates on Albusi’s website. These will help you to write your elevator pitch, problem statement, the solutions that you are proposing, financial projections, and investment asks for your hospitality business (in different specializations to choose from, too)

In addition, the Albusi team can craft a one-of-a-kind pitch deck just for you! This is another exceptional service to entrepreneurs that you should check out. The linked page will tell you more about what our previous clients say about this service. So, do not hesitate to ask if you want a pitch deck designed or written by Albusi.

And, of course, if you’re out of time and want a consultant to help you get this right, you can always contact one of our freelancers. They will help you with everything you need for your hospitality business and help you pitch it to others.

I highly recommend that.

Meet The Author Of This Article

Jenny Ayman

I’m Jenny Ayman, a project manager in the development field with specific knowledge and experience in capacity building and entrepreneurship programs. I aspire to transfer the hands-on experience I gain in my professional career through writing.

Also, if you need help planning your business, I recommend checking out some of our freelancer’s business plans or pitch decks!