2014 TripAdvisor Award of Excellence – Winning With Social Media
I would like to thank my team for everything they do to help us make Tiki’s a great experience for our guests. We were recently honored with the TripAdvisor 2014 Award of Excellence thanks to everyone’s hard work. This marks the third year in a row that we’ve received the award.
A lot goes in to making a large, busy restaurant like Tiki’s a success and social media sites like Yelp, OpenTable, Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor have added another dimension. There are good and bad things, I think, about online reviews but our whole team, from the floor managers and the front of the house staff to the kitchen and the owners have contributed to how well we’ve done. Earning consistently high ratings, good reviews and awards like this one really shows what a strong team we have.
TripAdvisor is a pretty powerful social media network for travelers and obviously in Waikiki we are a travel destination. Our clientele is maybe 20% local and 80% visitors. We’re not a franchise so for visitors, a lot of our guests are seeing us for the first time. TripAdvisor is definitely an important source of information about Tiki’s for visitors and it is a big source of business for the restaurant.
We’re one of just three or four restaurants in Waikiki that has over 1,000 reviews on TripAdvisor. That means two things. We have a lot of guests and a lot of them are talking about us on sites like TripAdvisor. It’s a great feeling to have people, many of them very well-traveled, very sophisticated when it comes to dining, give us a great review.
I’ve read that some chefs don’t like social media. They don’t like that fact that people aren’t talking to them if there is a problem, but I get that. I talk to people. If I have a problem or I’m really impressed by something I’ll tell people but I understand that some people are uncomfortable with that and would rather be anonymous and writing a review lets them do that. We sometimes get bad reviews. That’s just the nature of the business, but we still treat it as good information.
For some people, they might give us five stars because of the great bar scene and the live music and then some people might put in a negative review because they thought the music was too loud. Sometimes we can’t please everyone. Sometimes we make mistakes and a negative review shows us where we’ve got a problem. We definitely use information from both good and bad reviews in our decision making.
The Not So Ugly
For myself, I don’t personally follow the social media much. I receive the info second hand usually and so I would be missing one of the big contributors to our success on social media if I didn’t mention one of our owners, Bill Tobin. He’s the guy keeping a close watch on the reviews we get on TripAdvisor and other social media sites. As the owner of a large business, Bill still responds personally to a lot of the reviews and always responds to negative comments. I know he’s been used as a positive example of how restaurant owners can use social media to benefit their business and motivate their staff.
Finally, I’d like to give a big mahalo to all the people that have taken the time to write a review of Tiki’s. We appreciate their feedback. It helps us do a better job and feels good to know how many people are having a really great experience with us.