Every snow or bike park is facing negative criticism. No matter how hard the employees in the parks work, there will always be some people who would not like the park and this is totally normal. Unfortunately a bad word of mouth tends to catch fire faster than a good word of mouth and with the social media, negative comments are even easier to tell and spread on large scale, which can have negative consequences for the resort if not treated right.
First off all we have to draw a line between negative critics, which have valid points, and haters. No park is perfect and negative critics can reflect genuine problems. In that case, these critics are very constructive as they expose weak points of the park that could be improved. That is why all critics should be addressed with an open mind and focus on the heart of a complaint, ignoring the emotionally-charged aspects. On the other side, we have people who have negative opinion about a certain park which are not based on hard facts. Again, we have to understand the cause for such criticism. The most frequent type of negative criticism does not come from the people who passionately hate your park forever, but rather someone who has had a negative experience of some kind. Furthermore, in many cases people spread a negative word of mouth because of the lack of information or knowledge. If you can find a way to fix that experience and make it right, that same person can be transformed into your biggest advocate.
However this is not always possible, because it is hard for the visitors of the park to imagine how hard the shape crew worked all night long to reshape the park after a snow storm. All they see is that the park is not in perfect shape the morning after the snow storm and they start to complain. Even a sudden change in temperature may limit the quality of the park and in such conditions even the shape crews cannot do much. Apart from that, all the visitors dream about certain park features, however they often do not know, for example, the costs and other resources needed for the development, which can again lead to negative criticism. A negative comment is therefore an indicator that the commenter doesn’t clearly understand the issue and an explanation is all that is required to stem the tide of criticism. With some people on your side, you are not going to win at the end. Everything we may say to them will add fuel to the flames, however it would be interesting to find out what causes these extreme feelings. Even though the “customer is always right”, in this case you will never be able to satisfy them.
As mentioned before, social media made spreading of a negative word of mouth even easier, especially as people who are otherwise not willing to express their opinions, are encouraged to spread their thoughts by hiding behind the computers. Apart from that, a negative word of mouth reaches those people who have not been in the park and may persuade them not to visit the park. As the negative word of mouth is spreading online on the fast lane, it is important to respond quickly. The longer a negative comment goes without a response, the more credibility the comment acquires. That is why it is important to respond and show the customer that you are doing all you can to rectify the situation or at least acknowledge that you listen them. However when it comes to criticism without hard facts, it has to be considered that an online battle of opinions is based on volume. You can spend time coming up with a reasonable argument or apology, and no matter how good it is, you’ll get drowned out. This group needs to be isolated and ignored and the focus should be rather made on positive visitors and fans, which often defend the park from haters on their own.
In the end, the most important thing is that no matter what haters say, the resorts always try to make the best they can. The community will sooner or later recognize the haters among them and will lead to their reduced credibility. Apart from that, it is also important to discuss and solve negative comments, online, best, directly with the complainant and on the actual location.