In this digital age, information is abundant and immediate. The best sources for information are no longer newspapers, magazines, and specialty publications. Now, consumers go online to the “comments” section of an online newspaper, industry-related blogs, and customer review websites. For example, when my family plans a vacation, we regularly visit Trip Advisor to do a little online research.
The Trip Advisor website contains a section for consumers to post reviews. After a major hurricane in South Florida, I had several resort and hotel clients with major property damage and significant business interruptions. As you can imagine, many of the reviews of these damaged properties were scathing, posted by irate consumers whose long-planned family vacations were less than perfect thanks to Mother Nature. There were dozens of reviews about damage to the property, loss of facilities, and unmet expectations.
Now more than ever, social media websites such as Twitter, Trip Advisor, and Facebook can affect the buying decisions of consumers. This type of social media “bad press” can affect both the occupancy rates and revenue of a business during the period of restoration and during an extended period of indemnity. Alternatively, a wave of “positive feedback” could provide evidence that the event is having little or no ongoing impact on the business.
Negative social media comments can particularly affect businesses that submit business interruption claims in industries such as hotels, marinas, ski resorts, beach resorts, golf courses, and restaurants. Any business interruption claim can be affected by negative social media–because consumers continue to carry cell phones, and I don’t think that Twitter is going away any time soon.
John Hutson is fiercely committed to guiding clients through the process of quantifying a business interruption for litigation or an insurance claim. Please feel welcome to contact John to discuss your project.