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Wellingtonians lead NZ in posting bad online dining reviews

Wellingtonians lead country in posting bad ratings for restaurants, survey shows

By Hannah Lynch

Sept 6 (BusinessDesk) - Wellingtonians are the most likely group of New Zealanders to use online media to rate a negative dining experience, according to the latest nationwide American Express Dining Survey.

Over 50 percent of people polled in the capital said they would go online to post a bad review. That's compared with 35 percent of kiwis nationwide who would use social media to rate their negative dining experiences within hours of finishing a meal and 27 percent who do so immediately. Top restaurateurs in the capital say they can cope with online feedback.

"There is nothing to be afraid off," Mike Egan, owner of Wellington's Boulcott St Bistro, Osteria del Toro and Monsoon Poon restaurants told BusinessDesk. "People used to stand around and talk about their experiences - now people talk about them online."

"There is a huge range of online forums - people are more likely to trust their own Facebook groups - you can't hide behind the anonymity of review sites," he said.

Some 56 percent of kiwis who use social media to rate their dining experience were more likely to review a good dining experience. That's still not good news for the hospitality industry since happy diners traditionally take longer to boast about their experiences.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 kiwis found people who frequently dine out, once a week or more, were more likely to be influenced by online reviews when choosing their next dining destination.

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“It’s crucial for restaurant owners to be mindful of what is being said about them online, especially as their most frequent customers – and therefore arguably the most valuable – seem to be the most influenced by online reviews," said Marisa Bidois, chief executive at the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

Cafes and restaurants need to be online themselves and take control of their presence on the internet, Bidois said. Have a strong voice, respond constructively and quickly to criticism and remember it’s meant to be a two-way process so rather than sit on the feedback, see what changes can be made, she advises.

In August, the American Express Dining survey found that 93 percent of kiwis still eat out despite the tough economic climate. Residents in Wellington and Auckland were most likely to eat out at least once a week, with patrons in the capital making the most use of discount dining deals.


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