Thursday, June 10, 2010

We note that there is a local website that has been active for some time and would appear to be upping the ante after an initial soft-launch. is a new guest feedback platform that wants to be the Australasian version of Tripadvisor.

As we will note in a future post, the space for website platforms that offer guest reviews is about to get even more crowded.

Giving a test drive, we like the clean intuitive layout. It will be interesting to follow if can win the hearts and minds of the travelling public that are more than willing to share their experiences online.

Fossick founder, Genevieve Atkinson has sent us the following press release that makes interesting reading:
Yes, Trip Advisor has a rival in our local market. is a new site pitched solely at New Zealanders and Australians that recognizes that it's the opinion of someone local that really counts for us rather than a German backpacker or an American tourist. Fossick's free search-able database enables users to share their experiences as locals traveling in their own country or across the ditch. Helping new customers filter through options of what like-minded travelers also loved. Fossick has pre-listed much of NZ accommodation and providers simply have to claim their listing or add one, then spend 10 minutes adding further details. Content is driven by guest reviews and content inputted by the hotels/motels themselves and unlike Tripadvisor these business listings are free.

For moteliers or hoteliers keen to receive reviews from all customers, especially happy ones, Fossick offers help. An email service is available from Fossick, which complements provider's own options. This should guarantee the reviews keep coming in good numbers, and that matters on this site, because it’s the reviews that will determine where providers feature on the hit list. On some sites, you can buy your position - on Fossick, it's purely down to the number and quality of the reviews. Fossick aims to be the most trusted site in Australia and New Zealand - working with all accommodation providers to get reviews from verified guests.

So what happens when there is a negative review? Accommodation owners often turn red at the sound of publicly available negative comments but research says managed well, this could be their greatest sales asset. Despite the industry worries, customers are crying out for independent non-sales or marketing influenced opinions. Recent Australian Nielsen research backs this up, showing 86% of Australian web users are looking to their fellow internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands. They are particularly looking for reviews by people like them - oldies, those with children, those who want to be near to the attractions - not a generic catch all. Tripadvisor research reports that a hotel's response to a negative review changes 59% of customer’s perceptions about the hotel. It’s not that customers expect it should be perfect; it’s more important how you respond when it’s not. is totally independent, unbiased, fair and free. "We see our role as a neutral space between customers and accommodation owners helping to marry up needs with options. We don't directly sell accommodation, instead referring customers to your own or other OTA sites. (Referral fees apply, although your website link is there for free).”

Every-time we go on holiday or book someone we acquire that little bit more knowledge and word of mouth marketing (social media) simply enables us to share that in a larger format to help other like mind locals (and eventually ourselves) to utilize that knowledge to get the best bang for our buck" says Fossick founder Genevieve Atkinson.

Besides customer reviews, the Fossick focus is on niche information not covered by traditional sites... like where's the nearest coffee shop or children 's playground, enabling accommodation providers to present quite different information to potential customers with filters for types, price and a whole host of smaller details. Like Tripadvisor there will be some winners and losers, but with motels, which form the bulk of NZ accommodation wanting to find themselves on an even keel with larger chains with bigger marketing budgets , Fossick can really help out. Fossick will naturally reward those places big or small who really go that extra mile with increased business and higher margins.

So go and claim or add your business today on 

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