Trust Mico, founded by chief executive Alex Small, aims to give power back to restaurateurs and hoteliers who have found themselves at the mercy of negative and, sometimes untrue, reviews by only allowing recommendations to be published on the site.
The website works by asking diners and guests if they wish to recommend a business to others once they’ve visited it. If they do, that recommendation is published online, but if they don’t and have a comment to make, the feedback is sent directly to the restaurant or hotel, not published online.
“We don’t think it’s fair for businesses to be treated the way they are at the moment. All the power has gone to the customer. A customer could blackmail a restaurant into giving them a free bottle of wine to stop them writing a bad review about their meal and the restaurant is powerless because anyone can write what they like on review sites," said Small.
“The main problem with review sites is that we are programmed to focus on the negatives not the positives and research has shown that you need to see five positive reviews to make up for one negative, so when you take negative reviews out and make something about recommendations you make a big difference to business."
Discounts and offers.
As well as providing an alternative to review sites, Trust Mico is aiming to take a share of the discount and incentives market. According to recent research by LiveBookings , the discount market is vast with restaurants in the UK offering £135m a week in discounts.
Businesses signing up to Trust Mico will be able to offer discounts and incentives to registered users as well as use the site to run a personalised loyalty scheme, Small told BigHospitality.
“Offering deals and discounts is completely free through us and businesses will also be able to control their offers once they are running. One of the comments we’ve had from businesses using incentive sites is that they sometimes put an offer out there and then didn’t quite expect the numbers of people to take it up so that in the end they lose money,” he added.
Trust Mico, which already has 2,500 registered users, will now run a marketing campaign with the aim of reaching 900,000 businesses.
Businesses are charged from £7.99 to £11.99 a month for a range of services. For more information visit www.trustmico.com