How This Top Restaurant Showcases Hospitality With Tripadvisor

Abe Dau started his restaurant with a dream and fourteen bottles of rum. Today he's one of the top restaurants in Cartagena, Columbia. Here’s how Abe uses Tripadvisor to make his restaurant a place that feels like home — and helps his business grow.

Welcome to El Arsenal, Colombia

You won’t make it to your table at El Arsenal without a hug, and that’s just the beginning of what makes El Arsenal special. Showcasing one of Colombia’s best local products — rum — this bar and restaurant is known for their incredible hospitality. From the moment you walk through the door, you’ll feel like part of the family with a hug, complimentary rum and chocolate pairing, and free snack of the day.

“We wanted a different experience. It couldn’t be what everyone else has,” says Abe Dau, the owner. “We started just reading the needs of our guests. Tripadvisor is a great way to see [that.]”

With Tripadvisor, Abe developed El Arsenal into a top restaurant, receiving the 2018 Certificate of Excellence and averaging a five-bubble rating. And he’s just getting started.

The Challenge: Staying on Top

“You have to maintain a certain level of performance,” says Dau. “You can’t just be ‘ok’ anymore. You have to be completely on your A-game.” For Dau, that means a relentless focus on the customer and an investment in creating the best customer experience possible. For example, he might forfeit a few of the tables near a rowdy table knowing that it won’t be a great experience for the rest of his customers.

“That’s where Tripadvisor comes in handy,” he says. “Once something is complained about three times, we know we need to take immediate action.” This was the case with El Arsenal’s side dishes. After three different guests complained, Dau worked with his kitchen staff to restructure the menu.

“[This was a] challenge we didn’t know we had until Tripadvisor. In our heads, it’s all fine,” says Dau. “Getting into our guests’ heads is [a huge] advantage.”

How El Arsenal Extends Their Hospitality Online

Our general structure for responses are to address them by their name, thank them, comment on what they’ve already mentioned, reintegrate the thank you, and then we invite them back. Abe Dau

Owner, El Arsenal

Dau checks his Tripadvisor Management Center daily to make sure he knows what people are saying about his restaurant. Then, he makes sure he responds in a timely manner. “I think adding a little bit of humor to it is crucial,” he says. “Our general structure for responses are to address them by their name, thank them, comment on what they’ve already mentioned, reintegrate the thank you, and then we invite them back.”

This way, the same kind of hospitality Dau practices in his restaurant is a part of their online presence. Here’s an example of a recent response to a five-bubble review:

“Wow, those are some wonderful words you got for us there. It's truly meaningful for us when someone feels this way about El Arsenal because it means we are succeeding at what we aim to do the most, and that is to please our clients above all. Thank you so much for taking the time to come by our place and thank you a thousand more for such a wonderful review, hope to have you back with us soon!”

How They Use Tripadvisor

Beyond responding to reviews, Dau uses Tripadvisor Premium to showcase his hospitality. “You only have a few seconds to try to captivate your guests,” he says. He loves how the Storyboard feature provides a dynamic slideshow of the best his restaurant has to offer. “It’s wonderful that [with Storyboard], the key pointers are all there.”

Tripadvisor Premium gives Dau the ability to put his best foot forward, no matter where his customers come from in the world. “The best marketing is word-of-mouth,” says Dau. “Tripadvisor [is] that word-of-mouth.”

Showcase your hospitality with Tripadvisor

Posted by:

Kayla Voigt

Kayla Voigt

Marketing Manager

Read the bio.

Showcase your hospitality with Tripadvisor

Last Updated: 2 July 2019

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