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Managing Customer Expectations For Glen Helen


I thought it was timely to write a post about the old chestnut: Reviews and how to manage them.

Most hotels must work with Trip Advisor in receiving reviews and responding to them. We find from conversations with our visitors that many people read reviews and interestingly many take special note of the responses we make to our reviews. Recently I have been complimented on the quality of my responses which is much appreciated, as I put a lot of thought into them.

Glen Helen attracts a tremendously wide range of opinion, from absolutely terrible ‘Should be bulldozed’ to absolutely wonderful ‘The best place we stayed at in Australia’! I think we have this variety because guests approach us from several levels.

Some look only at room standard and facilities, and compare directly with other hotels, including city hotels and find poor value and standard. After all they could book a basic backpacker room in a capital city for half what they pay for our rooms! This of course is true, but you need to compare apples with apples! We are very remote so that automatically raises the price before room standard is taken into account.

Some look at the overall rustic appearance of Glen Helen. Many feel it compares poorly to a modern property, while others celebrate the difference!

And some simply relax into the property, getting the feel of the close proximity of the magnificent scenery, the peaceful atmosphere as you sit on the veranda with a drink in hand, watching the herons fishing, and the great fun of our evening entertainment and delight of our gourmet meals.

Love us or hate us, we want you all to know we work hard to make every single guest welcome, from cleaning the simple rooms as well as we can, to introducing our guests to the location, keeping lawns green, helping travellers with their queries and challenges, informing them about the region and providing the best food and wine experience we can!

So please, if you are not happy while you are here, give us the chance to make you happy by letting us know. This is much better than going away and writing a review full of negatives, when most issues can be resolved satisfactorily during your stay. Learn why things are as they are, and get to know us a little.

And very importantly we are reverting soon to the original name of the accommodation at Glen Helen, the Glen Helen Homestead Lodge. With this change we hope to better reflect the Guest House feel we aim to generate, and escape from the wrong expectations and impressions the word Resort creates. This change should be completed by the start of our 2015 season, 1st April 2015, by which time we should have new signs, new names on this website, and hopefully happy customers!

This post was prompted by a lovely email I received this week from Sarah and Graham, who gave us permission to publish their experience at Glen Helen, which was really lovely to hear.

Thanks to all our wonderful guests who flow through our home, each week, month and year, some returning repeatedly

Shelagh O’Brien

“Hello Glen Helen, We had the pleasure of staying at Glen Helen on Saturday 16th August this year. After a bone-rattling journey from King’s Canyon on the Mereenie Loop road, we arrived at Glen Helen late in the afternoon. We opted for the bunkhouse accommodation and spent a comfortable and WARM night after a very cold campout at Yulara the previous night. Heaven! Sure, it was basic but we loved it! The entertainment was an unexpected treat with the amazing talent of Chris Aronsten. What a man! As well as singing and playing a host of different instruments, he gave a few lessons on the spoons, taught a bit of folk dancing and by the end of the night he had cobbled together a pretty darned good “choir” to help him sing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. What a joy! We had such a good time. Thanks for that! The next morning I was ‘honoured’ to have G the galah sit on my shoulder and give me some quality time……..she must have known that I’d had a pet galah when I was young! We only spent one night as we were limited with time but we enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to the patient staff who looked after these two weary travellers on our arrival. I have read a couple of negative reviews about the outback conditions and I can only say to those reviewers that if they do find outback conditions in the Outback (well, duh!), deal with it and move on….or stay in the towns!

Thanks again and regards, Sarah and Graham, Loxton, S.A.”