Hotel Guest Review Scores Drive REVPAR, But How to Reply to Negative Reviews
As a hotel’s guest review score has a significant impact on the RevPAR performance of a hotel, we place great emphasis on online reputation management in our hotel revenue management strategies. As a little refresher, we asked our friends at TrustYou for some practical tips on how to tend to your hotel's profile online. Here the first in a series of articles on this topic.
3 simple steps to reply to negative reviews
Online feedback and hotel guest reviews on websites like TripAdvisor, Google or Yelp are a great way for hoteliers to find out what guests are thinking about the hotel and the experiences they made. The good news is: In 2016, 85% of all reviews were positive! Having a good reputation online is a great way to showcase the quality of our hotel and use it as a marketing tool - without having to do much but make sure the guest is happy while he is on site! But the remaining 15% of reviews that are negative can change travelers’ opinions quickly when searching for and booking hotels. It is therefore important to respond to reviews - in the best case to all, positive and negative. However, to limit potential negative impacts on the online reputation, hotels should always respond to negative reviews and proactively address the reason for complaint.
Here are three simple steps on how to ideally respond to negative reviews
1. Open With a Personal Thank You
Thank the guest for taking the time to write a review, and try to address the guest by name whenever possible. This lets guests know that their feedback is appreciated and valued.
2. Acknowledge and Address
Apologize for falling short of the guest’s expectations and make sure to address their specific concerns. if there are improvements that your hotel is making to ensure that other guests won’t have the same experience, make sure to mention that as well.
3. Invite them back
Invite the guest back to rectify the situation, and make sure to sign off the review with your name and an appropriate way for the guest to contact you. It shows that the hotel truly is interested in ensuring its guests have a great experience.
Let’s put it into practice
Here is a negative review that was written about a hotel written by a guest named Jenny:
I wanted to enjoy my stay here. I really did. However, the hotel was a disappointment from the moment we arrived. One of the elevators in the lobby wasn’t working, so we had to wait forever to get upstairs with all our luggage. Then, there weren’t enough towels in the room, and our coffee at breakfast wasn’t even warm.
Here is a great response:
First, I want to thank you for your feedback. While I wish, you had a better experience, it is feedback like this that we learn from and use to improve. We work hard to deliver an exceptional guest experience, and it’s apparent in this case, we fell short. At the time, you were staying with us, one of our elevators was out of service for routine maintenance. For the inconvenience, it caused, I am sorry. The safety of our guests is a priority and such service is an unavoidable necessity that should have been better explained. If you give us a chance to earn back your trust, I can assure you that your breakfast will be on time and your towels will be plentiful. I would be happy to make your reservation personally and and see to it that you enjoy the experience that so many of our guests have grown so fond of.
All the best,
Sam Jones, General Manager
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to react to negative responses. Always keep calm, be polite and professional. Reviews reflect subjective experiences made by guests and might not always coincide with your personal opinion. However, use the chance to convince the guest of your service and quality by responding to and solving the issue.
You might still ask yourself...
...should I respond to all negative reviews?
If possible, it is advisable to respond to all negative reviews written about your hotel.
...how long should I wait before writing a response?
You should respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible. We recommend responding within 24-48 hours. This allows you to quickly fix any hurt relationship with the guest as well as reduce the number of potential future guests that read the negative review without your response.
...how can I know when a negative review is written?
Hotels can either manually monitor each and every review site for negative reviews or simply use an online reputation management tool, like TrustYou Analytics, which alerts hotels immediately when a new review is written, as well as gives hoteliers a simple platform in which they can respond to all reviews across the web.
I hope these tips have been useful on how to respond to negative guest reviews, and manage your hotel's online reputation. Over the course of this year we will publish more articles on this topic …
Patrick Landman @ Xotels