How to Respond to Online Negative Hotel Reviews

EHL Students - Bachelor | 27 Jun, 2016

The percentage of travelers who book their trip online is growing every year. As a consequence, it is becoming extremely important for hotels to have a good online reputation. According to Statisticbrain, 81% of travelers find online reviews important when booking their hotel stay. In fact, 49% of travelers won’t even book their trips without looking at them.

However, despite what many establishments believe, travelers do not only check the reviews the hotel has received, but also check how the hotel responded to these reviews.

Shama Kabani, author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing, states:

“Even if you do get negative feedback, you can turn it into a positive by engaging in a constructive way and showing that you’re a genuine business. People are not looking for perfection online. What they’re really looking for is humanity and a genuine response, so a negative review can be a great opportunity to respond in a positive and transparent manner. And that has a good impact on all your customers.”

However, replying to negative reviews can be difficult, especially at first. You can find a few tips here below, to get you on track:

Tripadvisor has published a list of guidelines to be followed when the management team answers the reviews made about its establishments. It includes requirements such as the use of family-friendly vocabulary, the respect of personal privacy, and the prohibition of promotional material of any kind.

Even if negative, you should always thank your guest for having taken their time to write the review. Remember that other travelers are also reading your answers, and therefore, the more courteous and respectful you are, the better impression they will have of your attitude if something goes wrong during their stay.

Show some sympathy. Tell the guest how truly sorry you are that something wasn’t up to their expectations. Very important here is not to be defensive. You definitely do not want it to end up like Amy’s Baking Company, which had one of the most famous company meltdowns in history, due to being defensive against customer reviews, and had to eventually close its doors because of its reputation. In case you feel angry about what a reviewer wrote, cool your head off and think about what you could answer for a long period of time. Do not answer impulsively.

Try to include positive aspects of your business in the answer to negative reviews. It will take the focus away from the unpleasant aspects, and point out that despite the fact that something went wrong, the good aspects of your business make up for it.

For more tips, read the following blog article, which offers concrete examples of how to deal with specific complaints, such as noise, mistakes, and unclean rooms.

Author: Angela Mitteldorf - EHL Bachelor Student

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