Bad hotel reviews have an important effect on a hotel’s reputation. Online reviews in general are often the king decision-maker when it comes to whether a customer makes a purchase or not, regardless of the product or service. Reviews act as social currency and provide proof for why someone should choose to spend their money. Just a few of the benefits of reviews are:
- Getting others to also leave reviews.
- Providing facts about how your business runs and the products/services you sell
- Achieving a higher Google ranking.
- Increasing website traffic.
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The Importance Of Online Reviews
According to Forbes, a staggering 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. With so many people checking out reviews before making purchases, maintaining positive reviews is an absolute must in today’s business world.
When it comes to the hotel industry, online reviews are a crucial part of whether a customer makes a booking. Trivago’s business blog also showcased that for hotels, reputation directly impacts their revenue.
In summary, too many bad reviews means you are losing customers.
How To Respond To Positive Reviews
In the same way that you deepen a connection with followers on social media by responding to their comments, the same is also true for positive reviews. In offering a response to a positive review, it offers a chance to deepen customer loyalty.
Tips For Responding To Positive Reviews
Speak to them as an individual
Use their name and give a response based upon their comments. Don’t use copy paste responses. Take the time to respond to them the same way that they did for you and the rewards will be experienced over the long-term.
Say thank you
The majority of people are busy bees. If they took the time to leave a positive review, show them that you appreciate this time by outwardly thanking them. Not only does this give them a good feeling, it shows that their review is important. Others can take note of this and leave even more good reviews for hotels.
Offer additional value
Again, this person took the time to write you a positive review. This means they are a great source as a brand ambassador. You can encourage them to take this even further by offering them something further such as a coupon or other incentive to encourage customer loyalty.
Sample Responses To Positive Reviews
Here’s one useful example from Hubspot for the hospitality industry:
“Hey John, I’m ecstatic to hear that you love the white wine salmon dinner you ordered at our restaurant. Many of our customers were requested a wine-based dish and we thought this may be a hit. I’m definitely going to show our chef this review, I’m sure they’d love to know you were pleased with it. Next time you come in for dinner, ask for me and I will come say hello — I’ll bring the chef too! Lol. Thank you again for stopping by, John Doe, Owner.”
How To Respond To Negative Reviews
Now we come to the elephant in the room: what to do with bad reviews. When you have too many, this can become killer for your entire brand because people see this when they search for your company and don’t even click on the website, and likely also spread it via word of mouth.
So, should you respond to negative reviews?
The short answer is yes. Forbes once again reveals the importance of responding to bad reviews in that when businesses respond to customer reviews — good or bad — their ratings subsequently increase. So even if you hate the idea of confronting angry customers, it’s a must if you want to break through the tension and end the potential long-term pitfalls of bad reviews.
Tips For Responding To Bad Reviews
#1 Thoroughly Consider The Review First
Take a step back, a deep breath, and think through how you will respond to the review. If you write a response the second after you read, chances are you will make a bad situation become even worse. Wait a bit until you are more calm to craft a more thoughtful response and the end result will be much better.
If you are unsure whether your review has a bad tone, write it first then read it over again after 2 or 3 hours or show it to a colleague or friend who can give you honest feedback.
#2 Show Them That Their Review Is Important Through A Public Response
When you receive a negative review, you may consider contacting the customer directly and trying to resolve the issue – which can be a good idea in some circumstances. Nonetheless, it’s also worthwhile to respond publicly, because it shows the customer you hear their issue and you take it seriously. This can even nullify the effect the bad review has created because other customers will see that you thoughtfully approached the problem and found a solution.
Every business will encounter mistakes at some point. This is a give in. But how you react to it sets the tone for your brand for the long-term future.
#3 Emphasize And Try To Offer A Solution
Offer an apology, say that you understand the customer’s problem and try to come to a compromise. Take concrete action to ensure that not only this customer’s bad experience was noted and resolved, but also that if other customers have a problem, you know how to fix it.
Take bad reviews as a learning experience. Whatever a customer has an issue with, regardless of how relevant you find it, other customers may have the same issue. Learn from the feedback they provide and try to improve it so it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Sample Responses To Negative Reviews
Negative Review Example #1
“I recently went to John’s Auto Shop for an oil change and I was very disappointed with the service I received. Originally, the oil change was supposed to take only 45 minutes but it took an hour and 45 minutes! When I tried to find out why it was taking so long, the responses I received were rude and disrespectful. I definitely would NOT recommend this place.” – Lauren
Negative Review Response Example #1
“Hello, Lauren. First of all, we appreciate your feedback. I’m very sorry that your recent experience at John’s Auto Shop was not a pleasant one. We strive to deliver the best service possible to every one of our customers and when we fall short of that goal we try to do everything we can to resolve the issue. The time it took for your oil change to be completed is unacceptable and although I do not know which team member(s) you interacted with, I have spoken with my staff to ensure that an incident like this does not repeat itself. Again, all of us at John’s Auto Shop sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope you will give us another chance to make things right. Next time, please ask for me – I am the manager – so that I can ensure your experience with us is fast and smooth.” – John
Negative Review Example #2
“XYZ restaurant has all the promises of being great. I came in craving a delicious burger. While the service was friendly, my burger arrived under-cooked. It was sent back to the kitchen and when it returned, it came back well-done. I had ordered medium and each time I received my food, it was inedible. I doubt I will return.” – Samantha
Negative Review Response Example #2
“We really appreciate your feedback, Samantha. We are always looking for ways to improve guest experience. I have personally addressed the issue with the entire kitchen staff. It is unacceptable that your food did not come out as you ordered. My name is Adam and I would like to personally make amends. You can call my direct line at 555-555-5555. I look forward to speaking.” – Adam
How To Remove Bad Reviews
Generally speaking, it’s not possible to remove negative reviews on the majority of popular reviewing platforms, including Google, Airbnb, Trip Advisor and Facebook. This helps to uphold the integrity of the review system in general so customers are provided transparent information and can compare hotel reviews accurately.
In the case that you do get bad reviews, it’s best to respond using the examples and tips provided above. However, there are some cases where platforms such as Google will remove them. These are extreme circumstances that involve racism or illegal substances. Sometimes fake reviews also occur, such as coming from a competitor.
Here are some helpful links for reporting reviews you would like removed:
How To Encourage Customers To Write Reviews
If bad reviews aren’t yet a problem or you need to get reviews in the first place, here are a couple ways you can do so:
#1 Just Ask Them
After you have completed the purchasing cycle, simply ask the customer to give a review. Sometimes people will offer it themselves, or if you have digital communication, you can also ask the customer if they would give permission to publish a quote from this communication.
#2 Offer Multiple Options For Leaving Reviews
Customers will have different preferences for where they like to leave reviews. Give them the option to post on multiple platforms so they can choose which one is easiest for them. If you’re lucky, they may even give more than one review.
#3 Make It Simple For Customers To Leave Reviews
Once a customer leaves, you can automatically send a link for a review or a survey so it’s easy for them to fill in.
Hotels should take special note of just one of the many advantages of being on booking platforms such as Booking.com so that guests receive push notifications to write reviews after their stay.
#4 Offer Incentives
Especially if you’re just getting started with reviews, you may need to offer customers a little extra to get them to leave a review. You can offer a coupon or discounted service or another small reward that fits the circumstance.
Booking.com offers a fantastic refer a friend system that gives rewards for the person who refers and the new customer.
Have more questions? Be sure to join our Hoteliers Elite Facebook group, we will be happy to help you!