Every hotel has had to face the reality of a negative guest review. For many hoteliers, it can be easy to dismiss a negative review online. Whether a hotel responds to this review with a simple, canned answer or they simply decide not to answer it at all, there is a positive selling opportunity here that you may be passing up. Here are some simple steps you can take to turn these negative reviews into positives.
Don’t delay in your response. Prospective guests want to know how a hotel is going to handle adversity. Most guests understand that things happen, and not everyone will leave 100% happy 100% of the time. What they are looking for is how you handle adversity. The first step is offering a timely response. Anything longer than 2-3 days looks like you are not handling a guest’s issue, or are not actively watching what your guests are saying. It is recommended that all General Manager’s, or those responsible for handling your responses, carve out a small amount of time each day to review and respond to all active reviews.
Provide a detailed response. Are you offering the same response repeatedly to all reviews? This is the biggest mistake I’ve seen hotels make. When you offer the same response to guests, it conveys that you aren’t actively listening to a guest’s concerns. It can make potential guests feel uneasy to see you provide a repeated response. In their minds, a repeated response means that should they have an issue during their stay, it won’t be handled properly.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for your hotel. Many times, I have encountered guest reviews that will state their issue and not add what measures were taken to handle it. I recommend all hotels take detailed notes of every guest interaction a team member has, whether it be good or bad. These notes will help you provide a complete picture to potential guests on the matter. Let’s say a guest’s room didn’t get cleaned one day and as an apology, you comped breakfast for their stay. This guest may go to an online review site and only state that they did not receive housekeeping service during one day of their stay. As you know, while what they’ve said is true, they haven’t offered the hotels resolution. This is where your notes come in. Don’t be afraid to provide a response offering your additional apologies for the issue and that you were glad to hear you were able to rectify it by comping their breakfast charge. This let’s potential guests know that while there may have been an issue, the hotel was able to offer a resolution to the guest that was satisfactory.
Negative reviews are something that every hotel will have to deal with at some point. How you respond to these reviews can help potential guests make an informed decision when considering booking your hotel.