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The Good, The Bad, and Especially – The Ugly. Why Responding to EVERY Review is Essential to Your Reputation.

by / Thursday, 19 March 2015 / Published in Blog, Revenue Management
Responding to Reviews

Feedback, constructive criticism, or maybe just plain old criticism. Are you shuddering at the thought? If you are, stop, because though it may be hard to take sometimes, it’s essential to the success and well-being of your hotel. That’s right, criticism whether good, bad or even ugly, is a necessary tool for you and your management team to have and to use. Without feedback, you’ll never know what you’re doing well, and what you could do better. Listening to all comments and responding appropriately and in a timely manner is one of the best tactics for hotel reputation management.

Regardless of whether your hotel has received a positive or negative review, you must give equal attention to both. Don’t be arrogant. Mistakes are made everywhere in life, misunderstanding and miscommunication happens no matter what. Therefore, never turn up your nose at a grievance, large or small. Many potential guests will judge a hotel’s customer service based on how the hotel responded to previous guests comments and reviews. Therein lies the true value of responding to all comments – to show future guests you have responsive management, that you care about your guests and any issues that may arise.

Best Practices for Hotel Reviews

From our very own experience, here’s a quick list of best practices when it comes to responding to reviews:

Reviewer-graphics

Never Let a Bad Comment Fester Like an Old Wound

Seriously, that’s exactly what will happen if you just ignore the bad comment. Address the comment, validate their frustration, apologize for their poor experience, and find a way to make it better. This will, of course, depend on what the grievance is exactly, but it’s probably an easy fix, and your response to the issue will be there forever for all future guests to see.

Acknowledge Your Ambassadors

Those rock star guests who had the best hotel experience of their lives at your hotel deserve some lovin’. Keep it short and sweet, but always acknowledge when a guest compliments the hotel in some manner. On social media, try to interact with the guest to show your appreciation, this will depend on the guest’s privacy settings, of course. For example, say things like “thank you for sharing,” “we’re happy to hear you’ve enjoyed your stay,” etc.

Best to Be Switzerland If Possible

So unfortunately, a guest left a bad review, comment, or mention, now what? Definitely, don’t ignore it, or let it sit, but try to stay as neutral as possible. Neutrality doesn’t mean inaction, though. Acknowledge + Apologize + Appreciate + Follow up With Management. Those are the steps you should take. First, let them know you understand their frustration. Second, apologize to them for the inconvenience to their stay. Third, thank them for taking the time to let you know about the issue, let them know it’s helpful for management to know about theses issues so that they can be prevented in the future. Lastly, assure them their grievance has been sent to upper management for review.

Some Guest are Just “Chronic Complainers”

In case the issue cannot be resolved online, but still renders further follow-up, be sure to private message the guest if possible, or ask them to private mesage the company page with their contact information. Always try to give the guest direct contact information for management, so they have the option to follow up if they feel it’s necessary.

Most of the time, you’ll probably find that the guest just wanted to feel “heard.” It’s the old adage – most people just want to be acknowledged. As soon as you let them know they’ve been heard, and that you’re sorry, the issue will dissolve, and you’ll look like a rockstar for being so kind and supportive towards your guests. Trust, your helpful and encouraging responses to both negative and positive comments will be noted by every future guest, and chances are, that’s what will make your hotel stand out among the crowd. Don’t forget price, star rating, or even a breathtaking beach sunset are NOT your most unique selling points. Customer service and personal attention are, or at least, they should be!

If you want your hotel to succeed, heed the advice of HMG Hospitality management, they’ve seen firsthand, over and over again, which strategies and tactics work, in a variety of hotels and regions. They know the challenges of the industry, but they have sophisticated and reliable solutions. If you have a hotel in need of management assistance, contact HMG Hospitality and put their expertise to work.

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