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How to respond to online hotel reviews

Did you know that 79% of people will read between six and twelve reviews before making a booking decision? 

With digital channels facilitating user participation on an unprecedented level, public online reviews can have a huge impact on business reputation, and can even help the customer build trust and take action to complete their buyer journey. In fact, in some cases, customer feedback could be the difference between a two-week stay and the decision to walk away.

According to Hotel Business, 81% of people frequently or always read reviews before booking a hotel, with 86% agreeing that TripAdvisor makes them feel more confident in their booking decisions. Personally responding to online reviews, whether they are good or bad, is therefore important to factor into your marketing strategy, not only to maintain a positive online presence but also to gain authority, encourage further feedback and demonstrate high quality customer service practices. 

Whilst we try our best to uphold a wonderful reputation and exceed customers’ expectations during their stay, we can’t guarantee that everyone’s experience will have hit the mark. It may be tempting to disregard, ignore or delete negative reviews, but it’s important to see such occasions as an opportunity to prove how much you value your guests and their opinions. 

Here are our four top tips on how to respond to negative hotel reviews:

Apologise 

Sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but the customer is always right. The first step is apologising for any negative experiences they may have had whilst visiting your establishment and stating the intention that you want to make it right.

Input positivity

Reassure the guest that this is not the service you strive for. It’s important to engage with guests and show them you are reading their responses, listening to feedback and taking suggestions on board. Strike up a two-way conversation with customers, ask them where they have felt difficulties, find the areas that need improvements, and let them know publicly that you’ll work on them.

Short and sweet

Rather than responding with lengthy and overwhelming paragraphs of information, offer clear, concise and accessible responses which get straight to the point without confusing the recipient. 

Offer further communication

Assure customers that their complaint will be dealt with seriously and try and take the conversation offline. Offer an email address or phone number that they can contact a manager on if the issue needs to be taken further, this way the business is moved more privately. 

Top tip: Don't include your hotel name or relevant keywords to limit the chances of this review appearing above your other links in search engines. 

Overall, the words of your previous guests can be worth more than your own promotional materials, so pay close attention to what your audience is saying and how you can use it to your advantage. Highlight positive testimonials across all of your digital channels and use negative feedback to showcase your customer service and willingness to learn. 

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