HOW TO DEAL WITH YOUR NEGATIVE HOTEL ONLINE REVIEWS (and why it's important you reply)
In the age of the internet and social media platforms, people can publicly review your hotel at their fingertips! Giving your hotel both positive and negative feedback. Guests who have a bad experience are 21% more likely to leave a review about your hotel, than someone who had a good experience.
Guests who have a bad experience will on average tell 15 people about their bad experience. So it’s important that you manage your reviews and do not let your reviews manage you! If you look at review sites like TripAdvisor, you will see many negative comments that businesses just ignore, you should note that these should be ignored at your peril!!
According to Trustpilot, only 34% of people who leave a review expect a company to comment on their review, 48% of people don’t expect a company to respond to their review and 7% of people expect a request for a phone call from the company. This shows that reviewers are already expected nothing to happen. This is where you can go above and beyond to turn things around.
By ignoring any negative online reviews you get, you will find that this will damage your hotels reputation and will become harder to keep attracting new guests. You should therefore make it a company policy that every review you get, the good, the bad and the ugly, you respond to it! Never ignore the neagtive reviews and pretend they will disappear because they won't, they are there forever, so use them to your advantage and improvements.
By responding you are showing publicly that you genuinely care about the guest experience. For the good reviews, thank the reviewer for commenting and tell them how you look forward to seeing them again soon. For the negative ones, sincerely apologise that their guest experience didn’t match the high expectations that you expect. Ask them if they will give you another chance to showcase how great your hotel actually is. Ask the reviewer to contact you personally, so you can speak to them about the experience and offer them something that makes them feel special to give you another chance, maybe a two night stay for free! Yes for free!! If you are now thinking of the cost of this to your business, you’ve missed the point… this is about ensuring that the guest comes back again for a third, fourth visit and so on.
Research shows that 86% of people hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative reviews online, which means only 14% don’t think about it, but you need to be attracting 86% of people to your business.
Ensure you spend time dealing with the reviews, and ensure you a building a brand that knows when it got something wrong, you will do whatever it takes to get your guests to come back again and give you another chance.
So what now?
If you haven’t done so already, go and search your hotel online for reviews. Don't get into a kneejerk reaction where you reply, without thinking it through first, this is about developing and repairing relationships, it is not about a slinging match in public. Think about what the reviewer has put, put a plan together to fix the problem to ensure no other guest ever has that same experience again, talk to your hotel management team about the review and get their collective thoughts on how you can all ensure that it doesn't happen again. Also remember when talking to your hotel management this isn't about 'blame' this is about finding a solution!