In our first blog, Managing Hotel Reviews Part I - Make Guest Experience Your Top Priority in 2020, we detailed the importance of providing the best possible guest experience to generate perfect online reviews. Of course, negative feedback is unavoidable, and this second and final blog will provide need-to-know tips in dealing with a guest’s less than satisfactory online comments.
It’s vital not to fear a bad review or turn a blind eye - prompt acknowledgement and staying calm are standard practice, but are you replying effectively and taking the right actions to change their mind? Here are our top tips for 2020:
Be Professional, But Don’t Appear Robotic
Responding professionally is straightforward, but appearing “robotic" is a pitfall that hoteliers fall into more than often. Examples include “Thank you for your feedback” and “Sorry to hear about your experience”, accompanied by a few other words, then copied and pasted across multiple reviews that show acknowledgement but provide no real substance.
Personalised responses will go a long way, and demonstrate your concern and caring reputation to both the reviewer and new customers checking out the experience you provide. Put thought into each individual response: empathise on a relatable level, address reviewers by their name and show their feedback has been appreciated and taken on board with improvements to be put in place immediately.
Express Initiative and Follow Through
As mentioned, asserting that action will be taken will do wonders for your reputation, far more than a basic acknowledgement. By all means begin with an apology, but make sure to express the value of their feedback and the steps you have taken, or are going to take, in improving the negative aspects stated.
Needless to say, follow through on your promise, so that future guest reviews offer a whole new perspective on something that was previously portrayed in a negative light. And if you wish to chat further with a guest who has left a bad review, avoid “Please contact us”, opting instead for “Please allow us to contact you”, which displays your initiative and concern.
Convert an Unhappy Guest into a Loyal Customer
A bad online review, even several, isn’t the be-all and end-all of your brand. View each negative review as a valuable opportunity, and personal challenge, to convert the unhappy reviewer into your next loyal customer.
With that said, always give unhappy customers a reason to return for a second stay. Invite them personally, perhaps with a special offer, guaranteeing that you will go the distance to change their mind. Online reviews can be removed and resubmitted, edited or supplied a footnote by the customer - a worthy pursuit if it means achieving your best possible public rating on popular travel websites.
Don’t Forget Your Positive Reviews
Together with negative reviews, don’t ignore the positive ones! Express a personal thanks and go further: appear sociable and internet-savvy with common emojis and make sure to relate to their experience, whether it’s a local attraction or restaurant that you also love or a complimented area of your service that you especially take pride in.
Be confident in your strengths and avoid appearing surprised, making use of evocative hospitality keywords in your responses such as “We’re glad you enjoyed our first-class service” and “Our professional team are always happy to help”. Lastly, conclude your reply with the hope to see them again soon.
Reviews are more important than ever in the online travel market, having huge influence on customers while showcasing your reputation and providing valuable feedback in improving the guest experience you offer. If managed with care, you can transform your online rating, eventually outshining your competitors and increasing direct bookings.
Are you ready to take charge of online reviews in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!
RELATED PAGES AND BLOG POSTS:
- Want To Drive More Bookings? Sell Experiences, Not Rooms
- How To Use Your Hotel's Marketing To Boost The Guest Experience
- Managing Hotel Reviews Part I - Make Guest Experience Your Top Priority in 2020