The Right Way to Apologise on TripAdvisor

Posted on Oct 28th 2013

Thanks to TripAdvisor’s Travel Affiliate Program, content from the world’s number one travel site now gets in front of more than 300 million people worldwide, making guest reviews of your resort more readily available than ever.

This easy access to a wealth of opinions on your property isn’t always a good thing, especially since it’s reported that as many as 4 out of 5 people will change their minds about making a booking after stumbling across negative reviews. While unfortunately, you can’t reverse a guest’s negative experience and stop these unfavourable reviews from popping up, you can apologise after the fact to demonstrate your commitment to customer service. In fact, according to TripAdvisor, up to 34% of reviewers decide to delete their original negative comments after receiving a response from the property.

So what’s the right way to apologise on TripAdvisor? Here are some tips to consider…

Be Sincere

If your apology doesn’t sound genuine it’s almost better not to apologise at all. Negative responses to your property and staff are bound to cause anger, especially if the comments are unjustified. So, before you take to the keyboard, take a step back, breathe deeply, and then approach the problem in an empathetic and professional manner.

Accentuate the Positives

TripAdvisor stats show that more than 75% of ‘bad’ reviews contain at least one positive comment, so be sure to pick these more favourable remarks out to highlight in your response. Consider the guest review and manager response below as an example:

“Our first impressions of this hotel were good - the front desk staff were very friendly and the check-in process was quick and smooth. However, when we got to our room, we found the bed dishevelled and the waste bins had not been emptied since the previous guests left. We liked the modern décor of the hotel but were disappointed with the overall quality of the rooms.”

Thank you for your review. We’re pleased to hear you had a pleasant check-in and liked the appearance of our property. It’s disappointing to hear you were unhappy with the quality of your room. We take cleanliness very seriously, as I’m sure you noticed throughout the rest of the hotel, and would like to thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. Please contact me personally at generalmanager@hotel with your check-in date and booking confirmation number so I can investigate what went wrong with the cleaning process of your room and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I would also like to invite you to contact me before your next stay so we can make sure we go above and beyond your expectations!

By picking out the guest’s flattering comments first, the manager in this example helps give their response a more positive and friendly tone, while drawing attention to the strengths of their property for any potential guests who might be reading.

Tackle the Negatives Head On

Once you’ve stressed the positives, it’s time to get stuck into the negatives. Emphasize that this is not a typical experience at your property and explain your process for resolving the issue to make sure it doesn’t happen again. One of the best ways to show that you’re taking the negative remarks seriously is to ask for the guest’s personal booking details to show that you intend to look directly into their personal experience and learn from it.

Focus on the Guest, Not Your Business

Keep in mind that although you probably feel the need to defend your resort, it’s more important to repair your relationship with the disgruntled guest. By giving the guest a way to contact you directly before they book their next stay, you get a chance to win back their custom while demonstrating to the rest of the TripAdvisor audience that you genuinely care about improving your service and are not apologising simply to protect your reputation.  

How does your resort engage with negative reviews online? Let us know in the comments below.

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