Critical Tips to Combat Negative Hotel Reviews
There’s nothing worse than an upset guest. OK, there is one thing; ignoring all complaints that guest makes online. That’s the fastest way to ensure your hotel will quickly wind up at the bottom of every traveler’s list of places to stay.
It’s funny in a sad way some hoteliers still willfully ignore hotel guest complaints. Truth is, much of the negative results created by upset customers voicing opinions can be avoided altogether; if the property’s management has put the right procedures in place.
According to hotelmarketing.com, the average guest reads between six and 12 reviews before selecting a hotel. Remember, you MUST control your hotel’s narrative, or a negative guest driven narrative will control you.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated process either.
Acknowledge, and thank the guest no matter what
Online we’re seeing guests have very specific opinions regarding a hotel. It’s critical to acknowledge them, no matter the criticism sent your way. The first way to connect with upset guests is by acknowledging the guest’s issue, and the time and effort they put into writing the review. This goes a long way to breaking the ice so you can turn the negative into a positive.
Apologize and mean it
You must be honest with yourself too. What role have you played in setting the stage for the creation of a negative review? It’s essential to see the stay through the guest’s eyes. If you acknowledge the review with an actual apology, it’ll immediately deflate the reviewer’s anger. And it’ll open their heart up to meaningful conversation about their stay. Let them know you feel terrible about their experience being less than they expected. Do not say something like “I am sorry you feel that way.” That is not an apology, it is an excuse.
Advance the dialogue
This is where you take the criticism and turn it into action. If the critique isn’t valid, you must explain why. Be passionate, but don’t be defensive. If the guest was off-base, write your response in a way that’s convincing, but doesn’t make the customer feel attacked.
If the critique is legitimate, then you must take action. Explain in detail how you appreciate the problem was brought to your attention. Others have recommended taking the conversation off line, but we also think a strong alternative if you are giving a mea culpa is to do it online. This shows everyone you take guest concerns seriously, and are constantly refining hotel staff habits to consistently improve.
Explain the change
Be sure to share exactly how you plan make changes based on the negative critique they have given your hotel. By sharing a distinct policy or procedural change, it ameliorates any negative feelings that guest has while ensuring future guests that problem will never be an issue in the future. In fact, we believe it empowers them and makes them more likely to return. They feel like they have made a difference.
Thank them again
Thank the negative reviewer a second time to acknowledge their feedback resulted in actual change. And if you plan to compensate them in any way let them, and everyone on the review site, know you are making proactive change.
All these tips will show you care, and are serious about delivering superior hospitality. Remember, hotel guests want you to succeed, and people are extremely forgiving. If you act with integrity, honesty, and show you take feedback seriously, people will love you even more for it. We all make mistakes, but how we handle them is ultimately how we are judged.