Your guests’ hotel reviews: which to answer and how
Answering hotel reviews is sometimes underrated, despite the influence of your responses on a guest's decision to choose your hotel or your competitors
articles April, 2016
The internet has not only made it quicker and easier for guests to book with a hotel, but also to compare a hotel with others in the area. According to a TripAdvisor survey, 93% of travelers find reviews important when deciding which hotel to stay at during their trip. Knowing this, you must ensure your reviews are readily visible and available to your potential guests so they choose your hotel over the competition.
As a hotelier, you may assume a good score on portals like TripAdvisor or Booking.com and mostly positive reviews means your job is done. But that’s far from the truth. Guests like to dig deeper on your hotel insights before making their final decision. Your response rate to online reviews and how you address both, the negative and positive ones, can make or break a booking.
In fact, a study recently found 62% of TripAdvisor users were more likely to book a room in a hotel responding to reviews (positive and negative) over similar hotels that did not respond to reviews at all. Moreover, appropriate responses to negative reviews can restore faith in the property. An impressive 87% of users admitted their impression of the hotel improved once they received or noticed pertinent responses to negative reviews. These figures shouldn’t be ignored by hoteliers, as they can easily set themselves apart from their competition by responding to their positive and negative replies correctly.
So now, the question is: should I reply to all my guests’ reviews?
Not necessarily! Your answering behavior should depend on the ranking and the content of your reviews. When a review is rated with one or two stars out of five (which represents a terrible or poor evaluation), you should always take the time to answer. By being responsive, you show your concern regarding the problems experienced during the stay and, as a result, that you truly care about your guests and are committed to delivering great service. If you are rated with three stars, you should address the points criticized so the reviewing guest feels their remarks were understood and taken into consideration. Finally, when the rating is very good or excellent, replying to a few reviews should suffice. Customers do not expect an answer from you, and will most likely be positively surprised to see that you took the time to thank them for their positive review. Another positive side effect: it reassures them of their positive impression and experience staying with your hotel.
To become an expert in handling online reviews, you should know, apart from when to answer, how to do so.
Positive reviews look easy enough; however, it is common to make mistakes when answering both negative and positive reviews. When you receive a positive review, keep it simple: thank the guest for the comment and welcome them again in your hotel. It is important not to promote any offer or take your good performance for granted. Modesty is a must!
When it comes to negative reviews, hoteliers should never forget ‘the customer is always right.’ Apologizing is the key to a professional response on any review portal. Never take these reviews personally; answering impulsively or with a defensive tone projects an aggressive attitude which nobody finds appealing. Read the review carefully and try to understand the motive behind these comments. Within your apology, explain why things went wrong or how you will ensure it does not occur again. Don’t try to look for standard excuses. If more convenient, you can address the guest privately and reference this fact on the public comment. This emphasizes your interest and your commitment to your guests.
Finally, don’t wait too long to answer your reviews. The sooner the response is published, the better. First of all, the guest then feels their review has been noted and taken seriously, which enhances their positive image of your hotel. Secondly, this changed perception could lead them to modify their review publicly. Finally, the faster you reply to these reviews, the less time they are online unanswered, and, the easier other travelers notice your dedication to guest satisfaction. To put it in a nutshell: when addressing feedback, time does matter.
In order to make this process easier, quicker, and more intuitive, Customer Alliance offers a smart solution for hoteliers that reduces hoteliers’ efforts in a notable way. Customer Alliance collects all your guests reviews with its customized questionnaire and automated emails and condenses them in a single place. You can chose which percentage of these reviews remain on your website and which ones are published on external portals and, moreover, gives you the chance to immediately get in touch with unsatisfied customers and expedite the complaint management thanks to its Dispute Process function. With this tool, you can notice the negative reviews before they get published and get in contact with your guest to discuss about the topics that concerned him or her during the stay. Like this, the guest can edit the review if he gets convinced by your arguments and reduce the impact of negative reviews.
Do you want to know more about the advantages Customer Alliance has to offer you? Request a free demo below!