Can inviting my guests to leave reviews damage my online reputation?

Guest reviews can be a great thing, but they can also be a slightly scary prospect. The only certainty is that they’re now everywhere, and it’s crucial that you pay attention to them. So, there are two ways of addressing them. You can choose to do nothing and simply accept them, the bad ones in particular, or you can make an effort to manage your online reputation in an effective and coherent manner, by asking your guests to leave reviews.

So now, the question is: if I ask my guests to leave reviews, am I not running the risk of receiving more negative reviews?

Is it really possible to avoid negative reviews?

Eternal dissatisfaction, bad luck during a stay, one of your services malfunctioning… There are many potential reasons a guest might give for a mixed experience, but they’re not always justified. Despite this, whatever the reason may be, and whether you like it or not, your guest has the right to share their experience by posting a review on an online portal. We often say, and rightly so, that a disgruntled guest will always find a way to complain once they’ve had a bad experience. A guest may be provoked to leave a negative review for one of various reasons: it may be due to ill intent, the desire to influence the decisions of other potential guests, or because they want you to improve your services.

So, if you can’t prevent guests from leaving negative reviews, what about those guests who you might have asked to leave a review? As our tool enables us to analyse millions of client reviews, we examined some statistics. We noted that in 2017, our solution allowed over two million guests to leave a review through our questionnaire, with a response rate of almost 27%. We then took a closer look at the proportion of negative (0-40%), neutral (40-75%) and positive (75-100%) reviews. Almost 90% of the people invited to share their opinion left a positive review, while just 0.45% left a negative review. Seems reassuring? Of course, all these reviews are certified because they were left by clients who had completed a post-stay satisfaction survey, sent out by establishments which use our services.

Reviews graph

It therefore seems clear that asking your guests to leave a review has an impact on general satisfaction because, even if a guest has a mixed experience in your hotel, by entering into conversation with them, you will help to alleviate their feeling of having had a bad stay. Moreover, you’ll be giving out the image of a professional hotelier who is close to their guests and who is constantly seeking to improve their services based on the feedback they receive.

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Speaking of image, imagine you’re a traveller reading through client reviews before making a reservation to stay in your hotel. If the reviews were exclusively positive, this might seem a little suspicious. The client might wonder whether you’ve simply selected the best reviews, and might therefore think twice about making a reservation. Remaining transparent at all times is the best way of reassuring and attracting new clients. Plus, as the statistics suggest, you won’t risk being lynched if you also display some mixed reviews; these simply serve to accentuate the large number of positive reviews you’ve received. But there’s no need to worry, because there are also ways of getting a review removed under certain conditions; that is, when the review clearly diverges from reality and does not give a true account of an experience. And, even if our solution doesn’t let you display reviews based on satisfaction level, when inviting guests to leave reviews, you can still choose to invite only those who you deem to have had a satisfactory experience. That way, you can avoid any unpleasant surprises.

In summary…

By inviting your guests to leave reviews, you’ll receive far more feedback which you can then share on various platforms in order to ensure maximum visibility. In the majority of cases, these reviews will be positive and will therefore help you to have a better online image and receive more reservations as a result.

With regard to negative reviews, by simply ignoring them, you will not stop clients from posting reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor or Google. However, if you implement a strategy through which you invite guests to leave reviews, you may admittedly receive some mixed feedback, but this will be the result of total transparency between you and your clients. This can therefore only work in your favour.