Complaint Management – how to deal with negative reviews of your hotel

Before most customers make a booking at your hotel, they will search for you on a neutral source first, such as Tripadvisor, or Yelp. You could say, your reputation on these sites is more important than all other marketing efforts combined.

That said, what do people notice first when they see your listing? A five star rating? Pictures of your brand new pool? Or that terrible review from two years ago?

Unfortunately, most hoteliers do not address negative feedback, whether because it’s too unpleasant, or they simply don’t know how to control the damage. More often than not it is hard to not take these criticisms personally. However, a bad review, if dealt with correctly, is a fantastic way to showcase the integrity of your management.

We’ll share with you how some hoteliers tackle bad reviews.

Five­-Step Attack Plan On Negative Reviews

Take this common predicament for example:

“We waited more than an hour in the lobby, we were told our room wasn’t available yet. Once we got our room, it had two double­beds instead of a queen. The woman at the front­desk apologized for the mistake but the whole process took 2 hours longer than it should’ve. The staff clearly lacks training.” ­ Sara from Michigan

Attack plan:

1. Stay level­headed. ​Although a customer might question your competence as a hotelier, you need to overlook those statements and not get emotional. Don’t write something that you’ll regret.

2. Thank them for their feedback​. No matter how much you disagree with a customer, they are offering you insight on how you can improve your management.

3. Sympathize with their frustration. ​Most people who leave reviews just want to be heard. Let them know that you’ve taken their review into consideration. Remember, the customer is always right, especially online.

4. Explain the incident.​Regardless of how factual the review is, admit to any mistakes on your end and outline measures you’ll take to prevent this from happening again. This gives you a chance to prove yourself to potential customers as well.

5. Ask for a second chance.​ Invite them back for a better experience!

Our response to Sara:

“Hi Sara, thanks for your honest review of our hotel, we appreciate the feedback. Sorry for the inconvenience we have caused you, it must have been a bad start to your much­ anticipated vacation. We weren’t able to accommodate you right away as we had a mix up with another reservation. Nevertheless, we are very sorry that you were not able to check in earlier. We’re using a new booking process that will help us avoid these situations in the future. As well, we would like to invite you back for a new and improved experience, where we’ll make sure you get the stay you deserved.” ­ Marigold Hotel Staff

That’s how we do it at Customer Alliance! We also recommend that you aggregate your reviews through a review management and analytics tools such as Customer Alliance, so you can address any negative feedback in a timely fashion.