GUIDELINES FOR RESPONDING TO REVIEWS
The right way makes all the difference
Basic Guidelines for Hotel Reputation Management
Here are our best secrets to successful hotel reputation management. Most reviewers simply want to be heard, either by management, by other people or both. Replying to their praises or concerns directly with unscripted comments can help turn around an upset guest’s opinion. It can also generate a loyal following among your happy guests. In other words, keep copying and pasting to a minimum. It’s more time-consuming, but worth it.
Each reply you write is serving two audiences, the guest who wrote the reply and potential future guests. Keeping this in mind, be sure to respond in a friendly manner even if you feel the reviewer is being unfair. Feel free to state the facts, but always keep emotions at bay. Many times the reply you want to post is the one you simply shouldn’t. Remember, potential guests will read your reply and they want to see professionalism and a calm approach to negativity.
When responding to negative reviews, you’ll often find your greatest opportunities. No person or property is perfect and travelers expect there to be some negative reviews. How you reply can confirm to a potential guest that management cares, is listening, and is willing to fix a situation when necessary. Only attempt to remove a review when it is slanderous or profane. Most platforms will only remove these types of reviews anyway.
Reply to ALL reviews! Properties walk away from a gold mine of opportunities, future guests and increased ratings when they only respond to negative reviews. Our research and experience has proven that the more positive reviews to which you reply, the more it encourages more positive reviews, which will increase your overall ranking in time.
End your response with an invitation to return or another positive sentiment.
Be careful not to turn your reply into a sales pitch, but do let guests know of a service or amenity you provide if it would have fixed or helped a concern mentioned in the review.
Ongoing research is an essential part of hotel reputation management. Character limits, reply tone, and other restrictions are all changing on a constant basis from platform to platform – for example, you cannot ask the guest to contact you on Expedia Partner platforms at this time. To manage time, it is imperative that you are up-to-date on the latest rules, regulations and best practices. When a response is rejected, in most cases you will not be told why.
Review replies are the business casual dress code of the online world. Keep your tone light, but professional. Be upbeat, but not overly casual. Don’t use slang or texting-type abbreviations. Feel free to throw in an exclamation point to build a friendly, yet professional connection, but don’t overuse them.
Double and triple-check your spelling and grammar. An error-free response shines the best possible light on your hotel or restaurant.
Pay attention to details such as a mention of a birthday or anniversary. Respond with a “congratulations” when you see an opportunity.
Respond to at least three of a person’s concerns or praises. This shows the reviewer that you really did read their review.
Don’t be afraid to apologize when a mistake was made in service or even when a person was annoyed at something beyond your control such as an ongoing renovation. Taking responsibility looks good, not bad.
Enjoy yourself! Responding to reviews can be quite rewarding. If that’s how you feel, it will show in your work.