How hotels should react on reviews
To react or not to react, that’s a question hotel managers ask frequently. Not all of review sites give hotel managers a chance to write a management response in return. But if there is a possibility to react they are often hesitant to reply. But why?
Most hotel managers respond that they don’t want to argue with a guest in front of a whole community. Although I certainly understand that responding to a review on the internet is not the ideal way, I feel they should grab the chance and react. They would not dare to walk away when a guest is complaining in front of the hotel desk, would they?! They would listen, show empathy and even resolve the problem. So why would hotel managers react differently on online complaints?
Is it only a matter of responding ‘in public’ or are they in need of some of guidelines? For those hotel managers who will respond on the second question with a “Yes”, a couple of tips and tricks.
1) React to all negative reviews and sometimes to positive ones.
When it’s a negative review guests like a reaction to their complaint. When guests take the time to compliment the hotel or a hotel employee and the hotel manager reacts, this will result in an ambassador of the hotel.
2) Never use a template when responding to a review.
Potential guests might not notice a template based answer if there are only 5 responses, but as soon as there are more than 5…..they will notice a standard handling. Guests always have the feeling that their problem is a special one. So they expect a customized handling. The management response should represent such a handling.
3) Thank the guest for taking the time to write a review.
Use different sentences and words, but always thanks the guest for taking time to inform you whether it’s a complaint or a compliment. Nothing is more frustrating than spending time on giving the management feedback on their service and hear nothing from them.
4) Apologize for things that went wrong.
Hospitality is about people. Things can go wrong from time to time. Acknowledging those things makes a hotel manager human. Never make up excuses for things that went wrong and never be defensive! Although hotel managers have the last say, giving a defensive management response is a lose-lose-situation.
5) Explain the situation
Sometimes guests don’t complain because they want to be negative, they just don’t understand the situation. Explaining the situation often results in a better understanding and maybe even a returning guest. Remember…a complaint is a chance!
6) Be short
Try to be short in answering. As with long reviews, nobody reeds long management responses.
7) No humorous comments
Or at least be reticent with humorous comments especially in writing. Not often emails/ responses are misunderstood. And there is only one chance to write a management response. So make it a good one!
Kim van den Wijngaard