How to Manage Negative Reviews23rd October 2017
Michels & Taylor is one of the best hotel management companies in the UK; we ensure that all of our leaders are trained in hotel marketing practises, so they can manage successfully their hotels’ brand and image.
As with all areas of business, unforeseen circumstances can affect even those who have the best of intentions. In the case of hotels, guest experience is paramount and as a result, all of our hotels are specially trained in how to deal with negative reviews. How a hotel manages a crisis or unfavourable experience truly says a lot about their brand to the outside world.
In recent years, guests have been given even more ways to express their feelings online regarding their experience at a hotel. Whether it’s via official review platforms such as TripAdvisor or social platforms like Facebook or Twitter, guests have multiple channels to express their feelings.
Whilst reviews can unfortunately be negative, the way your hotel handles them will make a considerable difference in your guests’ perception of your hotel and will also have a direct impact on potential future visitors.
According to TripAdvisor, 80% of visitors read between 6 and 12 reviews before deciding on which hotel they want to book. This is a high percentage and one that should always be remembered – put simply, your online reputation is crucial.
This blog post will help you discover our best practises to follow when you receive a negative review and how to avoid a PR disaster.
Timeline of Response
Rash responses will not benefit your brand – on the contrary, a speedy yet thoughtless reply can do more damage. Assess the situation with your team to understand what happened before replying. Each team member can divulge their interaction with the guest that day and share important details; by gaining such perspective, your response will be genuine and show the guest that you are receptive to feedback.
By taking the time to speak to your team, you have already made the first step in showing that you are proactive in improving your guest’s experience.
Tone of Response
It’s easy to become defensive when you feel that your reputation or premises have been unfairly attacked. Take a moment to think about how you are going to respond before you do– take the emotion out of your reply.
Start by being professionally personal – always address the person by her/his name and thank them for taking the time to share their experience. This gesture shows the guest that you value them, and will show that the apology that follows is genuine. Acknowledge their concerns and explain to the guest how your hotel is planning to improve the situation moving forward.
Turning the Situation Around
While you can’t undo a negative experience, responding appropriately can shift the guest’s perception of the hotel post-stay. Their feelings will have been heard and valued, making for a more positive interaction (and hopefully return visit) in the future.
Always give the hotel team member’s name when responding, as this personal touch will further invite trust from the guest when you invite them to contact you directly if further discussion is necessary.
Don’t forget to invite the guest back to the hotel following a bad review – this will demonstrate to the guest that they are still welcome and can not only prove a great turnaround for their experience, but can increase loyalty.
What to Avoid
We have discussed what should be done, but there are some definitive practices that you should always avoid. Not responding to the guest is not only the height of rudeness, but could also lead to the further online reputation damage from the guest on other platforms.
Never offer an overly defensive response or neglect to make an apology – you offer a service and if the guest feels that service fell short, acknowledge it. If you use a generic template of response for all your guests or ignore their concerns, you will further damage your reputation and brand, so avoid this at all costs.
“Some hotels will unfortunately receive negative reviews but it is how they respond to them that will define their online reputation. Taking the time to construct an elaborate and personalised response can be very beneficial and limit the potential damage caused by a bad review.”
Nicole Feldman, Head of Marketing
Although hotels are trying to avoid it, receiving a negative online review is a situation that can arise at any given time. Handling the review in a timely manner and with professionalism will already benefit your hotel. Taking the time to figure out a way to change the guest perspective on his stay will definitely be useful on the long run.
When it comes to hotel marketing best practices, Michels & Taylor lead the way amongst the best hotel management companies. Managing online reviews is a crucial part of your marketing strategy and ensuring your hotel leaders are aware of these best practises is vital.