Negative Reviews

Do you remember the books of praise and complaints with which the hotels were provided and which, as a rule, served to the irritated ,for some reason, guest as an analgin - almost soothes the pain but does not solve the problem. Well, these days are already in the past, and the modern tourist has dozens of channels to share their experiences of his stay at the hotel, such as Tripadvisor,, Facebook, own blog, themed forums and discussion groups.

​Everyone who works in the section of accommodation has experienced negative comments and assessments. Here we will share some tips to use when "whispering" has already happened and here you are - you have a disgruntled customer who describes in detail to Tripadvisor or what happened to him during his stay at your hotel. 

Relax! It can happens to everyone
In one perfect world, when the hotel team has done their job, all guests would be satisfied, the ratings will be on maximum, and the comments - which of the more lavish. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, people are different, for example, that the room is warm, will like two customers, but the third will complain of "excessive heat". 

Owners of small hotels or guest houses are particularly sensitive to negative comments, and if you read, you can often see examples of crude or inadequate customer complaint responses.

Another category of hotels are those who do not respond in any way to the comments. Perhaps the idea of their managers is that customers will write, write, and eventually stop. Over time, such hotels turn into examples of one of the consequences of Murphy's Law, namely that left alone, things tend to move from worse to worse.  Eventually, the owners are surprised to find that the reputation of the hotel is ruined, customers have fallen, and profits are missing at all.

Third type of hotels are those whose managers respond with "Hello, thanks for your comment! We want to assure you that we have taken a serious look at the reasons for your problem and promise to do our best to resolve it. We will be glad to be our guest again! ". It's funny when you see a similar response that has been published many times in a variety of complaints, ranging from broken curtains, poor breakfast and rough staff to the need for a complete renovation of the hotel. The message of management is clear - "We see that you have had a problem with us, but we can not do anything because we are currently busy with more important tasks."

Comments and ratings carry (or take away) business
From a recent poll conducted on booking sites, several interesting figures stand out among commentators: 

  • 96% of users consider reading user comments as very important when planning a trip.
  • Most of the half of the site audience would not book a hotel with no reviews.
  • 85% note that a polite and adequate response to a negative commentary would improve their impression of the hotel.
  • 65% declare that they are more likely to book in a hotel that responds to consumer comments instead of one who does not.
  • 69% said they were not willing to book a hotel whose manager responded to comments aggressively or defensively.
  • 80% of respondents are convinced that hotels responding to customer comments take better care of customers.
Every cloud has a silver lining
It may sound incredible, but the right reaction to negative consumer feedback brings benefits to the reputation of the hotel. If your response is personal, timely, polite and professional, your potential customers will notice this and will remain impressed.

If different people are responding on behalf of the hotel, the team must have an "action plan" - a policy that is consistent. The presence of a sample response template is a good idea, but this template should not be published on a copy-paste basis - every client and every problem is specific, so avoid typing answers at all costs. 

This - YES:
  • Answer in time. Some studies indicate a response time of 24 hours as optimal, but 3-4 days are acceptable as well.
  • The answer should be from the general manager or other high-ranking hotel representative.
  • Contact the client personally. If he writes under his own name, you can approach him by name - "Hello, Nicholas". If you comment on a nickname, even if you know his real name, contact him with the nickname he has chosen and keep his anonymity - "Hello, YesNo456". 
  • Even if the tone of the comment is aggressive or challenging, keep cool and thank the client for having taken from his time to share the problem.
  • Apologize to the guest for the bad experience he had in your hotel. The excuse is not a recognition of guilt or that something has not been done properly. But if for any reason the guest has not been satisfied, it is right to show him sympathy.
  • With your response, show that you are taking the guest's problem seriously and you will investigate the case. Focus on the actions you have taken or you intend to take. This is a good time to push the field of potential conflict out of the public space and to continue the discussion by email or phone.

In addition, it is good to assess the need for action. To do this, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Does the negative comment point to a systematic problem that will be the future guests face?
  • Is there an easy solution of this problem?
  • Does the comment indicate an unrealistic or unlikely problem that is unlikely to happen again?
  • Is the comment related to a problem that is very difficult or too expensive to resolve(major overhaul, infrastructure)?
This - NO:
  • Leave the comment without any response, hoping that the storm will rebound alone or that others will not notice it.
  • Do not justify, do not argue and do not publicly question the credibility of the negative comment, even if you are suspecting that it is a tendentious, dishonest or honest lie.
  • Do not respond in a hostile or uncertain tone.
  • Again - do not reply with a standard message. Your future guests who read the discussion will want to make sure you take every reported problem to heart and do your best to fix it.
  • Do not offer compensation - at least not in a public discussion. Offering free nights or other goodies to disgruntled guests can create a precedent to benefit ill-intentioned people. However, if the problem reported by the client is serious and he is inclined to continue the discussion via email or telephone, he may be offered compensation.