Pull your head out of the sand


Dealing with bad reviews head on

Spend any amount of time talking shop with hotel owners and you’re very likely to broach the subject of how a property can get rid of bad reviews. The simple truth is, unless a review’s comment s are derogatory or contain foul language, the review is likely here to stay. That’s certainly not what hotel owners are hoping to hear but, as the old cliché goes, the truth hurts.

However, there is a ray of sunlight in this situation. Most expert s agree on three techniques or processes that will drastically help mitigate those bad reviews.

1. Intercept the bad review by engaging upset travelers at the front desk with a positive helpful approach. Let them know that you genuinely care and your goal is to resolve the issues to their satisfaction. Offer to send them an internal review so you can take it to the highest level to get it resolved. We often can resolve the issue long before it becomes a costly bad review on TripAdvisor, Google, Expedia, Booking, or Medallia.

2. Answer the bad review with a professional response and be sure to incorporate some of their complaint so the next person who reads that response knows you care. It’s estimated that 82% of bad reviews can be neutralized with a professional courteous response. Travelers realize there are two sides to every story. Beware, if you don’t answer the bad review, you give travelers who are looking at your hotel the impression that the review is true. This is mainly because no one from the hotel bothered to respond, which leads to a conclusion that the issue raised must have merit.

3. Bury the bad review if it slipped through the interception process at the front desk by asking guests who had a good experience to write their own reviews. It’s estimated the average traveler looks at eight reviews before they decide to buy your room or look for your competitor’s hotel.

Always make certain those eight reviews are selling how great your hotel is. Ensure that bad reviews will never be allowed to appear in the top-eight review list. Unfortunately, if the bad reviews appear initially, then it’s tantamount to telling the potential guest that they shouldn’t stay at your hotel and should instead look at your competitors’ hotels.

Additionally, you can use basic insights into the psychology of the review process to help avoid bad reviews entirely. When guests check into your hotel, both the guests and the hotel staff have unspoken expectations. The guests expect the room to be clean, pool to be blue, coffee to be hot, staff to be hospitable, and so on. On the other hand, the hotel staff expects the guests’ credit card to clear, the guests to be respectful of others, and the rooms not to be ruined.

So, when time for checkout comes, the guests feel they paid for the clean and quiet hotel experience, and they aren’t obliged to review for something that is totally expected of a hotel.

On the other hand, the hotel staff, especially the GM or owner, cannot understand why guests don’t take the time to write good reviews about their hotel.

If you want to achieve great reviews, then don’t forget to focus on small details. These little things seem unimportant but surprisingly, these are what matter to guests. Creating simple-yet-unique approaches in serving the guests will set you apart from the standard services offered by most hotels. If the guests feel special, they will feel appreciative and will most likely write a good review for your hotel.

Online reviews have increasingly become the front of your digital reputation. Reviews help you get noticed, lead to more bookings, improve search engine rankings, inform your business, and convince travelers to pick up the phone and call you. However, your hotel’s reputation can be ruined by a single, uncontrolled negative comment or review. This remains true. Your business can potentially be destroyed online with just a click of a button. What people read about you and your business matters. Reviews greatly affect your hotel’s reputation. It is in your power to protect your brand, as well as control your reputation. A stable hotel reputation has a direct impact on medium-and long-term occupancy and revenue levels.

People read reviews because they offer valuable guidance from travelers who booked and stayed at your hotel or motel. Make it easier for travelers to decide. Let your hotel reputation work for you.

Steve J. Lewis is the founder & CEO of Guest Trends.


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