Online guest reviews are currently the best source of available and nearly real-time data. These guest reviews are essential resources for your property to interpret and correspondingly improve upon. With this in mind, it is of the utmost importance to respond to guest reviews of all types. Positive, Negative and Mixed guest reviews each present unique opportunities to represent your property in a favorable light.
Responses to Positive Reviews
Many hoteliers and restaurateurs miss out on the opportunity to harness the power of responding to positive reviews. These reviews are chances for you to keep the conversation going with your guests. Engaging with positive guest reviews will drive loyalty with these guests and strengthen your brand personality.
Here are a few general guidelines to follow when developing your management responses to positive reviews.
- Lead off your response by expressing appreciation for the guest’s feedback.
- Be specific and personal in your response.
- Acknowledge any constructive criticism.
Responses to Mixed Reviews
In reality, most guest reviews express mixed content. Hoteliers and Restaurateurs alike assume that online reviews are entirely positive or negative by their corresponding rating. It is entirely possible for a guest to give a 2-star rating due to a service error, but still, love the ambiance and location of your property. With this in mind, your management response may be your last service opportunity to leave the guest with a positive or negative experience. A tactic in addressing these reviews is the “Sandwich Method”.
In this strategy you “sandwich” negative remarks with positive statements. In turn, the importance of the negative sentiment will be alleviated, but you will still demonstrate value in the guest feedback. By portraying value in the guest feedback you will be able to leave the reader with a lasting positive impression.
Responses to Negative Reviews
Negative reviews also present an opportunity for service recovery and for you to leave readers with a lasting positive impression of your property. Similarly to positive reviews, always express appreciation for the guest feedback. Next, apologize for the poor experience, but remember an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. Finally, consider what type of Negative review the feedback is by asking yourself these questions:
- Is this a systemic problem that each guest could face?
- Is there an easy fix to the problem that can be solved offline?
- Is this problem unfounded or not likely to be repeated?
- Can you resolve this issue simply by appeasing the guest with some form of compensation?
- Is the problem linked to something that is not easily remedied? (Infrastructure, design etc)
For each of these kinds of problems mentioned in reviews, the central response objective is to consider the feedback, thank the reviewer and address their concerns online in as timely a fashion as possible.