Taking command of your reputation requires managing the whole picture. Use this guide of sample responses and tips to pilot positive guest interactions and improve your hotels digital footprint
The perception of your hotel can influence the decision of potential visitors and impact future business. Managing your brand reputation in the digital space takes careful monitoring of reviews across the web, including OTAs and forums, social media posts and more. Investing in the time to respond to and engage with your customers isn’t a small undertaking, however with the right strategy and management tools, you can forge the perception of your hotel brand, gain loyal customers, and build positive relationships with your guests.
Hotel Reputation Management: A Guide
Now more than ever, the growth of online review sites has shoppers relying on peer recommendations and online ratings to guide purchase decisions, and hotels are not exempt from this trend. Your property’s reputation is affected by content you control – your website and blog – as well as content that might be out of your reach, including reviews on OTAs and forums. Today’s top review platforms include TripAdvisor and Google.
Taking command of your reputation requires managing the whole picture. Use this guide of sample responses and tips to pilot positive guest interactions and improve your hotel’s digital footprint.
How to Respond to Hotel Reviews
We know that both positive and negative reviews can shape outsiders’ perceptions of your business, but so can your responses. In most cases, hotels receive a negative comment or low rating from time to time, and while these can be upsetting, ignoring the criticism or responding in an unprofessional manner can do far more damage than the review itself.
Replying to every review using these tips is the first step to online reputation management for hotels:
- Respond in a timely manner
- While it’s natural to feel offended or upset, never show anything but understanding
- Thank guests for every review
- Use negative comments to instigate change and improvement
- Formulate personalized responses
Negative Review Response Examples
Always thank a reviewer for their feedback, especially when it is negative. Not only do their comments help you find areas to improve, but a hotel with only positive reviews is regarded as suspicious while a resort with a variety of reviews is trusted.
After thanking the reviewer, provide an apology—even if you do not agree or think the claims are unfounded. Use your response to take responsibility for the issue and make things right by showing, or at least hinting at, a resolution.
Remember that your response is as public as the review, so take time to formulate a proper reply that’s tactful and polite. Here are examples of messages that can help manage negative feedback and avoid damaging your hotel brand reputation:
- Thank you for your review. We’re sorry to hear you had a frustrating experience. We appreciate your bringing this issue to our attention and we’ll resolve this soon.
- Thank you for letting us know about this. Your feedback helps us do better. We look forward to providing an exceptional stay next time.
- We apologize that our suites did not meet your expectations. We are evaluating this and look forward to exceeding your needs during your next stay.
- We set high standards for ourselves and are sorry to hear your stay did not meet your expectations. We appreciate your honest feedback and regret that we missed the mark.
If refunds or other actions are required, provide an email address to take the issue offline and talk with the customer directly. Then, follow up on the review site or forum to close the loop.
Positive Review Response Examples
Satisfied guests are your best (and most inexpensive) advertisers – take time to thank them for their review to encourage more responses and show you appreciate all of your customers. When forming your reply, always lead or end with gratitude for their review. If you can access details of their stay, use those to personalize your message and use your reply to invite them to stay again.
- Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. We look forward to having you again.
- Thanks for your feedback! We’re glad you chose us for your [event].
- We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. We hope you’ll visit us again soon.
- We’re happy you enjoyed your time in [location]. We look forward to celebrating with you again.
- Thank you for rating us! We’re glad you enjoyed our 5-star service and hope you join us again soon.
- We’re grateful for guests like you. Thank you for your generous rating and come again soon!
- Your review made our day! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.
How To Solicit Hotel Reviews
Research suggests that consumers also find the quantity of reviews to be a critical factor when deciding to trust a business, so if you’ve only got a handful of comments, make soliciting more reviews a top priority. While asking guests to review your hotel may seem awkward, doing so is a must to succeed in today’s digital competition.
There are many ways to solicit feedback from guests:
- Share web addresses to online feedback forms and questionnaires
- Train your front desk staff to request reviews during guest interactions
- Include a link or rating scale in the post-stay email survey
- Leave in-room comment cards
- Leave a thank-you note in the room with instructions for filling out an online review
Use insights from your online interactions, email activity, or in-person engagement to determine the best way to reach your audience and garner responses. If your audience isn’t tech savvy, rethink a digital-only review system, and if your guests are very active on the web, let them complete ratings where they’re most comfortable.
Once determine a strategy for reaching out, create a plan for responding to reviews so you’re prepared to field and respond to increased feedback in a timely fashion.
How To Improve Online Reviews
Customer reviews let you know where you’re missing the mark and what services or offerings did not meet expectations. Leverage this information to make changes to start impressing guests and improving your online reviews.
What your guests speak to in their feedback provides insights into who your customers are and what they expect. Listen in online to learn what visitors value to better gear your offerings to their interests. If comments frequently reference sustainability, consider quick updates to target this audience. When reviews mention difficulties with the reservation process, take a close look at your software and how user-friendly it is.
Once your property aligns with customer expectations, your reviews will improve and you’ll develop a positive reputation for delivering what your guests want. If consumers seem constantly dissatisfied, it might be time to evaluate your hotel brand strategy to ensure your marketing efforts are attracting the right audience. Alternatively, you might find that it’s time to invest in a renovation or on-site upgrade.
Remember that reviewers who leave a negative comment can always amend it if the issue is resolved thoughtfully. Use our tips to formulate a tactful, appropriate response, and once you are back in your customer’s favor, invite them to leave an amended review to boost your ratings.
Reputation Management Tools for Hotels
Whether your brand has been damaged or your public persona is having trouble finding its voice, it’s time to start taking control. Committing to managing how you’re seen online takes time and effort, but with the right hotel reputation management services you can prevent a negative situation from becoming a detriment to your hotel brand. Whether you’re looking for PR campaigns, better customer engagement, or for an analysis on what’s working and what isn’t, TravelBoom has the tools to provide the expert direction you need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hotel reviews important?
Yes. Consumers tend to distrust advertising and instead rely on peer recommendations to make buying decisions, book hotels, and know what companies to trust. If your hotel lacks an adequate number of customer reviews, form a strategy to solicit feedback to improve your online reputation and inform potential guests about your brand.
Do people still read reviews when booking a hotel?
Yes – the majority of people read and rely on reviews and customer comments when selecting a hotel. They also compare star ratings to get an overall sense of guest satisfaction. Customers also take note of how your hotel responds to customer reviews, especially difficult ones, so make sure you leave appropriate responses and thank all reviewers—positive and negative—for taking the time to leave feedback.
Who should respond to my hotel’s reviews?
With a little bit of training, property owners, managers or hotel employees can be responsible for responding to customer reviews, whether the feedback is positive or negative. This provides the opportunity to connect with guests on a more personal level, as well as gives the hotel insight to areas where their brand succeeds versus where they need to improve.
TravelBoom specializes in developing and executing customized data-driven marketingsolutions that drive direct bookings and growth for its clients. With over 25 years of experience in digital marketing for travel and hotels, TravelBoom leverages advanced data science and analytics to uncover insights and develop strategies that greatly enhance client results and reduce reliance on third-party channels. TravelBoom is also the host of the world’s #1 ranked Hotel Marketing Podcast and its quarterly Traveler Sentiment Study, both of which can be found at www.travelboommarketing.com.