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Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

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Social media gives voice to all types of people and hotels are particularly vulnerable. Whether it’s a mistreated guest, a former employee or an anonymous troll, a hostile person can broadcast negative content to large volumes of people with just a few clicks.
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In our recent guide “Brand Attacks: Protect & Restore Your Hotel’s Online Reputation” we help hoteliers prepare for, manage and prevent everything from negative reviews to a social media crisis.

If your monitoring tools pick up a negative review or other content, you’ll want to take action to limit any damage it may cause to your hotel’s reputation. Whether or not you are able to contact the reviewer directly, by posting a response you will show readers that you regret the situation and have made efforts to resolve it.

The following guidelines to responding apply to a variety of types of negative reviews and social media comments:

1. Offer a sincere apology

Show that you regret that the incident occured. Don’t be defensive or aggressive, and never accuse a reviewer of dishonesty, or you risk making the situation even worse.

2. Address the key issues

There’s no need to speak to every detail of the review, but be sure to address the reviewer’s main concerns.

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3. Provide an explanation

To change negative impressions, it may be appropriate to briefly explain why the incident occurred – but don’t give excuses. Remember, while you’re addressing your response to the complainant, your real audience is all the travelers trying to decide whether or not to book your hotel.

4. Say how you’re following up

This may include telling the guest that you have discussed the feedback with your team, reviewed procedures, changed a policy or even introduced a new training program. By providing these details, you’ll help reassure other travelers that the same thing won’t happen to them.

5. Be professional

As the voice of your hotel, you should demonstrate the same professionalism and attention to detail in your response as you provide on property. Ask a colleague to proofread your response for spelling, grammar and tone before posting it.

6. Personalize the response

Address the response with the reviewer’s profile name and sign it with the initial of your first name, last name and title. Note that while TripAdvisor allows hotel to include contact information such as an email address or phone number in management responses, Google, Expedia, Booking.com and other OTAs do not.

Responding to reviews is only one part of effectively managing and improving your hotel’s online reputation. For more information on how we can help you, speak to one of our Guest Intelligence experts today.

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