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Creating the perfect response strategy for online reviews

Before tackling responding to feedback, it’s important to have a clear management response strategy in place. Hotels and hotel brands should set goals and priorities, communicate these to teams, allocate resources and develop the relevant skills across the organization.

In our most recent guide, we look at what to consider when defining a review response policy and suggest possible approaches based on our experience, studies and best practice. Whether you are defining the strategy for a global hotel chain or an independent property, the framework outlined in this guide will help you to find the most effective solution for your brand.

There is no “one policy fits all” that will fit every hotel or chain, however the following approach can be used as a base for defining your review response strategy. It can then be tailored to fit your organization and overall brand strategy.

• Don’t feel obliged to respond to all reviews! Prioritize reviews that call for an apology or clarification, are damaging to reputation or highlight positive aspects you wish to draw attention to.

• Think “speed before quantity”. Focus on responding as quickly as possible to the most relevant reviews, rather than trying to respond to all reviews over a long period of time.

• Concentrate on the most influential sites and channels – those that are the most important for your target audience or generate the highest revenue for your hotel.

• Although it makes sense for corporate to define response strategy, dedicate resources to be able to respond on a hotel level whenever possible. Using a hybrid approach can work well to manage escalations or overflow during peak season.

• Try to respond in the language of the review. This is typically an area where corporate can provide support.

• Remember that reviews are public so if you choose to use response templates, make sure the message is adapted so that it does not look like a “robotic” answer. Responses should provide helpful and meaningful information.

• Provide staff with training and clear guidelines for responding to reviews. Your review response policy should also include how to deal with false reviews, fictitious claims or a review threat.

For more information on responding to both online reviews and feedback from guest surveys, download the full guide today!