What Causes Guests to Write Negative Hotel Reviews?

Have you ever wondered what causes a guest to leave a negative review? Are these people just chronically cantankerous, or is there something else motivating them?

Brett Borders identified eight emotions that trigger negative online reviews:

  1. Sadism – they just enjoy hurting others
  2. Revenge – “two wrongs make a right”
  3. Sabotage – attacking you to make their product look better
  4. Extortion – trying to collect compensation
  5. Compassion – preventing other customers from going through the same experience
  6. Chiming in – want to write about their own experience
  7. Confusion – they misunderstood what you offer
  8. Desperation – they could not get resolution elsewhere

Understanding these motivations is the first step in preventing negative online feedback. Once you know the emotions that trigger unfavorable reviews, it is possible to proactively address each scenario. (Brett provides some practical suggestions in the article.)

The last motivation on the list – frustration because of desperation – is perhaps one of the most common. In an MIT Sloan Management Review article titled “When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet,” Thomas Tripp and Yany Gregoire assert that consumers posting negative online reviews typically seek resolution offline first.

“Most online complainers have been victims not only of a product or service failure, but also of a series of failed resolution attempts….Our research shows that online public complaining is almost always preceded by [these] double deviations. Specifically, after analyzing 431 online complaints posted to ripoffreport.com and consumeraffairs.com, we found that approximately 96% of the online complaints followed a double deviation. Only 4% of the online complaints posted publicly followed a simple service failure.”

This finding highlights the importance of providing attentive, responsive service online and offline. Quickly resolving an issue will avoid this “double deviation” that leads to so many negative online reviews.

What are you doing to prevent guests from positing negative feedback online?