Reviews are an extremely important part of the hospitality industry. Positive reviews are always great reinforcement to let you know you’re doing something right with the guest experiences you’re creating. However, bad or negative reviews, while disheartening can also sometimes be biased, or just down right inappropriate.
Multiple studies have shown that reviews play a vital role when potential guests book a room. At least 81% of users read 6-12 reviews before booking a room. So if reviews play such a crucial part in determining your incoming revenue, and negative reviews are part and parcel of reputation management.
Here’s how to reply to negative reviews:
Assess and Acknowledge
Asses the complaints or issues raised in the review, and evaluate the validity of the complaints. At any cost, don’t be emotional when replying to reviews online. They’re public, and it will only hurt your hotel’s reputation, even if the guest is wrong, or wrote an unfair review.
Respond, Don’t Ignore
You might have the impulse to simply ignore the review, but don’t. Everyone can see the reviews, and if you just respond to the positive reviews, you will hurt your online reputation. On the other hand, if you thoughtfully reply to all reviews, potential guests will know that you care, and that you pay attention to detail.
Solidarity and Solutions
Put yourself in your reviewers’ shoes. Understand where they are coming from, and empathize with their situation. Apologies go far, so take ownership of whatever problem they face, and apologize that they had to go through that. Don’t stop there though. Offer an actual solution or inform them of corrective action that you’re taking, so no one else faces the same problem.
Flag Inappropriate or False Reviews
Some negative reviews can be biased, fake or even written by a competitor. If your hotel, resort, or hospitality property are receiving suspicious negative reviews on Google, here are some things you can do to manage them:
Flagging is your right!
If you find reviews that are inappropriate, or seem biased, or are inaccurate, then don’t hesitate to flag it. The worst thing that could happen is that Google’s content managers review the post and deny your request to take it down.
Google Knows Best
When you flag a review, there are a few parameters that Google checks for when considering to take down a review. Those parameters include indicators that a review was posted by a competitor, if the review contains inappropriate subject matter or language, or if it looks like a review was written by someone within the organization, which would be a clear conflict of interest.
It’s important to remember that even if you flag a review, it may not get taken down, and even if it does, it might take Google several days to review your request.