Strategies for responding to your guests’ reviews
Why it is important to respond to guests reviews
Hotels that make the effort to respond to guests’ reviews benefit not only with a higher score from portals like Booking.com and Expedia (OTA’s) but also increase the number of booking enquiries.
Responding to customer reviews helps you to change clients perceptions and build loyalty and more bookings. According to a survey conducted by TripAdvisor 2015 it was found that 4 out of 5 respondents believe that hotels who answer their reviews are more interested in their guests, 65% say they are more likely to book a hotel that responds to reviews than one that doesn’t and 69% agree that a negative or defensive response to a bad review makes it less likely that they will book at the hotel.
But the response is not the main issue, it’s the way you do it that is vital to creating a good relationship with the guest. Remember it’s not only the client you are answering but all the potential customers who are reading your response.
What you should keep in mind when responding
- Who should have the job. It’s best to choose just one person and make them responsible for replying individually to each review. Reviews need to be handled with tact and diplomacy; particularly those that include negative or poor feedback. For that reason it is best to ask someone who is used to dealing with these situations regularly.
- When to respond. According to TripAdvisor, guests read between 6 to 12 hotel reviews before booking, so an appropriate time of response would be a maximum of three days, but ideally it should be done the same day that the review is received.
- Which reviews require a response. Barcelo hotel Group recommends 100% response to negative reviews, 50% to neutral reviews and 25% to positive reviews. The review source is also important since by answering those coming from OTAs like Booking.com or Expedia, you will have more exposure.
Some tips to create a winning strategy
- Personalized responses: As we have addressed in some of our previous posts, a personalized service for your guests is of great importance and this is not the exception. Tailored responses are better received than those that are not. The best answers are those in which the guest may notice that someone took the time to analyze their case, especially for those reviews that are very negative. Of course, it’s good to have certain established parameters, as to what is correct and incorrect to say but always deliver the message with a respectful and courteous tone.
- Prioritize the messages that are intended for the hotel and not travellers, these give you the best opportunity to highlight the good points of your hotel.
- Try to provide meaningful answers with relevant information for the guest and avoid repetition.
- It is important to respond to negative reviews even if they are written in a language different from yours. If this happens to you and neither you nor anyone on your staff is fluent in that language, it is advisable not to ignore it but to address it in your own language. It is important the guest knows that their comments were read and addressed.
- Don’t argue with the reviewer and don’t take the comments personally.
Remember, by responding you are showing you’re listening and that you care about your guests satisfaction.