How should hotel managers respond to negative online reviews?

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How should hotel managers respond to negative online reviews?

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Negative online reviews. The mere words send chills down the spine, right? Wrong! Social media provides hotel managers with the opportunity to respond to negative reviews left on sites like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Booking.com, etc.

We met recently with the managers of an international hotel chain to present them with our ideas on how to respond to such reviews to preserve their good online reputation and work to make it even better.

DO

1) Make sure senior management is involved in the process
2) Be timely
3) Thank the reviewer for their feedback to show that you are listening
4) Apologize that the stay did not go as planned
5) Be transparent
6) Point out that this is a rarity when compared with your regular service
7) Explain how you will be reacting to their feedback
8 ) Highlight any positive aspects that the reviewer left
9) Offer a direct line of communication (e-mail, phone line, etc.)
10) Fix the problem if there is one

You can also

a) Blog about the story to let people know how proactive you are being
OR
b) Write a press release about any significant changes made

DON’T

1) Ignore negative reviews and think they will go away
2) Write angry responses
3) Question the reviewer’s legitimacy
4) Reply with a discount which could encourage negative reviews
5) Respond insincerely or automatically
6) Remove negative reviews (most sites do not allow this anyway)
7) Forget to respond to positive reviews (only responding to negative ones can make you look defensive)
8 ) Write fake reviews (you’ll be found out)

However, we all know that user reviews aren’t perfect. This blog is one of many pointing out the shortcomings of TripAdvisor and similar booking sites.

What’s a manager to do, then?

Alex Bufton, key account manager of the InterContinental Hotels Group recommends that, « True or false, positive or negative, hotels should use TripAdvisor manager tools to reply to feedback […] It shows integrity and the fact that you are listening to your consumers. […] The vast majority of people (who) use TripAdvisor as a decision support tool will recognize this too. Let the consumer decide which category the author fits into and how much emphasis should be placed on it.”

What do you think ?

by Michelle



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