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The Dos & Don’ts of Managing Online Reviews for Your Hotel

The Dos & Don'ts of Managing Online Reviews for Your Hotel

Online review management is a key part of an hotelier’s business because online reviews are powerful. So powerful in fact, that businesses are soliciting Google and Facebook reviews as part of their marketing strategy.

But what do you do with negative reviews, and should you respond to all of your positive reviews?

In this article, we look at the dos and don’ts of managing online reviews for your hotel.

General Response Tips for Online Review Management

When you’re responding to any review on social media, Google, Trip Advisor, and other sites, there are some basic guidelines to follow.

  • You want to begin every response with the person’s first name. For example, “Hi, Susan,” “Hello, Mark,” or “Dear Steven.” The personal touch is very important and helps start your response off on a good tone. This also keeps your response from sounding automated.
  • Don’t use the same response for all of your reviews. You want to craft a personal response for each person that is unique to them.
  • Consider rephrasing what they already said to you. Or if you have a team member that knows about the customer, ask them for something unique to say.

Finally, remember that you are responding to more than just the customer who left the review. You are also responding for all of the potential customers who are reading your reviews and looking for lodging.

How to Respond to Positive Reviews

It’s always easier to respond to positive reviews. You want to make sure you do respond to them all, though. This isn’t the time to take your positive reviews for granted.

This is your chance to show you care about each one of your guests’ stays and not just the ones who were unhappy.

First, you want to repeat what they were happy about. For example, you might say, “Hi, Susan. We’re so glad you enjoyed your pancakes each morning.”

When you restate what your guest said, you reinforce their positive review while showing others that you care about the guest individually.

Another good rule of thumb is to always use the name of your property and your location in your responses. This way your reviews may show up higher on search engine results. It also helps your customer make a mental picture of your property that they’ll remember after reading the review.

Finally, add one last line that reiterates how happy you are that they enjoyed their stay with a call to action that encourages them to return. You can even give them a reason. For example, “Come see us in the spring when the flowers are blooming.”

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

These are the reviews every business owner struggles with. Whether what the guest said is true or not, negative reviews still feel awful.

What’s more, the pressure to craft the best response can be daunting. Whatever you do, though, don’t put it off. The sooner you respond the better.

Do remember, though, that everyone gets at least one bad review, and they aren’t the end of the world. Think of it as your opportunity to make things right, improve if you need to, and let others see how empathetic and professional you are.

First, talk to the employees who may have been involved in what made your customer unhappy. Once you have the details, you can move forward following these steps:

  • Acknowledge the guest’s feelings. Even if it really wasn’t your fault, acknowledge and apologize. You are validating your guest’s feelings which is a good thing.
  • Next, invite your customer to contact you by phone or email to discuss the situation further. The last thing you want is a back and forth.
  • Don’t go overboard in your response. Have someone else proofread it.
  • Keep your business name and your keywords out it.

It helps if you have a playbook for responding to negative reviews. These could be some general guidelines to help you respond.

Additional Do’s and Don’ts

Now let’s look at a few more don’ts for online review management:

  • Don’t fake reviews to get more positive reviews. Believe it or not, people will see through it, and you’ll make review sites very unhappy.
  • You don’t want to get into a war of words, so keep your responses to negative reviews short and simple.
  • Don’t freak out if you get a negative review. Calm down and respond with kindness.

Here are some other specifics on things you do want to do:

  • Create policies and procedures on how to respond to any kind of review. This is your online review management policy.
  • Decide who will respond to the reviews and whether or not they need approval for responses.
  • Invest in some software to help you respond and manage your replies. Very often your CRM software can help you with this.
  • Respond quickly. Best practices state you should respond within 24 hours. If it’s during business hours, don’t wait more than a few hours.

Final Thoughts on Online Review Management

A Trip Advisor survey found that when customers were able to choose between two identical properties, 79% of users will choose the one with the higher rating. The study also showed 81% of travelers always or frequently read reviews before they book a hotel.

In the digital world we live in, your future hotel guests believe in your online reviews. Your reviews can either encourage the booking or discourage it.

But don’t worry if you have a few negative reviews. The negative reviews provide you the perfect opportunity to respond. This way future guests can learn more and see both sides of the story.

Your online customer reviews are essential to your success as a hotelier. If you currently don’t have many reviews, it’s time to put this into your marketing strategy and develop an avenue for encouraging reviews. (tweet this)

When responding to online reviews, make sure you are aware of all the places your hotel guests might leave them. This is definitely Google and Facebook.

It’s also on booking sites and trip review sites. Do some research to learn where they are and set some notifications so you can respond in a timely manner.

To conclude, make sure your reviews are filtering into your hotel website. This way they are easily accessible to future hotel guests.

We are your hotel’s digital advertising specialists and can help you highlight your property and your hotel experience through online reviews on your website. Whether it’s a new website, search engine marketing, online booking, online listings, social media marketing or website design, we are here to help. Contact us today to start a conversation about your digital advertising needs.

Images: Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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