Although recent research has indicated that travelers’ review fatigue is setting in, a majority of travelers say that online reviews impact their buying decisions. The feedback people leave should not be ignored, as it is an ideal way to get to know your customers and see your business through the perspective of others.
Today hoteliers must monitor guests’ feedback on TripAdvisor, Yelp, social media sites, and Google + Local. Hotel owners can publicly respond to reviews posted on Google in the “reviews by Google users” section on Google + Local.
Before you begin responding to reviews, review Google’s recommendations:
1. Be Nice.Sounds simple, right? Surprisingly, many owners’ responses come across as very defensive and aggressive. Don’t try to win an argument with an upset customer. A courteous response to an angry customer’s review can lead to a change of heart – this customer may come back if the problem/concern is addressed. Also, read Google’s Content Policy before you begin responding to reviews.
2. It’s Not Personal.This means that a review about the hotel is about the experience – not an individual person! Don’t forget that these reviews are public and the hotel name will appear as the author of your response. You can flag a review as inappropriate if it violates Google’s Review Guidelines.
3. Feedback is Always Helpful.Though some reviews may get you upset, remember that all feedback is useful! If a customer has taken the time to write about his or her experience at your hotel, then you should thank them. You can improve your hotel by getting customer feedback – good or bad!
4. Short & Simple Responses are Best.When writing a response, don’t forget what the user wants – helpful, short, and useful information! Do not overwhelm them with tons of writing. Instead, be genuine and get straight to the point.
5. A Thank You Goes a Long Way.Always respond to negative reviewers! Respond to happy reviewers when there’s new or relevant information to share. However, you don’t need to thank every reviewer.
6. Your Guests Prefer a Friend Over a Salesperson.Since your reviewers are already customers, you do not need to try to sell them something. Instead, tell reviewers something new about your hotel (like a tip).