Review sites and social media are tools that all travelers use when looking for hotels to stay in. They are becoming extremely important in today’s travel industry, especially now that OTAs like Kayak are starting to integrate TripAdvisor reviews directly into their searches. In this high-tech world we live in, it is best for general managers to interact with their customers on social media, especially when it comes to online customer reviews.
Sooner or later you’ll encounter a negative review on Yelp or TripAdvisor that isn’t a spammer or false claim. What do you do? In most cases, you should respond. Follow these simple steps in crafting your response.
Respond in a timely fashion. Responding quickly shows the customer that you are monitoring your channels closely, and that someone cares about their concerns. Other people are also more likely to read your response if it is put up quickly.Be polite, calm, and professional. Treat this review like any customer service request and be courteous. Be sensitive to the customer’s feelings. Such professionalism will enhance your online reputation.Be honest. Perhaps the criticism was just a simple misunderstanding. Is there information on your website that addresses their complaints? Or if they had a problem with your staff, apologize if necessary and look forward without accusations.If the customer’s criticism is valid, acknowledge that there is a problem, and something is being done to fix it. This shows the customer that their opinions have been heard. Perhaps you should speak to your staff about the importance of friendly customer service.Thank the customer for his or her review. This shows that you appreciate the customer’s feedback. It also encourages further (possibly positive!) feedback.Offer compensation if appropriate. Usually a discounted room or upgrade is enough to compensate the customer for any wrongdoing. In most cases, it will also damage your hotel less than a bad online reputation. Ask for the customer’s contact information so that you can contact them immediately upon offering the compensation. This also shows potential customers that you are willing to rectify your mistakes.
Your customers will appreciate that you cared enough to respond to their complaints, and your hotel will look great to other possible guests. Who knows, maybe your response will even get the customer to write a more positive review in the future!