Even though travel review websites are gaining popularity and significance among travelers, many hoteliers still do not leverage travel reviews to their hotel’s advantage. It is crucial to respond and interact with guests through reviews, to prove that their voices matter, fix any issues that are mentioned and improve the credibility of your hotel. On the positive side, many hoteliers may have several ideas on how to respond to positive and negative reviews. However, it is essential to determine which responses and behaviors to avoid to convey a professional response to your guests consistently. Without further ado, here is a list of the top 10 blunders hotels make with travel reviews.
- Allowing for one-sided conversations: Guests take precious time and effort to write out thoughtful and sometimes even emotional reviews. Don’t leave your guests hanging; continue the discussion with them and let communications end with a good note, preferably through someone in the hotel’s management team. If you don’t take at least an equal approach to engage with your guests, then they may look somewhere else for attention.
- Not using positive guest experiences to ask for positive reviews: Good news, you’ve successfully provided an outstanding guest experience, and now your guests are ecstatic about their next stay at your hotel. Don’t just wish them farewell until the next time they visit; you’re losing a great opportunity to boost your hotel’s image here. For guests that have extremely positive experiences at your hotel, it’s wise to politely ask them to write a positive review on a travel review site. By having your happiest guests do this, they will encourage other travelers to stay at your hotel, because you did what a hotel is supposed to do – create a comfortable and positive experience for hotel guests!
- Being overly defensive or attacking review writers: They scream, you scream – this kind of communication isn’t helping anyone out here. Not taking into account the guest’s personal experience, and acting defensively or blatantly attacking the guest is one of the worst things you can do a travel review website. Although you may be angry at the review, take several minutes to breathe, calm down, throw things around, whatever helps to get the anger out of your system so you can respond professionally and warmly. If you don’t manage to tone down the aggression, don’t be surprised about the possibility of losing potential guests.
- Responding with the same response every time: So, you think you’re clever and created two different answers to reviews, one being positive and the other negative. You post either of these two responses onto every review that you come across, and it’s generally a fast process for you to respond to all discussions on the website. The truth of the matter is, don’t be lazy, especially when it comes to writing out responses for reviews. Keep in mind that many others can view these reviews and your answers, and by only using the same two responses, you come across as insincere. It gets old fast, so make sure to mix up your responses and provide as much of a personalized message to each answer you write.
- Under-compensating and overcompensating in writing: Imagine receiving this kind of response to your review from the hotel: “if u hab a problem, y u no contak the front desc?” You’re probably thinking to yourself that it sounds terrible and unprofessional (it certainly does!). Spell check is essential when writing a response to a guest’s review, so get in the habit of doing it often. On the other hand, how would you react to this kind of response from a hotel?: “In all sincerity and on behalf of our staff, we are cognizant of your unsatisfactory stay with us and promise to ameliorate a superior experience the next time, if you so choose to stay with us once more.” It reads too much. Drop the fancy vocabulary and unnecessary amount of words, and stick with plain, conversational English; it’ll go a long way with your guests.
- Ignoring serious issues and negative allegations in a review: If a guest is writing about something controversial at the hotel, like how the room is infested by bed bugs and the children all got bitten by them last night, how should you respond? Well, you don’t want to deny the guest’s claim, and you also don’t want to ignore it either. Not responding to what seems like a severe problem is damaging to the hotel’s image, especially since many others can see the review as well. Make sure to address these issues and remain transparent in your responses.
- Not realizing that it’s important to respond to positive reviews, too: Unlike negative reviews, which you should always respond to, positive reviews should also have a response now and then as well. Most of the time, hoteliers are trying to react to negative responses so that they can save their hotel from a further backlash. However, don’t forget to respond to positive reviews, because it shows that you care about what everyone thinks, you appreciate their kind comments, and you can even take the time to boast about the benefits of your hotel just a little bit too!
Indeed, this list can continue to increase, as there are plenty more blunders hotels can make with travel reviews. How many more mistakes can you think of?