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Which Reviews Matter and How You Should Respond

We often are asked by hoteliers, “Why do I need to respond to reviews?” or “Do you have any best practices for posting management responses?” Understanding the online comments posted about your hotel and responding appropriately on the applicable channels is the mandatory minimum for any hotel’s involvement in social media. Whether you like it or not, guests will write positive and negative reviews about your hotel, and it is essential to know when and how to reply to reviews. Not responding correctly or at all to reviews will have a direct impact on a hotel’s reputation and revenue.

Identifying Types of Reviews

You might ask, “Should I respond to all reviews?” and “How should we respond?” Before you automatically start responding to all reviews, be sure you are able to identify and differentiate between positive, negative, and neutral reviews. This will help you address any problems and prioritize which reviews to respond to first. When we say positive, neutral or negative reviews, we do not necessarily mean the actual rating or specific wording of the review from the perspective of the reviewer but rather the image conveyed to the reader after reading that specific review.

Response Frequency

Depending on your review volume, you should monitor your hotel’s social media and review channels every day. Dedicate at least 4 hours a week responding to negative reviews or as needed. Also, spend at least 1 hour per week responding to positive reviews (10% of them on TripAdvisor and your most active channels).

Timeliness of Review Responses

Time is of the essence and response time is critical when responding to reviews. No matter what type of review, the Reviewer and Readers (third-party potential guests) will be able to read your response if posted in a timely manner. Generally speaking, aim to have responses posted within 24 hours and no more than 48 hours after a review has been written.

Guidelines for Responding to Reviews

By monitoring what your guests are saying and the experiences they are reflecting, you can identify the positive experiences new guests expect to receive when staying at your hotel so your staff delivers these experiences consistently. Additionally, you can address any concerns directly and ensure readers that any issues have been, or will be, addressed by your staff. Here is a simple overview of how to reply to different reviews:

When posting management responses, be sure to avoid:

  • Generic, template-responses
  • Corporate, PR speak
  • Emotional responses
  • Objecting to the review
  • Lengthy explanations

Now let’s take a look at some examples of good responses to both positive and negative reviews.

Positive Review Examples

The Review and Response:

The Review and Response:
Why are these responses effective?

Each manager:

  • Thanks the reviewer
  • Acknowledges the reviewer’s specific compliments
  • Reinforces the brand’s values and offerings by
    • Highlighting the history and advantages of (and upselling) a premium room
    • Informing guests of special services like serving local food
  • Welcomes the reviewer back to the hotel
Negative/Mixed Review Examples
The Review and Response:
The Review and Response:
The Review and Response:
Why are these responses effective?

Each manager:

  • Offers a personalized greeting
  • Thanks the reviewer
  • Acknowledges any positive comments
  • Addresses the specific issues referenced
  • Apologizes for negative experiences
  • Commits to improving the experience the next time
    • Having tea available
    • Addressing training opportunities with front desk staff
    • Informing guests of complimentary shuttle service to account for inconvenience of location
    • Correcting internet speeds
    • Offering alternative room-types
  • Invites the reviewer back to the hotel

As mentioned above, management responses can and will affect your reputation and revenue. By following these guidelines and responding to reviews appropriately, you can engage with your guests post-stay, build guest loyalty, convince third-party readers to stay at your hotel, and ultimately drive the bottom line.

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