a hotelier responding to bad hotel reviews

Despite you giving all your best and pouring all your hard work into pleasing your customers, there will always be a time when you will have to face negative hotel reviews. And whether your negative Tripadvisor reviews or Agoda reviews are rightly just or unfairly given, your online reputation will suffer. Hotel reviews play a very important role in sustaining a profitable revenue stream as it is the clearest indicator of your hotel’s reputation. 

The question is, no matter how unfair the guest feedback is, should you resist the urge to defend your case? The way you respond to them can make or break your reputation and determine customer retention. So before you type in your reply with some harsh words trying to defend your hotel, here’s what you must read first.

What’s inside this blog?

Why Hotel Reviews Matter to Your Business

In today’s digital marketing era, online reviews—whether those are Tripadvisor reviews, Agoda reviews, or from your own social media pages—add value to your hotel. According to eZee Absolute, “a whopping 93% of people check hotel reviews before booking a room and 33% of guests do not prefer to book a hotel with no reviews.”

How to Respond to Hotel Reviews

sample template to respond to bad hotel reviews

People’s harsh words hurt and can sometimes be downright cruel so it’s just normal to get upset when you get negative hotel reviews especially if you know that you and your team had done the very best you could. In times like this, it’s very crucial to keep your cool and respond politely as possible because the position of your hotel depends on your reply to the customer.

So to help you out, we’ve listed some tips on how you can respond to negative feedback the right and smart way:

Step 1: Address the reviewer

Addressing your guest by name makes your service and the conversation more human in many ways. Anyone would want to be heard and addressed personally so by using your guest’s name shows that you care enough to remember them and make them feel that they are more than just a number. Therefore, avoid using the generic “Dear guest” and start personalizing your response to your customers.

Step 2: Thank the guest

All feedback is valuable so no matter how hurtful the review is, always thank the guest for taking the time to give feedback. If you handle the situation gracefully, it can alleviate the effects of the bad review in the eyes of your potential guests.

Step 3: Acknowledge and apologize

Even if you think you didn’t do anything wrong, an apology is still necessary. Just because you apologize doesn’t mean you are guilty. Sure you did everything you could to deliver the best service possible but your guest will not leave negative reviews if their expectations are met. The last thing your guest would want to hear from you is that he is wrong. You can’t argue with how they feel because their experience is their own. A little sympathy goes a long way.

Step 4: Take responsibility and make things right

Even if the bad experience was not your fault, don’t make excuses. Acknowledge your guest’s experience, own up to it, and reassure the guest that you hold yourself to high standards and that his experience will not happen again. Offer a refund or a free service (but don’t right away, and only if you think that could fix the issue) to make up for the guest’s poor experience at your hotel.

Step 5: Discuss the matter offline

The online community is massive and people are very much active. If you want to avoid any further public conflict or other people interfering in the situation, it’s best to take the issue offline. Leave contact information, including the name of a specific company representative, if the matter needs further discussion that can be resolved by other people, and invite the guest to contact you. Doing so shows that your hotel takes customer service seriously enough to have someone in charge of addressing those problems.

Step 6: Ask for a second chance

Invite the person to visit your hotel again and when they do, welcome them with open arms and make his experience better than before. If you tell your guest that you will do better next time, do it. This creates an opportunity for you to turn the conversation more positively and establishes confidence in your ability to deliver a memorable experience worth sharing.

When Should You Respond to Guest Feedback?

If you know the saying time is money, then you’d understand how crucial the situation is. When you receive a bad review online, the best time to respond is ASAP. Of course, while responding to the feedback as soon as possible is ideal and might save your reputation, do it the smart way. Research first about the details of the reviewer’s stay and once you have information with you, reply (in a polite way) as soon as you can to avoid further damage.

Template: Sample Reply to Negative Hotel Reviews

If you need help on constructing your response to negative hotel reviews, here’s a sample reply that you can use as your guide.

Dear (guest’s name),

This (your name) of (your hotel). Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

We are sorry to hear about your experience. At (your hotel), our top priority is our guests’ safety and comfort and we do our best to deliver great experiences. We apologize that our service did not match your expectations.

We are looking into this issue and hope to resolve it promptly and accurately. We will use your feedback to make us better and to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Thank you again for letting us know about this. Your feedback helps us do better. 

If you’re open to discussing this further, please contact me at (email address) or call us at (phone number). We will work with you to resolve any issues as quickly as possible. 

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you would be willing to give us a chance to turn your experience around. It would be such a pleasure to personally welcome you back to our hotel.

With much appreciation,

(Your name)

(Your position)

Having problems with responding to negative reviews? Let ZEN Hospitality Solutions help you. Aside from the Channel Manager, Revenue Manager, and Online Listing Management, our eManager Lite plan includes a Customer Service feature that helps hoteliers like you manage both positive and negative reviews.

Talk to an expert now. Book a free appointment at www.zen-hs.com/book-a-meeting

Frequently Asked Questions About Hotel Reviews

Q: Should you respond to negative hotel reviews?
A: Yes! Hotel reviews play a very important role in sustaining a profitable revenue stream as it is the clearest indicator of your hotel’s reputation. 

Q: When to respond to hotel reviews?
A: If you know the saying time is money, then you’d understand how crucial the situation is. When you receive a bad review online, the best time to respond is ASAP. Of course, while responding to the feedback as soon as possible is ideal and might save your reputation, do it the smart way. Research first about the details of the reviewer’s stay and once you have information with you, reply (in a polite way) as soon as you can to avoid further damage.

Q: How to politely respond to negative reviews?
A: No matter how hurtful the review is, keep your cool and respond as politely as possible. The way you respond to them can make or break your reputation and determine customer retention. So to help you out, we’ve listed some tips on how you can respond to negative feedback the right and smart way:

  1. Address the reviewer
  2. Thank the guest
  3. Acknowledge and apologize
  4. Take responsibility and make things right
  5. Discuss the matter offline
  6. Ask for a second chance
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