The Internet has profoundly altered and has practically changed everything, especially the way people travel. With the emergence of social media and numerous consumer review websites, TripAdvisor has emerged as one of the leaders in hotel and hospitality domain. As a result of this, it’s vital for the hoteliers to actively manage their reputation and reviews.
Reviews Are Important For Customers
According to a survey conducted by Forrester of approx 2,100 travelers commissioned by TripAdvisor, Startling 81% of travelers suggest that reviews are important, while only 3% suggest they were not. However, almost 50% of the respondents said they wouldn’t book a hotel unless it had reviews.
How Not to Handle Negative Reviews
Now that you have your TripAdvisor page and you understand the importance of managing it. Understand this that not everyone will be happy with what you offer all of the time, so it’s better to be prepared for the day when someone is unhappy, and say so!
Having a negative review on TripAdvisor, or any other site, can either make or break your online reputation.
- Never leave negative review unanswered
- Do not try to refute or reply in an unapologetic manner
- Do not use condescending tone
How to Manage Negative Reviews
As we earlier mentioned that a negative review could either make or break your hotel’s reputation. A genuine, simple and polite response to a negative review will help you in the following manner:
A) It could minimize the damage to your hotel’s reputation by making prospective guests think highly of you
B) It could repair the relationship with unhappy reviewer
According to an Insights data published by TripAdvisor 87% of the users agree that an appropriate management response to a negative review “ improves their impression of the hotel” while 70% of the users agree that a defensive/aggressive management response to a negative review “makes them less likely to book that hotel”.
Rightly said by Bill Gates – “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning”.
Using the “ARC” method of dealing with negative reviews
The most important rule is never to ignore a negative review, a prompt response is one of the most effective marketing tools you could have at your disposal. Remember that you are not just posting a response to the person who wrote it but to the hundreds of prospective guests reading it too, and if you can handle the criticism well it gives a human touch to your business that instills trust.
Here’s the ARC method of turning a negative review into a better reputation:
One of the important aspects of dealing with the negative review is to assess, no matter how outrageous or malicious the claim is, never give in to your urge of replying to it using bitter or defamatory language. It is suggested that the response should be given within the 36 hours of the appearance of the negative review. In order to do the comprehensive assessment setup an internal investigation on an urgent basis to understand what went wrong. Talk to all the employees who came in touch with the guest and on side note always emphasis on creating a healthy work environment and train your employees to take care of guest satisfaction as the priority.
After the assessment phase is complete and you have the understanding of the issue draft an appropriate response. An apt response should be personal in nature directly addressing the problems and should not be a template reply. Be polite when writing response even if you think that complaint is coming from someone looking for a ‘discount’ never use condescending or dismissive language. A response must always be written by someone having authority and it should never be a generic or defensive response as it can aggravate the situation further.
Let your response sounds like a work of literature. Make it honest, personal and profound with the utmost attention to language and grammar because unfortunately, people will judge your professionalism not just by your hospitality but also by your spellings and grammar.
Your response should include an apology, a resolution to the problem and should extend an invite to the reviewer to experience the changes you have implemented. Be very cautious if there is no proof that the guest was treated in an appalling manner, you do not have to offer complimentary compensation as it can increase the chances of getting the fake reviews. Acting on and addressing the complaints shows dedication towards service and guest satisfaction and also the confidence that the problem has been dealt with as you are willing to risk being publicly reviewed by them again.