It’s Here! The Recommended Method (and Cadence) of Responding to Reviews
Over the past few years, you may have heard multiple, and often differing, opinions on how hotels should respond to online reviews. Recently, Cornell released a study that helps hotels answer the age-old question. The study found correlations between reviews and hotel revenue and that there are two key limitations on how review responses lead to revenue improvements: 1). Too many responses is worse than offering no response and 2). Consumers more appreciate responses to negative reviews. So how can hotels utilize this information to update their current response process? Here are a few tips and guidelines.
Prioritizing Review Responses
For hotels who have received thousands of online reviews, knowing that you’re not expected to respond to all reviews may be a relief. But considering the revenue impact of responding to the right reviews, hotels need a method of prioritizing reviews and their subsequent responses. Key considerations for prioritizing reviews can include:
1. Most Recent Reviews: While the feedback your hotel received 2-3 years ago is still relevant and should be considered, it may not be necessary to create a delayed response today. This is especially important for hotels who are just beginning a feedback management strategy. Prioritize your most recent reviews first, as these are receiving more visibility online today.
2. Resolved Issues: Many guests leave feedback as a way of helping to alert hotels of their shortcomings, hoping that they improve in the future. If your hotel is utilizing guest feedback to improve hotel operations, make sure to address that in your responses. Maybe your hotel once received a lot of feedback about a slow check-in process, and that has since been fixed, that information is best shared in a response to a correlating guest review.
3. Negative Reviews: According to Cornell’s research, travelers appreciate when hotels respond to negative reviews. Therefore, this is an easy way to prioritize responses, by looking at ratings from lowest to highest.
Responding to Negative Reviews
No matter how fantastic your hotel, it is difficult to avoid the negative online review. The best thing you can do is respond, draw your conclusions from the feedback, and move on. Online reputation software allows hotels to find and respond to guest reviews with just a few swift clicks of a button. But creating the response is not always so easy. To help beat your writer’s block, here are a few guidelines for responding to your negative reviews:
1. Open With a Personal Thank You: Thank the guest for taking the time to write a review, and try to address the guest by name whenever possible. This lets guests know that their feedback is appreciated and valued.
2. Acknowledge and Address: Apologize for falling short of the guest’s expectations and make sure to address their specific concerns. if there are improvements that your hotel is making to ensure that other guests won’t have the same experience, make sure to mention that as well.
3. Invite them back: Invite the guest back to rectify the situation, and make sure to sign off the review with your name and an appropriate way for the guest to contact you. It shows that the hotel truly is interested in ensuring its guests have a great experience.
With this template, you can create a short and concise response that the guest, and future travelers, will acknowledge and appreciate. For more tips and examples, read the full best practice article here.