Reviews can make or break a hospitality business and are a key part of hospitality marketing – however, it isn’t always the review itself which improves or damages reputation. The way a review is dealt with can play a larger role in future business, with a well-worded response protecting businesses from potential PR nightmares.
Demonstrating the importance of responding to reviews in the world of hospitality, TripAdvisor reported that 65% of hotel users would choose to book with a hotel that replies to reviews, as opposed to a similar one which does not. Similarly, 87% of TripAdvisor users consider reviews important when choosing a restaurant.
Here are 8 ways to respond to online reviews, regardless of what has been said about your business:
- Respond quickly and regularly
Leaving reviews with no response for a long period of time can concern potential customers, deterring bookings. It’s important to reply to as many reviews as possible, particularly the negative ones. With many platforms, you can set up notifications for when a new review is received, otherwise it may be wise to check back regularly and respond.
- Don’t avoid negative reviews
It’s important to face negative reviews and use them as an opportunity to correct mistakes, recover reputation and respond professionally. An impressive 85% of TripAdvisor users say their overall impression of a venue is improved when they see a well-worded management response to a negative review. By tackling negative reviews and the issues behind complaints, potential customers will feel more trust for your brand. Remember to be diplomatic, clearing up any incorrect information in a professional and respectful manner.
- Show you care
Have a senior member of the team respond to reviews, demonstrating that you take them seriously. Include job titles and names so readers can see who is responding – giving a personal touch. Always begin by thanking the person for leaving a review, regardless of their opinion, showing pride in positive reviews and apologising when a negative review is received.
- Show attention to detail
Take time to respond to every part of a review, beginning by addressing the positive points in a review and then any negative comments. If the review is not written in your language, try translating your response using an accurate translation site, or have a multilingual person take care of this for you. Try to directly communicate to the person who left the review wherever possible, sending answers which clearly address each individual point in detail, rather than giving generic responses.
- Mention actions if required
Present your business as one which looks to continuously improve. Let people know what actions will be taken as a consequence of their review. For positive reviews, this may mean sharing it with the team or relevant staff member concerned, while for a negative review, it may mean outlining the specific changes you will be implementing in order to improve service in the future.
- Stay true to your brand
Feel free to add your brand tone of voice into responses, keeping a professional tone while adding some personality.
- Get to the point
Don’t send enormous responses to reviews unless it is really necessary. Keeping it brief works to hold readers’ attention, giving you the opportunity to get your point across and make a statement.
- Invite repeat business
Whether the review is positive or negative, it’s important to encourage the customer to return. Ask those who enjoyed their experience to visit again, and those who left a negative review to come back and see how the service has improved.
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing and is very passionate about the hospitality industry.