TripAdvisor is where your customers go to tell the world just how good (or bad) their experience with you was.  There’s no hiding place for hoteliers anymore so you’d better do your best to impress.

There’s no doubt that reviews on TripAdvisor can directly affect a consumer’s decision to book (or not) accommodation with you. In a study, Tourism Research Australia reveled that travel review websites is one of the most important sources that influenced the decisions of global travelers.

With that said, there are some people you just can’t please and they’re often the first ones to complain in public. So let’s take a look at how you can respond to their concerns and preserve your reputation whilst keeping your credibility intact.

There is a formula to a good response and we’d suggest you consider using it if you choose to actively respond to reviews.

The TripAdvisor Response Formula

The formula is simple and consists of just three steps:

Step #1 – Be Courteous and Open – Criticism is never enjoyable, especially when you work so hard on your business.  But, take all feedback as an opportunity to learn and go into responses with that mindset.  Thank the guest for taking the time to give you feedback and do so sincerely.  Remember with written text is hard to comprehend the emotion behind the words so choose them wisely (and avoid all caps!).

Step #2 – Focus on The Positives But Don’t Ignore Their Gripes – You want to frame your core of your response in a 1-2-3 method.  Firstly address the positives they mentioned (if no one mentioned introduce them yourself), secondly address their concerns and let them know about what you’ll do about it and any improvement plans you have in place.  Lastly, comment again about some other positive aspect of the hotel.  The goal is let the guest know their concern is important but let other guests know that it’s only one aspect of the hotel and there are many other positives.

Step #3 – Check the Post in Line With TripAdvisor Rules – This is easy to get right. Simply use PC-language, post personalized responses which are original and professional.  Ensure your response is relevant.  Do not reveal the reviewers personal details (this is a breach of data protection) and NEVER try to promote your hotel in the responses.

In Summary

Using this three step formula will help you quickly craft review responses which pacify your complainants and illustrate to other customers that you take complaints seriously.

Rational people expect bad reviews from even the best hotels as some people just can’t be pleased so don’t take it personally. Remember to focus on using the formula and address the concerns in a professional manner.

Never sink to the level of complainants who make personal remarks or become borderline abusive. Remember, your business is in the glare of the public eye so you’ll need to think like a public relations expert and carefully consider any responses you author. For this reason, if you see a review that makes your blood boil it is best practice to not respond immediately – this could have you posting a response that you’ll regret. Instead, wait for an hour or two before replying – this will give you a chance to cool down and respond in a manner that is positive to your business.

Consider how your response will be perceived, if it could be misinterpreted and how you can ensure that anyone who reads it comes away with a positive feeling about you despite the negative undertones of the review.