Online reviews – Now a very common tool which we use to help with making lots of every day decisions; booking a restaurant, choosing a hotel, finding a reliable handyman etc. If you aren’t writing them personally, I’m almost certain that you are using them to help make your decisions. The question is here: Why are so many hoteliers ignoring their online reviews? And if they finally get around to responding, why does it take them so long? Unfortunately, I cannot answer questions for other people but I can definitely provide a strong argument as to why hoteliers should be taking online reviews seriously.
Responding in a timely manner
The unfortunate truth is sometimes we receive negative or angry reviews from unsatisfied guests. Responding to these reviews in a timely manner is critical if you ever want to remedy the relationship! Taking a week to respond to these reviews is almost as bad as ignoring them completely, the more time that passes the longer the customer has to think about their experience and the more upset they will eventually get. It is absolutely critical to have a senior staff member monitoring reviews on a daily basis; this senior staff member should have a thorough understanding of how to affectively deal with disgruntled customers. On the positive side, this staff member should also be trained and well equipped to deal with positive reviews, all customers should be acknowledged for taking their time to review your property. It is also very important that positive reviews are communicated to the team, they want to hear about positive guest experiences too.
Why should Hotel owners and operators care about online reviews?
As mentioned above, online reviews are readily used to make many daily decisions, this includes booking a hotel room! When guests see positive reviews they are more confident about booking your property, the majority of customers feel online reviews are a very credible source. This is also the same for negative reviews; often guests will read negative reviews and make their own conclusions, after all everyone is affected by things differently; what infuriates some might not bother others.
Unhappy customers are more likely to tell their friends and family about their negative experience, that’s just how it is. Thankfully, most negative experiences can be resolved, all you have to do is show customers you care about what they have to say and a little compensation never hurt anyone e.g. a gift voucher, free breakfast next time etc.
By responding to customers reviews on a public platform prospective guests can see that their was a problem, they also acknowledge the hotel dealt with the issue in a timely manner and it looks like they are taking the steps to ensure it never happens again. The affected guest is also more likely to tell their friends and family the whole story, e.g. how well the hotel dealt with the negative review and what they did to compensate them therefore, boosting credibility for your brand.