A Hotelier’s Guide to Responding to Online Reviews
Today’s consumers rely heavily on reviews to make purchasing decisions. The quantity and quality of online reviews are both considered when determining what to buy or where to book. That makes them critical to a business’s success.
NB: This is an article from WebRezPro
But it’s not just about maximizing positive reviews and minimizing the negative ones (although that’s certainly important). Responding to reviews is also an essential part of reputation management. If done correctly it can further capitalize on the good reviews and mitigate the damage of the bad. Here’s a quick guide to responding to online reviews:
Use their name >> Always start your responses with the name of the customer. “Hi, Louise. Thank you.. “ or “Hello, Max. We are so sorry…” sound much more personal than beginning with a cold “Thank you …” or “We are so sorry…”. Using names tells your customers that you care about them as individuals. And it makes it seem less like an automated response.
Be genuine >> Nobody likes receiving a canned response. It feels inauthentic and doesn’t do anything to build a connection with customers. So, avoid generic statements and use language that showcases your property’s personality.
Don’t be repetitive >> It can be tempting to use the same responses over and over to save time, but people read multiple reviews when researching online. If the same phrases are repeated time and time again, they’ll notice. So, mix things up—it’ll look better for your brand.
While most of your responses should be focused on negative reviews, responding to some positive ones is still important. It shows you don’t take customers’ kind words for granted, and is an opportunity to leverage the review even further.
Repeat the positive feature >> When a guest writes a rave review they usually include the specific details that meant the most to them—things like “the breakfast every morning was delicious.” Restate those details in your responses. Saying something like “we’re so glad you enjoyed our breakfast!” shows the guest (and others reading the exchange) that you’re listening to what they have to say and reiterates the positive attributes of your property.
Use your business name and keywords >> When crafting your response make sure to include your property’s name (i.e. “we are so pleased to hear you enjoyed your time at [PROPERTY NAME]” as well as other keywords. You want people to see your positive reviews, and this will help them show up in search results.
Include subtle marketing >> Reviews have a vast audience of potential customers, so don’t miss the opportunity to plug your property further. After thanking the guest for their kind words, include a subtle call-to-action. Something like “we’re so happy to hear you enjoyed your view of the lake! You should come back and see it in the winter; it’s so beautiful!”.
Negative reviews aren’t fun, but they happen to everyone. And your responses say a lot to the potential customers reading them. So, you need to have a plan for how to move forward. If done well, you can significantly reduce any fallout (and a guest may even revise it afterwards).
Acknowledge and apologize >> The first thing you should do is acknowledge the experience your guest had and express your apologies for it. People tend to calm down when their feelings are validated.
Move the conversation offline >> You don’t want to turn negative reviews into long, drawn-out discussions online. After apologizing for the guest’s experience, include an invitation to contact you offline so the situation can be resolved.
Keep it short and sweet >> Nobody wants to read paragraphs of text, especially when they’re upset. So, don’t add fuel to the fire with long-winded responses. A simple acknowledgment, apology, and an invitation to communicate further are all you need.
Don’t use your business name or keywords >> Unlike your positive reviews, you really don’t want negative reviews to be popping up on search results. For this reason, avoid using your property’s name or relevant keywords in your responses.
Responding to online reviews should be a regular part of your marketing strategy. Make sure you’re doing it right, so you can make the most of a positive review and reduce the effects of negative ones.