No one likes to get a bad review online. The sinking feeling when you see a one or two out of five rating and the harsh criticisms of unhappy guests erode at the heart of a good hotelier, and at the reputation of your business.
NB: This is an article from GuestRevu
Many hoteliers have come up with ways to attempt to prevent negative reviews from reaching the public, some of which are distinctly unsavoury. Some hotels have attempted to stifle poor reviews simply by preventing guests who had negative experiences from receiving the establishment’s usual review request email, and others have gone so far as to attempt to sue or fine guests for bad reviews.
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Of course, everyone wishes that all their guests only ever have positive experiences, but you should never attempt to block, censor or circumvent negative reviews by duplicitous means or force. Between brand damage, operational oversight and possible legal consequences, the harm that can be done simply isn’t worth it.
How can you improve your offerings if you never hear any negative feedback from real travellers? And, after all, even if you hide the negative reviews online, you’re not going to stop unhappy guests from telling their friends and family about their experience in person, still damaging your reputation, but leaving you in the dark with no way to improve your hotel or service delivery.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should accept criticism gracefully, and some steps for managing your online reputation the right way.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T TRY TO BLOCK NEGATIVE REVIEWS
It doesn’t work
First and foremost, trying to silence people in the information age doesn’t work. There are simply too many ways for people to share their opinions and experiences – there are hundreds of review sites, online travel agents (OTAs) and social media platforms where people can write whatever they like, there are news outlets always looking for a story, and there is still good old fashioned over the garden wall word of mouth.
By raising expectations you could set yourself up to fail
Even if you successfully influence people to choose you rather than your competitors by keeping accounts of negative experiences off review sites, you can still be setting yourself up for failure by presenting a more positive image of your hotel than you can deliver, which will result in even more disappointed guests and more people who want to write negative reviews about your hotel online. As the Gaps Model of Service Delivery explains, it’s not simply the quality of the experience you provide guests, but the difference between what guests are expecting and what they receive that leads to dissatisfaction.
For many of your guests, travel is a big investment of both time and money. By manipulating your reviews, you mislead your potential guests, denying them the opportunity to get a complete picture of what a visit to your hotel might be like, and preventing them from making an informed decision – not a good start to a relationship.
People’s opinions on what is “negative” differ
Not everyone has the same views on what constitutes a drawback in a hotel. For example, your hotel might get a bad review because the club next door pumped all night, but while Mrs Beige who was missing her cats might not have appreciated the noise, Nikki and her party-loving group of friends will be thrilled to learn about your area’s nightlife. This means that the more reviews you have, even ones that are average or less-than-excellent, the more opportunities you’re giving yourself to appeal to the right review readers and help your target traveller to find you.