Dana Barker | Contributing blogger
You’ve been asked to handle the responses to reviews for your hotel. You’re seen as the person on staff who is the most social media savvy, so you are the obvious choice. Right? Perhaps. But being a consumer of social media doesn’t always lead to success when managing feedback on online channels. In my experience with our iResponze customers, they are enthusiastic about striking the right tone in responses but have many questions about what to say and what to do with the feedback. Here are my top five actions to take when responding to online reviews.
1. Always say thank you
No matter how disappointed, angry, or downright rude a reviewer is, say thank you for the feedback. This seems simple, but coming across as sincere can be challenging. The best way to do so is to vary the language you use for thanking guests in your responses. If your potential guests see that every response begins with, “Thank you for your feedback on your stay,” they will know that you are on auto-pilot with your responses.
2. Keep it brief
Absolutely keep your response to the point. You do not need to explain in detail the resolution that you are taking – it is more important to inspire confidence that you will take action. Rather than talk about a training program that you have in place that may not have been used, assure your guest that you brought this issue to the attention of the individual who can ensure that proper training is in place.
3. Proofread and proofread again
It seems a bit silly, but having grammatical errors or misspellings will make your response seem less credible. Ask someone else to review your response before you post it, especially if you are responding to several at one time. Your ability to see what is written versus what you meant to write is diminished the more times you see the same content.
4. Tailor to details in review
Vary your language for each response and make sure you respond to the details of the review. Try to be as specific as possible, which lets guests know that you are paying attention. The last impression you want to give is that you have a “one size fits all” response. Each review deserves specific attention, just as each guest in your hotel deserves personal attention.
5. Alert the GM when relevant
The GM probably does not want to know every time someone complains about the parking, but the GM should know if a guest raises a serious problem or you spot a recurring theme. If the issue relates to any of the following, alert the GM immediately: liability to the hotel, unresolved security issues, bed bugs (not other insects), or doubtful reviews.
While many hotels can manage responding in a timely manner that meets brand or industry standards, it can be challenging to stay current.
At iResponze, we know that responding to reviews requires consistent attention and a strategy for developing and maintaining your hotel’s personality. We have helped many clients meet the challenge, and we have learned a lot about how to be successful with your current and future guests. If you apply the action items listed above, you can meet the challenges of responding. Of course, we would welcome the opportunity to show how we can meet the challenge for you and your staff, leaving all of you more time to interact with the guests in front of you.
Dana Barker, Client Engagement Team Director at iResponze, helps hotels establish the distinctive voice for responding to online reviews. Leading a team of responders, Dana has mastered the art of striking the right tone for each hotel. iResponze® partners with hotels by responding to online reviews on their behalf. This collaboration allows staff to focus on what they do best – delivering exceptional guest experiences.