Why Responding to Guest Reviews Is More Vital Than Ever
Have you ever considered the impact that just one guest review and your response can make on your online reputation and market share?
Guest reviews have never been more important or influential. In the wake of COVID-19, future guests are reading reviews more often than ever before. Over 75% of travelers say they would not book a hotel without reading comments from previous guests. So, an excellent online reputation is a must for hotels both during and after the pandemic.
All indications are that a transition toward normalcy will most likely happen by mid-year 2021. Future travelers may feel more comfortable once this transition occurs, although guest reviews and management responses will still be a big factor in their stay decision. As you plan your hotel's road to recovery, consider this - reviews are often a traveler's first link to connecting with your hotel and the first deciding factor in moving to a competitor.
What are future travelers looking for when they access your reviews?
Future travelers are looking for the guest experience that hotel reviews paint. Quantity, recency, quality, and ratings are all considerations, and management responses to reviews are critical factors in their decision process. A recent TripAdvisor article states that 'Responding to reviews clearly demonstrates — to both former and prospective guests — that you are interested in feedback, and that you take customer service seriously." In fact, 90% of potential guests believe a hotel that responds to reviews cares more about its customers, and their responses offer insight into how they will be treated as a guest.
Positive and Negative Reviews – The Importance of Responding to Both
Have you ever heard this saying? "No response is a response. And it's a powerful one.” Now, that’s an accurate phrase for all communications! According to Expedia Group, 80% of travelers believe that if hotels do not respond to negative property reviews, the review must be truthful. Management responses to reviews indicate that your past guests' concerns are being addressed, and 87% of travelers agree that a thoughtful response to a bad review improved their impression of the property. And don’t ignore your positive reviews - they should always be acknowledged and not taken for granted. After all, these are the guests who love your hotel, will tell their colleagues, friends, and family, and will stay with you again.
Elements of a Great Response During Covid-19 Environment
As we all know, guest sentiments and behaviors have changed during the pandemic environment, and understandably so. It’s no surprise that the most influential reviews as those about room cleanliness and the hotel's overall condition. Specifically, what policies and safety precautions are in place, and what hotels are doing to ensure their comfort. Responding to both positive and negative reviews is your opportunity to give prospective guests the confidence they need to book your property.
Elements of a Great Response
- Respond to reviews courteously, professionally, and promptly
- Address the reviewer by name
- Say "Thank You" at the beginning and end
- Show gratitude for both positive and negative reviews
- Personalize the response; be authentic
- Refer to positive comments for future guests to see
- Address the specific issues in the review
- Demonstrate sensitivity and attention to detail
- Convey measures you are taking to ensure a safe stay
- Apologize for problems or dissatisfaction
- Be understanding of dissatisfaction about for limited services
- Provide reasons why amenities are closed, i.e., local ordinance
- Assure the guest that the hotel will take action
- Invite the guest to return
- Include the responder's name for follow-up
- Keep it brief, simple, and easy to read
- Always - proofread for accuracy, spelling, and grammar
Responding to guest reviews takes time. So does ensuring your guests have a great experience. With travel resuming and more guests in house, finding the time to respond to all your reviews may be challenging. Because we understand how important your online reputation is to your hotel’s recovery, the iResponze team is happy to help. Partnering with hotels to assist with review responding is what we do, and we’d love the opportunity to take care of you while you’re taking care of your guests.
Client Success Director