By: Poslovni Turizam
An example of poor response can be seen in responses of two hoteliers on the most prominent portal of this type TripAdvisor: “Guest are lying, why would I do that, knowing that the guest will write a bad review on the internet?” or “What a wonderful review! Writing fiction could be your new career! ”
Responding to written complaints on web portals, accessible to a large number of people, should be different to responses to the criticism at the hotel, where you can solve an awkward situation on the spot. Read on to learn some tips from the consultant Daniel Craig on how to constructively respond to online criticism, with the recommendation that you should try to adjust them to your communication style and the personality of the brand.
First of all, if your guests are continually complaining about the same problems, focus all your energy to get rid of them, before you commit yourself to writing wise answers. There are even tools for managing online reputation, as ReviewPro, which will help you figure out which segment you need to improve the most – staff training, marketing, infrastructure etc.
Regardless of whether the criticism looks like plain jabbering or loud fuss, your answer should not sound like it was a quick shot receptionist stuck in a jam during the registration of guests. Since it represents your brand, the answer should demonstrate the same consideration, the same attention to detail and professionalism that you show in the hotel. Forget the stiffness and formality, marketing phrases or too long explanations. Express gratitude for the feedback and willingness to improve; apologise for the inconvenience and tell how you will try to fix these issues.
Complaints about the price
Whether you run a motel or a luxury resort, sooner or later you will meet with objections to the price. How to respond, not to sound too defensive? For example, you can say, “Our prices are comparable to prices of other hotels in the area and we believe we offer a good value considering our location in the centre and additional facilities at the hotel. Sorry if you do not share our opinion. ”
Typically, such complaints are more related to the perception of value, rather than on the price. If repeated, it is likely that you are really exaggerating the charge too high for what you offer. Identify the problem and try to adapt to the expectations of guests.
There are many things associated with travel – time, money, vacations, ego gratification … so we are sometimes hearing comments like: “John, the front desk manager was terribly unkind, unprofessional and did not want to help.” How to respond to personal criticisms of staff? In this case, equal attention should focus on the internal and external responses.
Internal response is related to how you respond to feedback at the hotel. Personal attacks can be very stressful for the staff, so you should be very careful about them. Listen to John’s side of the story as well and that of colleagues who were present at the controversial situation. If you believe that he acted properly, offer him your support. If he is really unkind to the guests, it’s time to train him better or direct him towards a career change, depending on his behaviour.
External response to the guest who complained about the staff also requires wise action, and does not want to scare away their employees, but also not the guest. Simply apologise and tell the guest that you checked with your employees. If the attack was unwarranted and you decide to support the colleague, say “I am surprised by your comments because it is one of our best employees.”
Circumstances beyond your control
What if the guests are complaining about the noise from near-by bars, the streets or from a nearby construction site? Your answer will affect the feel of future travellers, so be honest. You do not want to cover up the problem, but do not want to scare any potential guests either. Offer options, for example: “There is a rich night life in the city, especially on weekends, attracting many of our guests. However, if you want peace, we are able to offer you a quieter room on the other side of the hotel. ”
Circumstances under your control
Let’s be honest: sometimes you just mess up. The guest who left the bad review could be a lost cause, but the rest of the travellers will wonder whether the same thing could happen to them.
As for the complaints about the cleanliness and neglected room, you can not push the issue under the carpet, but have to do something to solve it. If a complaint is not so common, you can say, “A lot of keeping up to the standards of cleanliness in the hotel has been done, but we’re sorry if we did not meet your expectations during your stay.”
Something similar applies to problems that can not be dismissed so easily, like worn out furniture and outdated curtains. “We are aware that our hotel is ripe for renovation, so we offer reasonable prices, what many of our guests are happy with.” Then ask the owner to invest in the reconstruction of the hotel.
Reviews can be bad because the customer does not spend enough time information. If it’s about a minor detail, do not react. But if it is a larger problem, politely say, “We are sorry, that you did not have all the information. However, room service is available 6-11 pm, seven days a week. ”
If the review is malicious, you can inform the web site owner about it, but it does not guarantee that such reviews will be removed. Therefore write the answer yourself and be very diplomatic: “We inform you that we have not found any proof of your allegations. Because we seriously take into account the experience of our guests, please contact me directly to talk more about the event that has caused you inconvenience. ”
According to TripAdvisor, the longest so far written review contained 9.166 words – the length of a short novel. If something like that happens to you, you do not need to reply to everything, refer only to main points.
Sometimes silence is golden
Every review does not require answer. The travellers read them mainly to learn the experiences of other travellers, so it is unnecessary to constantly engage in conversation. If the review is fair and accurate, you do not need not respond at all. If the reviewer is obviously irrational, exaggerated, leaving offensive comments and fuels hate speech, other travellers will realise what it is about themselves. Focus mostly on responding to those who deserve an apology or additional information and clarification.
Criticism can help you to fix some things, but do not be so negative to criticism, to forget to thank your guests for leaving comments good or great. A simple message like “We are very happy that you enjoyed our hotel and we look forward to meeting you again” can do much for your reputation.