How to Handle Negative Feedback: 5 Ways to Respond to Negative Hotel Reviews

In the hospitality industry, your bottom line relies on your reputation. And your reputation mainly depends on good word-of-mouth. However, negative hotel reviews are inevitable. No matter how good your service is, an unhappy guest will come along at a certain point and write a bad hotel review.

How you respond to negative hotel reviews matters more than many people think. Harvard Business School research shows that even a difference of one star in ratings can result in a 9% difference in revenue.

Today, we’re going to talk about negative hotel reviews, see their impact on current and future guests, and explore how to respond to them.

The Impact of a Hotel Review

Picture this: you run a hotel with no reviews.

No negative reviews.

No positive reviews.

Not even neutral reviews. Guests come and go, leaving no trace of feedback. You have no insight into their experiences, whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied.

Would they return? Would they recommend your hotel to others? These questions remain unanswered, and it’s like having a half-baked fortune cookie.

While no one has ever been excited about bad hotel reviews, it’s undeniable that a complete lack of reviews would look strange to potential customers. The significance of guest reviews cannot be overstated.

These statistics reveal their impact:

  • A staggering 93% of people check hotel reviews before making a booking.
  • Furthermore, 33% of guests are reluctant to book a hotel with no reviews.

Some people would argue that negative hotel reviews may help your business seem more real. Research we have indicates that businesses with 5.0-star ratings and too many positive reviews are often perceived as fake by consumers.

If that wasn’t compelling enough, there are more reasons why online hotel reviews are crucial for your property:

Improve Your Hotel’s Online Ranking and Visibility

In today’s content-driven business landscape, positive feedback holds substantial value for your hotel. They contribute to your online ranking and visibility. Reviews often appear at the top of Google searches, leading to improved rankings and increased awareness. More visibility translates to higher bookings and revenue for your hotel.

Know Where You Stand and Improve

Guest reviews serve as a compass for your hotel’s performance. They provide valuable insights into your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to identify areas for improvement. By consistently monitoring reviews, you can enhance your service, operations, and management, ensuring a better experience for future guests.

Influence Booking Decisions

It’s no secret that online reviews heavily influence purchasing decisions. Studies indicate that nearly 70% of people are swayed by reviews when making a booking. Your potential customers rely on the experiences shared by others to make informed choices. By nurturing a positive review culture, you can increase the likelihood of securing bookings.

The Impact of Bad Hotel Reviews on Online Reputation

So, how do negative online reviews impact your hotel? Is it worth investing time in trying to respond to negative hotel reviews? Are bad reviews so bad?

The answers to these questions are: negatively; yes, and definitely yes.

A recent study by Barclays estimated that the hotel sector could earn an additional $4 billion over the next decade if it pays closer attention to online reviews. Just by enticing guests to write reviews on social media and sites like TripAdvisor, hotel managers could make billions for their employer.

Given these compelling reasons and statistics, it’s essential to encourage travelers to leave reviews after their stay actively. These reviews contribute valuable, unique, and helpful content that enhances your brand’s reputation.

Should Hotels Respond to Negative Online Reviews?

When you receive a negative hotel review, response matters. When a negative review is published, it becomes visible to everyone and anyone looking up your hotel. As a hotel manager, your responses to reviews showcase your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to guest feedback.

Here are further reasons why responding to hotel reviews, especially negative ones, is crucial:

Display Excellent Customer Service

When you go out of your way to respond to negative hotel reviews, you show that you listen and genuinely care about your guests. In today’s social media-driven world, individuals want to be heard and acknowledged. Potential guest is more likely to choose your property if they see your active engagement with reviews, signaling your dedication to customer service.

Build Relationships and Maintain Reputation

Making an effort to respond to negative reviews will leave an impression on every guest. For 89% of people consider reviews as an essential resource in making purchasing decisions. By answering bad reviews, you can establish a connection and increase the likelihood of repeat visits and recommendations. Your response showcases your attentiveness.

Provide Resolution and Problem-Solving

Responding to negative reviews allows you to address guests’ concerns and provide solutions. It’s an opportunity to showcase your problem-solving skills and willingness to make things right. By offering genuine apologies, explanations, and compensatory measures when appropriate, you can turn a negative experience into a positive one and potentially regain the trust and loyalty of the reviewer.

Manage Online Reputation

Online reputation management is crucial in today’s digital age. By actively responding to negative reviews, you can mitigate any potential damage to your hotel’s reputation. Potential guests who come across negative reviews will also see your proactive efforts to address the issues raised, which can help alleviate their concerns and provide reassurance.

Types of Negative Hotel Reviews and How to Handle Them

Negative hotel reviews can come in various forms, each requiring a tailored response to address the specific concerns raised. Here are five common types of negative reviews and strategies for handling them effectively:

1. Complaints about Service

One of the most common forms of a negative hotel review involves complaints about the service provided. Customers often voice their discontent regarding impolite employees, delays in response, or unprofessional conduct. When addressing these negative reviews, it is crucial to exhibit understanding and a sincere dedication to resolving the problems.

Negative Review Example: “The staff at the hotel was extremely rude and unhelpful. They made me feel unwelcome throughout my stay.”

Response Example: “Dear [Guest Name], thank you for sharing your feedback. We sincerely apologize for the behavior you experienced from our staff. We strive to provide exceptional service, and we regret that we fell short of your expectations. Your concerns will be addressed with our team to ensure that such incidents are not repeated. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your experience further, so please feel free to contact our management at [contact information]. We hope to have the chance to make it up to you in the future. Warm regards, [Your Name], [Hotel Name] Management.”

2. Cleanliness Problems

We all know that cleanliness is crucial in hotels, and complaints about it are pretty common. It’s not just about keeping things tidy; it’s also about making guests feel comfortable. So, reassure your current and potential guests that cleanliness is your top priority. Take extra measures to step up your game in this department.

Negative Review Example: “The room I stayed in was filthy, with stained carpets and dirty linens. It was evident that the housekeeping staff had not properly cleaned before my arrival.”

Response Example: “Dear [Guest Name], thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We apologize for the inconvenience you experienced due to the cleanliness issues in your room. This does not reflect our usual standards, and we take your feedback seriously. Our housekeeping team will be informed, and immediate steps will be taken to rectify the situation and ensure thorough cleaning procedures are followed. We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your experience further, so please get in touch with our management at [contact information]. Your satisfaction is of utmost importance to us, and we hope to regain your trust on a future visit. Sincerely, [Your Name], [Hotel Name] Management.”

3. Hotel Problems

We’re all human, and mistakes happen, even in hotels. Whether it’s a mix-up with a food order, a hiccup with a third-party booking provider, or simply a miscommunication with a guest, it’s important to address the problem promptly. Reach out directly to the guest to resolve the issue. Once everything is sorted out, craft a response that lets the guest know the problem has been solved and informs the wider audience.

Negative Review Example: “The fitness center was poorly equipped, and the machines were outdated and not functioning properly. It was impossible to have a satisfactory workout.”

Response Example: “Dear [Guest Name], thank you for sharing your feedback about our fitness center. We apologize for the inconvenience you experienced during your workout. Maintaining a well-equipped facility is important to us, and we appreciate your comments. We are currently updating our fitness equipment to ensure a more enjoyable experience for our guests. We hope that you will give us another opportunity to provide you with an improved stay. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to make your future visit more comfortable. Warm regards, [Your Name], [Hotel Name] Management.”

4. Noise or Disturbance Complaints

Noise problems can be a real headache; sometimes, you can’t fully control them. Whether it’s due to a busy road nearby, a lively club in the area, or even noisy neighbors in the hotel, guests often complain about it. When addressing these reviews, it’s crucial to express understanding and outline the steps to minimize disturbances. Here’s an example:

Negative Review Example: “I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep due to the constant noise coming from the adjacent rooms. The thin walls did not provide adequate sound insulation.”

Response Example: “Dear [Guest Name], thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the noise issues you encountered during your stay. We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the disturbances from neighboring rooms. We understand the importance of a peaceful environment for our guests and are actively working on improving sound insulation throughout the property. We value your feedback, and it will assist us in implementing measures to enhance our guests’ comfort. We would love the opportunity to provide you with a more relaxing experience in the future. Kind regards, [Your Name], [Hotel Name] Management.”

5. Billing or Reservation Problems

Negative reviews may also arise from billing discrepancies, reservation issues, or problems with the overall booking process. When responding to these reviews, it’s essential to show a willingness to resolve the problem promptly and efficiently.

Negative Review Example: “I was charged for an extra night that I did not stay at the hotel, and despite contacting the staff multiple times, the issue remains unresolved.”

Response Example: “Dear [Guest Name], thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We sincerely apologize for the billing discrepancy and the inconvenience it has caused you. We understand the frustration you must feel, and we are committed to rectifying this issue promptly. Our management team has been notified, and they will personally investigate the matter to ensure a swift resolution. We will contact you directly to gather more information and provide a suitable resolution. We value your patronage and hope to restore your faith in our services. Best regards, [Your Name], [Hotel Name] Management.”

Use HelloShift to Increase Guest Satisfaction

The significance of online reviews cannot be overstated, as they greatly impact a hotel’s reputation, visibility, and booking decisions.

Actively encouraging guests to leave reviews and promptly responding to feedback demonstrate a commitment to excellent customer service.

By providing responses to negative reviews, hotels can resolve issues, build relationships, and mitigate potential damage to their reputation. Utilizing tools like HelloShift can further assist hotels in preventing negative reviews by enhancing guest satisfaction.

HelloShift allows you to coordinate everyone from the front desk receptionist to the general manager, take immediate action and contact a guest after a bad review, and provide an overall positive experience for travelers. 

Hotel guests receive automated texts powered by AI and are empowered with the convenience of self-service via digital hotel guidebook. Hotel teams work together with notes, tasks, and checklist software for hotels. Uptodate room status via Housekeeper mobile app.

Transform your hotel into a digital hotel. Enable guests to text your hotel and pre-checkin, empower staff with staff collaboration, and schedule room cleaning efficiently.

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