In the hospitality world, nothing speaks louder than word-of-mouth, therefore, avoiding getting negative guest remarks and reviews should be a priority for hospitality industry. A single review can either make or mar your reputation. Customer reviews have the power to influence the choice of thousands of people. So, before the bad reviews strike, take note of these tips to avoid negative reviews online. Here’s how…
Before the internet began to rule our lives, a bad review from a guest was a no big deal for any hotelier. But in today's world where everyone is so well connected, a single negative review from guests on travel portals has the potential to seriously damage a hotel’s reputation and business.
Thanks to the easy access to social media, online travel agents and online review sites, nothing goes unnoticed, especially negative customer reviews. The short attention spans and expectations of on-the-spot solutions can work against your business if you fail to deliver. Around 93% of travellers bank on online reviews. Customer reviews have the power to influence the choice of thousands of people.
It’s a universal truth that every customer wants to be heard and they often need to voice their frustration when their expectations are not met. According to studies, 93% travellers say their hotel booking decisions are based on online reviews while 96% of hotels say reviews are important for bookings. It has also been observed that 47% of guests abandon plans to stay in a hotel after reading negative reviews about it. Therefore, it becomes even more important for hotels to take utmost care in saving their reputation.
So, how can hotels keep guests from airing their grievances online when something goes wrong? Here’s a list of tips to help you sail smooth.
In the hotel industry, no matter how much you are on top of your game, and how hard you try, sometimes things simply do not go as planned. Therefore, instead of waiting for the guest to post his experience and reviews online, many hotels are now actively seeking out the opinion and feed backs of their guests. Since feed backs are sent through emails, it helps hotels to fix any grievances before they go public.
Also, the guest feedback list can be customized to serve the hotel’s needs. For instance, if a guest voice out an issue in a feedback, the hotel staff can follow-up by asking for more detailed feedback, such approach of the hotel conveys a positive message that it cares.
In fact, hotels should also send customized feedback questions and surveys to key segments such as corporate guests, meeting attendees and loyalty members, all of whom have different needs and expectations. This exercise not only allows hotels to understand the needs of their guests, but also help them to improve and act accordingly. Such specific and valuable feed backs will help hotels improve and prevent any issues from occurring.
Just like no individual is alike, there is no guarantee the guest won’t take to internet to vent out criticism until it’s too late to fix things. Therefore, in order to get a positive guest approach from the beginning, hotel staff should keep following up with guests every now and then by asking: “Hope you are having a pleasant stay. Is there anything can we do to make your stay even better?’
Evaluate the need for follow up. Giving your guests attention makes them feel special while asking questions helps to bring up their issues and resolve them before they get worse. Such face-to-face encounters between hotel staff and guests builds positive vibes and also helps in maintaining a perfect harmony.
Further, hotels may even extend its special touch of hospitality by communicating with guests via text or mail by asking them to rate their stay. In fact, communication can begin right from the day the hotel receives the booking. Staying in touch with the guests gives them an impression of being treated as special and thus results into positive reviews. So, take your time and show that you are really interested in what they have to say.
Be Honest and Manage Guest Expectations
Exceeding your guest's expectations is a great way to stay prominent in this competitive industry. But many times, hoteliers end up promising more than they can deliver and get trapped in the process, making themselves look fake or dishonest in the eyes of the guests. Such incidents result into bad reviews been posted online.
Although, hotels are usually quoted for staff going above and beyond to fix a guest’s problem and as the saying goes ‘To err is human’, even the most conscientious staff can make a grave error.
Therefore, instead of going overboard, be honest with your guests. Simply anticipating and fulfilling your guest's expectations will generate a good number of positive reviews. Although it might be easily said than done, but if the hotel staff manages to pull it off, guests will appreciate your hospitality and services and will be far more likely to post positive reviews. Who knows, you may even get a loyal customer for life. Also, if a guest reports of poor experience, simply apologies, don’t argue. Remember, an apology is not an admission of guilt. It’s a polite way to express empathy for not meeting your guest's expectations.
So, what if you have already received a negative review? In case you are wondering how to deal with the negative remark, first, take a deep breath. The industry experts’ advice that hoteliers should respond to every negative online review with a positive approach. Because no matter how great your staff and services are, a hotel is bound to get bad reviews every once in a while.
Honestly, it is not possible to please every single guest every single time. Mistakes do happen, but the important thing is how quickly those mistakes are resolved and sorted out.