HOW HOTELSPEAKER RESPONDS TO BAD REVIEWS
Who? How? For Whom?
Who is expressing themselves?
We reply as a representation for the establishment. It’s good to use ‘we’ when we are talking on behalf of the hotel. Your answer will not be considered as a personal retort.
We use a polite and kind tone
The tone must be courteous but not too familiar, particularly for high end / luxury hotels. The reply must contain neither insults, personal attacks, nor irony. We never show any sign of irritation. The reply must show the professionalism of the team.
Every opinion, even negative is useful for the hotelier who wishes to offer the best service possible. We say it.
A reply to convince FUTURE GUESTS
The answer will probably be read by the author of the review. But the most important are the hundreds of visitors who will read it before making a reservation. We have them in mind when replying to the review.
We show in our response that the hotel is concerned about the well being of its guests, that it is attentive to the problems which can happen in order to solve them and to prevent them from happening again.
Guests understand that problems can occur, even in the very best establishments. They do not understand being ignored, or even worse being denied by the management of the hotel.
The Three parts of our response
We write three parts:
1) An introduction which thanks the authors for their comments
2) The body of the message replies to the specific issues raised in the review.
3) A conclusion encouraging the client to return
It must be personalized.
If the pseudonym is a christian name we use ‘Dear David’ or ‘Dear Mike’.
There’s an exception to this rule: If we intend to say that the review is not fair, we don’t employ the christian name, and use instead ‘Dear Sir’, ‘Dear Madam’ or ‘Dear Guest’.
We also never include a pseudonym, for example Dear zyxPat5704. If we don’t know the christian name but we are guessing the sex of the person, we use ‘Dear Sir’, ‘Dear Madam’.
If we don’t know whether or not the person is male or female we use a more neutral address like ‘Dear Guest’ (rather than ‘Dear Client’).
We never use the same mode of address to reply to all of the reviews, that would give the impression that the replies are repetitive and insincere.
We always thank the authors for their feedback.
The main body of the message
We start by replying to the positive elements of the review, celebrating the points that the person has highlighted. “We are happy to read that you have appreciated……..”
If the positive point is relative to the provision of the establishment’s staff, we thank them under their name.
In every instance that we are representing the hotel we must remain modest.
We try to put ourselves in the place of the client and empathize with his problem. We use phrases that show you are sincerely sorry for the problem they have encountered. We must communicate empathy as if we were feeling ourselves the inconvenience that has been experienced by the author of the review.
We read attentively the remarks made. The more extreme they are, the more they can be made use of in your reply.
We only use solid and trustworthy information and don’t pad out the reply with meaningless words.
When there are many criticisms in the review, we reply to those for which we can give a winning argument first.
For example, ‘the bed was very hard’
We may respond, if it’s true: the hotel has mattress toppers to make the mattress more comfortable, we would have been delighted to bring these to you if you had alerted reception of the problem.
For the readers, the problem doesn’t exist anymore and we position ourselves as those who supply an effective solution.
To supply a contradictory explanation to the guest’s opinion isn’t sufficient. To say that our mattresses are good in response to someone who is telling you that he didn’t sleep well can give the impression that the hotelier isn’t interpreted in the experience that the client had.
Therefore we always make sure that you invite the client to alert the reception staff to their problem or to the hotel’s management at the time that it happens.
We say that the hotel is seeking to find alternatives. “We invite our clients to make this type of problem known on site at the time that it happens. We will ensure that we find an immediate solution, straight away, for the well being of our guests. “
We always make sure to use words that sound positive, and never repeat negative words in the reply, (noise, dirty, unwelcoming…).
We present the hotels apologies when there is obviously an error or a mistake made. We add that the information has been communicated and mention when the problem has been solved or when preventative measures have been taken to avoid this problem happening again in the future.
If the problem appears frequently and is perfectly justified, but can’t be resolved, we apologize and go on with another aspect on which to focus.
When it’s about a punctual problem that arose in special circumstances, we should say it. If needed we mention the usual good reviews received about this point.
When a problem can be resolved within a short term, it’s preferable to reply later, “We’ve fixed the problem” rather than straight away, “we’re going to look into the problem.”
When the negative comment includes a claim on the part of the author, we invite them to get in touch with the hotel directly. “We invite you to contact us privately by e-mail or phone to discuss the issue.”
When the comment is extremely negative and in total contradiction with the history of the reviews, we sometimes cast doubt over it’s authenticity, as long as it is done it in a subtle way.
If the client attacks a specific point (location, team, quality of food), which in the previous reviews was praised very highly we don’t hesitate to communicate “that our beach/ restaurant / team” is generally considered as “ one of the most beautiful / one of the best quality / especially warm and welcoming” and we’re sorry that the client didn’t share their opinion.
The conclusion of the response
It must be short and invite the guest to return.
We mention that his observations have been useful and we can also offer a second chance so that you can please him.