Responding to Reviews
Responding to reviews left by guests is important as it is the final part of their experience at staying in your accommodation. It should be a key part of your business to discuss with your guests any feedback they leave, be it positive or negative. As the old adage goes, if someone has a good experience they will tell somebody, if they have a bad experience they will tell 10! This is even more important now as people can easily access information online about your accommodation and one bad review that has no response from you could harm your reputation. From a marketing perspective responding to reviews is as much about putting out a positive sales message to potential bookers as it is replying to the guest that has already stayed.
Should I respond to every review?
- Yes you should, even it is only to say ‘Thank you for the feedback.’
- If someone has pointed out something negative then address this in your response. For example, ‘We are sorry you found the bedding uncomfortable, we have made some changes based on your comments and now have a selection of pillows and duvets available in the apartment.’
- Leaving a response shows that you are reading peoples reviews and this gives confidence that you are customer focused. It will also encourage other people to leave reviews.
- Your responses are a way of communicating and advertising and thinking carefully about the wording can make the response more important than the initial review. When you reply to a review it shows you are open to communicating with the customer and that you are willing to make changes, if they are needed, on the back of their comments. It also allows you to show off all the things that you do well and the plus points of your accommodation.
When I respond, what should I say?
- Do not make blanket responses; customise each one so that the customers know it is a person and not a computer generated reply. Using the reviewer’s name, if they have supplied it, is a nice personal touch. For example ‘Thanks Gill for reviewing our cottage, so glad you enjoyed the views from the garden.’
- Take your time to read your response, make sure it cannot be taken the wrong way. Be genuine and if you think your response sounds silly or sarcastic then reword it, you do not want things to get out of hand or escalate.
- If things were not what the customer had hoped for, take responsibility where appropriate and own up to any mistakes, people understand when those at fault accept the blame. If the customer was at fault, don’t mention it in your response as ‘the customer is always right’ should be remembered! It is best in these situations not to discuss this online, take it offline as soon as possible so that only you and the customer concerned discuss matters. Going through everything online will only open up the situation to others that were not involved and it could lead to some very negative publicity for you.
- Responding to customers is one way in which you can improve and advertise your accommodation. It’s great to receive good reviews but no one expects to have everything perfect all of the time so to answer and respond to comments shows you are taking feedback on board. Thank the person for responding, giving their feedback and tell them you appreciate them taking the time to post a review.
Points to remember
- Get in to the habit of responding in a timely manner to your reviews as it lets people know that you value the feedback that is posted and that you are paying attention to their views. It will become second nature, like checking your emails!
- Acknowledge what the reviewer is saying and any concerns they may have. It could be that in your accommodation there are areas or items that require some attention, like a faulty DVD player or a broken window lock, that you did not know were issues or would cause concerns to certain people. Receiving this type of feedback allows you to quickly tackle the problem so it does not affect future guests.
- Always remember that your response is being put in a public domain for everyone to read, so remain polite and professional at all times.
- Putting in the effort to responding to reviews allows you to have control on how your property is perceived and gives you the opportunity to advertise all its good points.
- Reviews are a way of communicating with your customers; it is your chance to further market your property.