During the course of the ongoing pandemic, there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of negative reviews accommodation establishments have been experiencing. This is due to some very pandemic-specific reasons at work. Firstly, travelers who are staying in hotels right now have a higher tolerance for the risk of the virus and are less afraid of the contagion. They therefore don’t understand why the establishment would be over cautious. Secondly, with reduced staff, the staff/guest ratio may not be ideal, therefore resulting in a slip in perfect cleanliness at times, slow room service or certain facilities not being open or available. This can also result in overworked, tired staff not giving 100% to guests when required to do so. Many guests have also become more vocal about sanitation expectations not being met.
We’ve put together a few tips on how to deal with the negative reviews you might receive online:
1. Keep Responding
If you haven’t been big on responding to reviews before, now is the time to get going. When writing a review, make sure you treat it as an advertisement for any potential guests that might come across it. Remember to thank the reviewer for their comments and invite them to return.
2. Keep Calm
Responding to a negative review with aggression and more negativity is not wise. Always stay polite and respond with a valid explanation of why the guest may have experienced disappointment. You may offer some kind of compensation if you feel that your establishment was at fault.
3. Be Aware of Term Violations
Most review platforms have terms in place to protect the establishment and govern to a certain extent what reviewers may and may not say. If you notice any of these terms being violated, or if the wrong establishment is being reviewed on your page, it is best to report them to the platform.
4. Take it Offline
If a reviewer is being particularly aggressive or insulting, it is best to take the conversation offline. Request direct contact details from the reviewer and deal with their concerns in a professional and efficient manner. Dealing with complaints successfully may result in an opinion shift and positivity from an initially disgruntled guest.
There is some good news regarding some of the bigger Online Travel Agents, like Expedia, who will not be including reviews submitted during the pandemic to determine the establishment’s quality score. Let’s hope that some of the others follow suit. In the meantime, keep managing those reviews!