If you found a problem with your hotel room and called the front desk only to be told there is now time for you, you would find this unacceptable, right? Exactly. Though this particular scenario probably never happens, many hoteliers are actually mimicking this situation by ignoring the guest feedback on review sites daily.
While an online complaint doesn’t have the real-time exchange of a phone call or face-to-face communication, it is still direct feedback from a paying guest at your hotel. The person writing is an existing or former customer who is seeking answers, an apology or someone to be held responsible.
The major difference between real-time and digital interactions is that countless other travelers looking for a place to book their stay can view the latter time and time again, increasing its influence on their decision.
Not to say that every hotelier fails to embrace the power of online reviews. Many believe that ignoring an online complaint is similar to turning your back on a guest who walks up to you on the property. Neither are acceptable practices.
Those who neglect the online complaints of guests often use time constraints as an excuse, claiming there isn’t enough time to respond to every review on every website. However, the average full-service hotel only receives one online review per day, which sounds fairly reasonable, especially if you are able to delegate. Pass the responsibility of responding to online complaints to a staff member and have them respond to the guest directly. Have the associate who is responsible for an online complaint respond to the customer directly and avoid using scripted responses. Messages to guests should be sincere and consistent with the specific voice of the hotel.
Be sure to respond to both good and bad responses, rather than focusing on negative comments alone. Reinforce those positive comments with a response like, “We’re so glad you had a great time at our hotel!”
You could also use feedback to keep your staff motivated and morale up. Guests who leave reviews will often mention a particular associate’s name. By stating these comments in team meetings you are reinforcing good behavior, as well as correcting and deterring bad behavior.
Social media marketing is huge in today’s society and influences the choices of travelers greatly, so keeping up with guest reviews and responding in a friendly, effective, and timely manner can make the difference between a loyal guest and one who never visits your establishment again. The Best Western MarketPlace strives to improve the operations of your hotel not only through effective procurement strategies, but also with the latest news, trends, and advice for hoteliers. Download and read our Enrollment Guide to learn more about the Best Western MarketPlace and how it can benefit your business.