It’s never thrilling to get negative feedback from your guests, but it’s important to view the complaints from a different perspective. Any feedback, even if it’s not positive, is needed in order to gauge whether what you’re offering is right for your target audience. However, many hotels tend to stay away from the complaints, allowing them to go unnoticed.

Social media is great for customers who want to discuss a bad experience they had at a business, but the complaints come too late for the business to correct the issue for that customer. What makes it even worse: instead of just informing the hotel of the problem, now the whole world knows. To prevent this, we need to do what we can to promote direct feedback; that way we can resolve the issue right then and there. What can we do about feedback that we never actually hear about?

Prevention is key. Ensure that your guests feel comfortable enough to provide you with feedback whenever they’d like to. Face-to-face feedback is better than other types of feedback; this way you can’t fix any problems in a timely manner. You should also keep an eye out for any signs that a guest isn’t enjoying his or her stay Make sure your guests feel comfortable to give feedback at every opportunity.

If you know there’s something wrong, inform your guests before it becomes a problem. Offer alternatives and keep them updated about the situation. For example, if a room won’t be ready, tell your guest, offer an option to make the best use of the waiting time and give the expected time the room will be ready.

Talk to your guests. You can build trust and loyalty with your guests by being present in your hotel and making contact with guests. Once you’ve established trust, you have a much better chance of hearing feedback firsthand. Encourage your guests to interact more with your guests as well. Make sure they have training to know how to ask for feedback and how to deal with it positively, whether it’s good or bad.

Know what to ask. Without pressuring your guests, ask them open-ended questions, such as “how would you rate”, “how could we improve on “, or “what did you like most about”. If you’ve established the trust as discussed earlier, this should be easily placed into conversation without putting the guest on the spot.

Ask your guests for suggestions on improving your hotel operations and then actually take it into consideration. Update your guest with changes you’ve made to show that you listened. Even if you don’t necessarily agree with feedback, you should still find out what led to that feedback to find the root of the problem.

Online reviews. Although they can be unpleasant at times, online reviews actually do influence customers. Guests who have had a negative experience are more likely to post an online review than those who have had a positive experience. You can try and balance out the reviews by encouraging your guests to post reviews about their positive experiences.

What advice do you have for handling guest complaints? As your complete purchasing solution for food & beverage procurement, the Best Western MarketPlace is your source of the latest news, trends, tips and tricks for improving your hotel operations. Download and read our Enrollment Guide to learn more about how the Best Western MarketPlace can help you.