In this article, we’ll show you how to handle the reviews you receive from guests, including the best way to reply to a review, both positive and negative, to create optimal resolution and reputation enhancement.
Responding to guests’ reviews
Getting reviews is just the first step in building your property’s online reputation. How you respond to reviews is just as important, since this process represents your ongoing relationship with your guests. Travelers look carefully at the interaction between property and guests, using it to create an image of you. Our research shows that 85% of travelers agree that a thoughtful response to a review improves their impression of a hotel. There are very few things you can do that have an 85% benefit rate. Don’t miss this opportunity!
That said, proper review response is not always simple. You have to be thoughtful, responsive, and conciliatory if necessary. We’ve prepared some basic tips to guide you.
How to best respond to positive reviews
Step 1. Thank the guests.
- Always thank them for their stay and express how much you appreciate them taking the time to write a review. This immediately demonstrates politeness, professionalism, and service-mindedness.
Step 2. Be specific and personal.
- Craft a personalized message to show that you care about each of your guests. Avoid using a standard template reply for every response. Make references to specific items in the review so that it is clear that you read it all the way through.
Step 3. Be timely and keep it short.
- Keep your response short and sweet. Do not over-explain your own position or make excuses, and don’t use the response to promote your property.
Step 4. Emphasize the positives, within reason.
- Repeat specific things guests say they enjoyed at your hotel to further highlight your positive reputation for potential guests, but don’t be excessive in self-praise.
Step 5. Double-check before submitting.
- Take the time to check grammar and spelling and to make sure your tone and message are clear. Double-check the guest’s first name to make sure you spelled it exactly right.
Step 6. Encourage a return visit.
- End your reply by expressing hope to serve the guests again on future travels.
Example of a good response
Thank you for your helpful feedback regarding your stay! We are thrilled to know that you loved the experience. Also, thank you for the kind words about our breakfast and staff service. We put a lot of thought into every dish we serve and are proud of our excellent staff. Your kind words reaffirm the hard work we put in every day.
Thank you for choosing us and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.
Jenny Kim, Guest Services Manager”
Why is this response good?
- Thanking the guest for taking the time to leave a review.
- Reinforcing the compliments that the guest gave to highlight why your property is a great option for other travelers.
- Ending by thanking the guest again and encouraging a return visit.
What should not be included in a response?
- Guest’s full name — just their first name is enough.
- Personal email address and phone number of guest or property.
- Links to other websites.
- Price related references such as room rates.
- Profanity and discriminatory comments.
- OTAs by name
Responding to negative reviews
Unfortunately, not all reviews you’ll get will be positive. Even the best properties can’t provide every guest with the perfect stay. At some point, a guest will complain in writing – and it will be posted on your property page.
But there’s no reason to panic – even bad reviews are an opportunity if handled correctly. But you do need to reply quickly and strategically. Never ignore a negative review!
Why respond to negative reviews?
- Remember — You’re not just replying to just the one guest, but to everyone who reads it, including potential guests.
- Replying shows that you care about feedback and guest satisfaction and have taken steps to ensure this problem won’t happen to the next guest.
- Criticism helps you learn what to improve to deliver better guest experiences.
How to respond to negative reviews?
Step 1. Address the reviewer by name.
- Your guests want to be heard individually and addressed personally.
- Avoid the generic “Dear guest,” or “Dear customer.”
- Use the first name of the guest only, to respect privacy.
Step 2. Begin by thanking the reviewer.
- Express gratitude for taking the time to leave the feedback, even for bad reviews, as it shows the guest and anyone reading that you have a service-minded attitude.
- EXAMPLE: “Thank you for your review. I’m sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience, but we really appreciate you bringing this issue to our attention.”
Step 3. Apologize and sympathize.
- Acknowledge the guest’s bad experience, say sorry, and don’t make excuses for what went wrong.
- Don’t be overly apologetic. Keep your apology sincere and short.
- EXAMPLE: “We apologize that our service did not satisfy your expectations.”
- If possible, make a specific reference to the feelings that the guest expresses. If the guest says the bed was too hard, for example, say “We are sorry that the bed was not able to provide optimal sleep.” This shows that you are listening carefully.
Step 4. Take responsibility but defend your values.
- If the negative experience can be attributed to a specific situation, such as a renovation, you can mention it if the situation has been resolved. However, make sure that you still accept responsibility for the experience.
- Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review — explain what your customers usually experience and reinforce the company’s standard values.
- EXAMPLE: “We’re normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”
Step 5. Make things right and show action
- If a change or renovation has been made that impacts the situation, be sure to mention it.
- EXAMPLE: “We are sorry that you didn’t find the breakfast adequate. We have since added more food options to the breakfast buffet.”
- If no change has been made, you can allude to planned changes.
- EXAMPLE: “We intend to add more equipment to our fitness center in the near future so that guests will not have to queue for their use.”
- If the problem has no clear solution, at the very least let them know how you are investigating their complaint to make sure other guests will not have the same experience. EXAMPLE: “We can’t fix the past, but you have my personal commitment to improve the way our staff serves every customer. Until then, please accept my sincerest apologies on behalf of everyone on the team.”
Step 6. Invite them to come back.
- After you have addressed the issue and explain your action, ask the guest for another chance so you might offer them a better experience next time. Be welcoming and open, but not specific in the invitation.
- EXAMPLE: We hope you’ll visit us again so that we can show you our improvements based on your valuable feedback.”
Please do not include your personal contact information such as phone number and email address in the response.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I edit my response?
Step 1. Open YCS Mobile App
Step 2. Click on the More menu in the bottom right of the app
Step 3. Select Reviews
Step 4. Find and select the review you want to edit
Step 5. Click “Edit this response” on the response you want to edit
Step 6. After editing, the response should be displayed under the “Response pending approval”
You can also edit your response on the YCS Website, but only ones that were rejected. To edit rejected responses:
Step 1. Go to Manage tab and select Reviews
Step 2. Select Rejected responses
Step 3. Click on “View Response“, and edit the response directly on the text box.
Step 4. You can edit the response directly on the “Edit your response” field
Step 5. Once done, click on “Close”
Since Agoda doesn’t allow personal contact information in the response, how can guests further communicate with me?
Guests can communicate with you through the following channels:
- Agoda Customer Messaging System, which allows guests to send a message to you before or after making a booking. You can check the messages both in YCS or in your registered email.
- Guests can contact you directly via call or email from the contact information of your hotel provided on the booking voucher once they have made a booking.
- Guests may reach out to Agoda’s Customer Service Team for any inquiries related to bookings or special requests. Agoda’s customer service team may contact you for further follow-up via phone or email.