How Quickly Should I Respond to Reviews?
As guest reviews continue to define a hotel’s reputation, it is apparent that prioritizing review response time can lead to a significant increase in the overall score. When a guest leaves a review on a review site like Google Reviews or TripAdvisor, responding promptly can lead to a quicker resolution for dissatisfied guests or solidify guest loyalty for satisfied travelers. Industry best practices follow a 24-48 hour guideline for the preferred time to respond to guests online. There are several topics to consider regarding how quickly you should respond to online guest reviews, such as:
- Brand Standards
- Guest Expectations
- Hotel Reputation
- Review Response Terminology
Adhering to Brand Standards:
When responding to travelers online, the first aspect to think about is brand standards. Many hoteliers are under strict policies enforced by a larger hotel company that may already state how frequently and quickly hotel operators need to respond to reviews. Some prominent hotel brands mandate responses to only low-score reviews. However, responding to all reviews as often as possible is strongly recommended. If your properties are a part of this group, following these instructions will set an excellent example of what to do. However, if you truly desire to achieve a strong online reputation and capture more bookings, aiming for a 24-hour or less response time will be more impactful and the best option in the long run.
Meeting Guest Expectations:
The next objective of having timely responses is to meet and exceed the traveler’s expectations. As always, prioritizing the guest’s needs is of utmost importance, and guests typically do not even expect a response from hotels in the first 24 hours after they check out. That being said, if you can deliver a response in that time frame, you will surpass their expectations and ultimately acquire their most accurate feedback. Guests have the most reliable input right after checkout when information is fresh and available for recall. Knowing this and capitalizing on it will allow you to refine hotel operations and grow your online community.
Effect on Your Hotel Reputation:
Reputation management is a vital component of your hotel operations. Negative and positive reviews can have immediate and long-term effects on your occupancy. Additionally, it is critical to understand the ROI of responding to reviews and how it relates to your hotel’s reputation. Determining the most effective method to utilize to maximize this return will be a major contributor to the overall impact on your online reputation, for better or worse. The perception that travelers have about your properties will alter your reputation because their perception of your hotels must align with their expectations. If these two components fail to connect, then it will result in decreased occupancy and more dissatisfied guests.
Understanding Review Response Times: Industry Terminology
You may wonder why there is sometimes a lag between when you submit a response and when it appears online. Or, you may need clarification when you receive a notification of a review, but the time it was written was hours earlier. While a few hours may not seem like a big deal at first, it may have an impact on your ability to respond within an ideal response time of 24-48 hours.
Hotel review sites and OTA hotel sites typically inspect all submitted content to ensure any inappropriate content is not posted publicly. This may account for a lag in publication times. When we discuss hotel reviews and their related responses, it’s essential to understand OTA and TripAdvisor hotel terminology.
- Review Collection Date: The date that the review was written
- Review Publish Date: The date that the review is published
- Response Submit Date: The date that a response is submitted to the website
- Response Publish Date: The date that a response is published
Due to the individual processes of review websites, there may be delays throughout this timeline. When your review response appears online can be unpredictable.
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While staffing shortages remain a prevalent struggle for the hotel industry, it is imperative to respond to guest reviews consistently. With so much activity taking place at the property level, it can be challenging to find the means to sit down and respond to online reviews.
With the TMG Respond & Resolve digital solution, it has become easier than ever to maintain hotel & brand standards on the property and online with little to no effort.
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