Putting the Guest First: Crafting Exceptional Responses to Your Hotel’s Online Reviews [Webinar]

by | March 8, 2024


A meaningful strategy for responding to reviews is critical for hoteliers and their properties. Over time, this strategy has evolved from being a nice-to-have to a must-have. But how exactly do you make sure you are responding appropriately and correctly? This webinar will cover the following topics, including: 

  • How online review response has evolved
  • How to resolve issues related to negative guest experiences
  • How to appropriately respond to positive guest feedback 
  • How to celebrate all feedback left by the guest

Within the last couple of years, even months, the world has seen a rise in bot and AI responses via phone calls and online. While this reduces stress and time consumption for the business, it leaves guests and clients further disappointed or angered. Robots and automation tools cannot feel human emotion and therefore inefficiently respond to the problem at hand. As these tools continue to flood the hospitality industry, hoteliers must find ways to put the guest first rather than just checking off a box to complete the task.

Imagine the reviews are not placed online but at your front desk. The guest is providing feedback about their experience at your property face-to-face. How would you expect your front desk team to respond? In the same way you hope they respond appropriately, kindly, and with the guest in mind, the same approach should be applied to online reviews.

Let’s take it a step further. Recently, we have seen hoteliers using reviews to appeal to or respond to the next traveler who may be reading their reviews online. This method puts the original guest to the side, causing them to phase out.

Through this exercise, we will examine a review left by a guest and a response that puts each of these titles at the #1 position: the guest, the next traveler, and checking a box.

Here, the guest left a review highlighting the price and service. With current inflation and staffing shortages, these reviews are more common. Within the property’s response, there is a complete disregard for the guest’s concerns, but rather a sales pitch trying to convince the next traveler to book with them. This way of responding will make the original guest feel dismissed and their experience unimportant.

Checking a box off first and putting the guest last comes across as an AI or bot response. It is effortless to respond to reviews if you use the same cookie-cutter approach or have a robot answer them. But, it shows the guest you don’t care about their issue, how you will solve it, or show future guests you care.

Let’s examine how our professional response writers responded to the review by putting the guest first. No matter what the review says, always thank them for taking the time to leave a review. Acknowledging every aspect of a review lets the guest know you have fully read their concerns and want to make an effort to improve for the future. Although the hotel is apologizing for their high prices, they also justify why that is. Future guests will most likely respect their upfront honesty and trust them more. Remind them that their experience was not the norm and invite them to give you another chance.

Positive Online Review Keys

  • Let the guest know you are happy they stayed with your hotel.
  • Acknowledge each thing the guest mentioned.
  • Thank them for the review and show excitement for them to revisit you.

Average Online Review Keys

  • Avoid scripted or “AI” responses.
  • Thank the guest for leaving a review.
  • Prioritize what the guest has mentioned in their review.
  • Give solutions to the problem at hand – offer genuine sincerity and emotion.
  • Ask them to give you another chance. 

Reviews from your guests may only sometimes be posted on public forums. Post-stay surveys are just as important, if not more, to respond to. Because the public cannot see the reviews or responses, you can directly interact with the guest by name and take further action, if needed, in handling their situation. Guests take time out of their day to complete surveys, and the last thing they want is to receive an automated-sounding response such as the one above.

Genuine sincerity, feeling, and emotion are the keys to a successful review response. Reassure the guest that this was a one-time incident and will be handled internally with specific action items. Request that the guest give you another chance next time they are in the area. Although you cannot respond to these for the next traveler, you can complete the action items so that a future guest does not experience the same thing and leave a public-facing review.

Who would you trust to handle the situation if these reviews were verbally communicated at your front desk? Are you willing to use automated tools to communicate with the guest or outsource to third-party vendors?

Travel Media Group wants to be a collaborative and trustworthy partner to help you do what you do best: interact with guests offline while our professional response team interacts with guests online. TMG conducted a survey that asked our hotel partners how helpful our Respond & Resolve digital solution has been for them. That data explains how the solution allows them more time to handle in-person tasks and reduces stress.

Learn more about the Respond & Resolve™ solution.