Responding to Bad Yelp Reviews

by | July 22, 2016

How to Improve Your Yelp Rating

We’ve shared before the best way to respond to negative reviews on TripAdvisor and how this affects the way future guests view you online. While TripAdvisor is definitely an important place to focus on your reputation, there are many other review websites that people on-the-go are looking to for advice. One of the most popular platforms to get local reviews and recommendations is Yelp. To boost your Yelp rating, you need to:

  1. Claim your business profile
  2. Provide as much accurate information about your business as possible
  3. Respond to bad Yelp reviews (and good ones, too)

Before we show you how to respond to bad Yelp reviews and help your rating, we want to explain why Yelp matters.

Yelp vs. Other Hotel Review Websites

There’s no denying that TripAdvisor is the most important review website for hotels. When travelers are planning ahead on where to stay, they’re on websites that allow the user to search, gather feedback, and book in one platform. This is where OTAs like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and come into play.

However, you also should be monitoring locally-based review websites to attract walk-in customers. Customers find local reviews either by searching a location-based phrase (such as “hotels near me”) or by using an app that shows what’s near their location. When iPhone users use Siri to search for local businesses, the results are powered by Yelp. Even if the person doesn’t have the Yelp app or isn’t a member of Yelp, they’re still receiving recommendations based on Yelp rankings.

Who Uses Yelp

For many people, Yelp is helpful when they are already nearing their destination and need to make a final decision. Both desktop and mobile versions of Yelp receive an impressive amount of traffic (75 million and 86 million unique monthly visitors, respectively), but mobile users view 10 times more pages than desktop users. They’re looking at a lot of places to find the best one to patronize right now.

When viewing a company’s Yelp business profile, customers will be able to see reviews, tips, and offers as well as business information such as hours, location, and other designations (such as “good for kids” or “free Wi-Fi”). Once companies claim their Yelp business page, they can post special offers, check-in deals, or another call to action. These are all opportunities to set your property apart from the others in the area and entice walk-in guests.

yelp business information

Yelp offers users a mix of crowd-sourced and business-provided details for each listing.

Improving Your Yelp Reputation

One myth surrounding online reviews is that people only write them when they’re upset. According to Yelp, only 21% of reviews are one- and two-star reviews. People who write reviews want to help future customers make the best choice and help out businesses they love. If you go above and beyond, a reviewer will happily share their story.


Yelp hides some reviews, but they can be found at the bottom of a Yelp Business Page.

However, it’s almost inevitable for a bad review to come in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if you only have good reviews, this could look suspicious. Yelp has a secret algorithm that filters certain reviews it thinks aren’t genuine – such as those by users who have only left one review or by users who aren’t active on the website.

Only having 5-star reviews can make Yelp think they aren’t genuine, so don’t be too concerned if someone didn’t enjoy their experience. Just be sure to respond to every bad review and try to fix the problem they experienced.

The best way to have more positive reviews to be shown publicly on your profile is by getting more reviews. Request your free “Find Us on Yelp” sticker and add the Yelp badge to your website.

Responding to Bad Yelp Reviews

In order to respond to bad Yelp reviews, you’ll need a Yelp business account. With this you can either leave a public comment or send a private message to the reviewer. You should use a private message if you need to exchange sensitive information, but we would suggest that you still respond publicly indicating to the user that you will be messaging privately so that other users can see that you’re responsive and handling the situation.

Generally, it is suggested that you respond publicly to negative Yelp reviews where a simple misunderstanding happened or when a legitimate concern is raised. If a reviewer seems particularly irate and is lashing out, respond privately to keep it from escalating further.

No Time to Respond?

respond-resolve-fbOur review response solution helps hoteliers by actively responding to reviews online on a number of popular review websites, including Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and on many OTA websites. Our professional, personalized responses and quick response approval system allow you to spend your time focusing on your guests.

Bad Yelp reviews? If you're a hotelier, local reviews like those on Yelp are vital to encouraging walk-in traffic. Learn how you should handle responding to bad Yelp reviews and improve your Yelp ranking.


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