6 Tips for Managing A Negative Hotel Review

By Tema Frank CEO, Frank Reactions | February 04, 2018

You get to work, coffee in hand, fire up Trip Advisor to see if any new reviews of your property have come in. There, amid all the 4 and 5 star glowing reviews, you see a 1 star from a grumpy, impossible-to-please recent guest. It’s going to pull your average down, and you won’t show up as high in the rankings.

Even worse, the customer has also Tweeted about how upset he was with your service, bashed you on Yelp, and told his friends and followers on Facebook. You start to panic. It’s the 2nd bad review in a week; you have to contain the damage!  

What Should You Do?

The proprietors of the Union Street Guest House decided to fight fire with fire: they wrote into the fine print in their contract that customers would be charged $500 for bad reviews. They felt that the reviews were unfair, and that customers shouldn’t be able to slander them in this way.

Legally, they may have been right, but the approach they took killed their business. The first reviewer they tried to ding went public, and a media uproar ensued. The owner tried to claim the fine was a joke, but the evidence didn't support his claim, and it came way too late to save the business.

In fact, thanks to the number of hoteliers and restaurant owners trying to fine or sue people over bad reviews, the US House of Representatives last year passed the Consumer Review Fairness Act, which makes it illegal for businesses to force customers to sign agreements giving up their rights to make honest negative statements. It also makes it illegal to sue them or to threaten harm for honest negative reviews.

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Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.