Online Reviews Can Help Or Hinder Your Number Of Bookings
If I were to ask 100 hospitality owners what their biggest fear is in regards to running their business, the answer would be online reviews. Fortunately, I have worked on all three sides of this subject:
- Three years at Yelp (the biggest online review website in the world).
- Running a hospitality business.
- Being the customer leaving a review.
Funnily enough, I actually enjoy seeing bad reviews now. They give me a chance to respond and rectify the situation. (Note: I am fully aware I am a freak of nature on this subject).
I remember when I first joined the family business at The Grainary. My parents were flipping out over a single bad review. We got a negative comment about how the breakfast was made and before you knew it, pans were being thrown out and replaced! All over one negative Nancy. ?
This is important to stress because, most likely, those of you reading need to hear this:
YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE!
Sorry to shout, but it needs to be emphasized. Maybe it is a British mentality, but we have a habit of focusing on the negatives instead of the positives. If out of 100 reviews, 90 of them are five-star, stunning reviews, we seem to focus on the 10 that are not. We ignore the majority and hone in on the minority.
Why do we do online reviews? Comment below, I would love to know.
I see it all the time, especially on TripAdvisor. A property responds to a five-star review with two words “Thank you”. THAT’S IT. Yet, a one-star review comes in, and it's novel-writing time! Why not focus more on the guest who has taken their time to write something positive?
My first bit of advice on this subject: Respond to everyone.
My second bit of advice on this subject: Take emotion out of the equation.
Be warned: 83% of all hotel bookings are finalized by a review check on your property. Your potential guests want to know what previous guests are saying about you, and more importantly, what you are saying back.
Bookings are won and lost because of online reviews.
When a bad review comes in, take the time to read what they have to say. If you are in a smaller property, there is a good chance you will know exactly who this guest is.
The third bit of advice: When responding to the guest, mention them by name.
The fourth bit of advice: Do not write an essay. Keep it simple and to the point.
Mention that you are sorry to read that they have not had the best experience and you will focus on fixing the issues straight away. (Note: Even if you aren’t going to, it is important to mention this, as a potential guest is reading this to check that you know about the situation and that you are going to deal with this).
At this point, if the review is really bad, then I would leave it at that and then call the guest directly.
If they have had a one-star-rated, shockingly bad stay at your property, you need to deal with the complaint directly (if you haven’t already). 9 out of 10 times that I have done this, there has been an amicable solution and the person who has left the review has eventually taken it down.
What you've got to remember is we are all human. We work off instinct. In the past, a guest would come up and give you a review in person. Now, they can stay silent and then vent their anger when they get online. (I hate that). When you call them up, they suddenly revert back to the polite person they were when they were stood in front of you handing back their keys at the end of the stay saying “how nice the place was.” ?
My final bit of advice is this: If you can’t take the emotion out when responding to reviews, then you need to hire someone who can.
When I created Boostly, I made my online reputation a key area of focus. You should have this mentality too.
If you found this blog helpful and interesting, check out this post: 4 Reasons Why You Should List Your Property On Airbnb.