2. Better understanding of what your customers are looking for: When you as a hotel or restaurant manager read the reviews of your business, you can gain a better understanding of what your customers look for in a hotel or restaurant. You can see what things you are doing well, and what potential holes you have in your customer service and business. If several people are making the same complaint, you will know what can be improved upon, or perhaps get an idea of a new service that could be offered.
3. Improve your online presence: Having your place of business found online can be tough, particularly for smaller venues. Having your name mentioned in reviews gives your hospitality business more keywords, allowing your place to be found more easily in a potential customer’s online search. More keywords means that your place on the search list moves up, increasing your chances at being seen sooner.
4. Free marketing/advertising: Let’s face it. Having people give positive reviews means other people will read those reviews and come through your doors, and you don’t have to pay a cent for it! Word of mouth is one of the best free advertising you can hope for because of the trust that people put in reviews and the honest opinions of others.
5. Giving customers a voice creates loyalty: When a customer has a poor experience and they see the place of business make the effort to improve in that area and respond to their concerns, it creates customer loyalty because they were given a voice and heard. Both current customers and potential customers will be drawn to a company that listens to them and strives to make improvements based on their experiences.
Anyone who has read reviews has likely come across some scathing and heated reviews among the positive ones. But what does a business do when they come across a blistering review that shreds their establishment? While some bad reviews are constructive in their nature and can be used to aid the property in improving itself, there are others that are less about the property and more about the nature of the one writing the review.
1. Handling a bad review badly: The Hibiscus Beach Resort and Spa in Mauritius left more than one customer horrified with the property.
This reviewer gave it a 1 out of 5 and wrote: “I was meant to stay here for 14 nights, but on the first night when I went to have my dinner as part of the full board package, I noticed the food was uncovered and was infested with insects everywhere. I left after the first night and went to another hotel. This hotel shouldn’t even be operating. If you care about your health, don’t book this hotel.”
The Management’s response could have been done better, though they are to be commended for giving a response at all. Management wrote “I would like to thank you for taking your precious time to write these few lines which has not been convenient to you. All your complaints were taken into consideration and as we have mentioned to you, due to heavy rainfall and tropical climate, flies, mosquitoes , and insects share the nature, but we never received any complaints from any other guests. We have met during your stay and you have mentioned that you were expecting a five star hotel service.”
It begins well, doesn’t it? Professional and courteous, and then they begin to compare this guest’s experience to that of others, which now looks like management is dismissing this complaint because they have not received others like it. Moving into the comment about expecting Five Star Hotel Service at this property then comes across to readers as though the customer should have expected to find insects in their food because this is not a five star hotel.
This manager has a perfect opportunity to respond to this complaint by saying “thank you for your review. We understand the insects are a problem and are now taking the necessary steps to keep the food covered to prevent this from happening again.” The customer would have their voice heard and the resort would then gain new customers who are relieved to not have to worry about finding insects in their food. You can read the review here.
2. Handling a bad review well: The Ramada Inn in Saskatoon received a 1 out of 5 star review from someone who wrote “Too bad there wasn’t a ranking worse than terrible.
If you plan to stay here, don’t expect to sleep. Front desk claims there was nothing they could do about music roaring or the rowdy patrons screaming in the parking lot all night long. Non-smoking room smelled of smoke. Waited half an hour for a towel to be delivered to the pool. Had to call hotel manager to get it done. Room service left dishes in the hallway all day. Front desk man was rude and obnoxious. Left room in the middle on the night for one down the road.” The management responded to this bad review quickly by writing “I would personally like to apologize for the series of unfortunate incidences that you experienced during your stay with us. We continually try to do our very best for all our guests, but unfortunately, sometimes we do fail. I will look into each issue that you have noted, in an attempt to correct and improve our hotel policies.”
There was an acknowledgment of the issues and this person’s complaint and interestingly, and acknowledgment of the company’s failure to provide the best experience for their customer. Attempting to absolve your company of any blame is never the best way to win a guest’s loyalty. There is also the promise of this hotel making the effort to improve their hotel, which allows the reviewer to know their voice has made a difference.You can read the review here
3. Handling a bad review with a healthy dose of sarcasm? Sometimes, a hotel manager comes across a bad review made by someone and cannot resist the urge.
A reviewer of the Best Western in Hickok House gave the hotel a 1 out of 5 star rating and wrote “Last room to check into that night and we received the worst room. Room stunk of smoke, hotel stated they were full and couldn’t do anything about it. Room was immediately off the parking lot, next to the office. There was noise from foot traffic and car traffic and loud conversations outside the room so it was impossible to sleep past 6 am. Really annoying after a late night out on the town. The room itself had an A/C system that sounded like a kid banging on a steel all night long. I should have saved my money and slept on the sidewalk and paid a bum to bang a steel kettle all night long. At least I wouldn’t have the smoke smell. Staff was generally rude as well and when pressed for answers, claimed it was a long day and gave vague answers.”
The manager who responded certainly wins points for her positive demeanor, and I will have to give her applause for her creative use of sarcasm. She writes “I’m sorry that you didn’t receive the service that you expected. When I spoke with you the first time, I was under the impression that you were mad at your husband for dead-bolting you out of the room for hours. I did ask you if there was anything we could do for you and you yelled “NO!” as you were walking to your car to leave him. It is possible that you felt we were rude when we asked that you and your husband to leave the women’s restroom in our casino, as we had ladies waiting to use it. I apologize for that. Please feel free to contact me directly. We appreciate all opportunities to better our property.”
I would imagine this manager had quite enough of this woman already, and receiving a bad review was the icing on the cake. You can read the review here.
When it comes to reviews of your establishment, it is something that is out of your control, however, how you respond to it is under your power. Whether you respond poorly, sarcastically, or professionally is up to you, and even in the face of a bad review, responding well can turn a negative thing into a positive thing for both you and your property. A bad review is not the end of the world, it is an opportunity to improve.