My Top 6 Tips For Responding To A Less Than Perfect Tripadvisor Review
I’m quite often called upon to help other B&Bers out with their response to a less than perfect Tripadvisor review and last week I was asked to do so again.
Reading the 2 star review that had been left for the B&B, that otherwise had nearly 100 excellent reviews, reminded me that we are all only “that one guest” away from a negative review.
Just from reading the review, with no background from the owner, I could see the 2 stars were completely unfair. So, and it’s a sad fact of life, no matter how fantastic your B&B, no matter how good your customer service or no matter how solid your emergency plans are, there will be someone someday who doesn’t get it. You’ve ruined their day/holiday/week & you’re going to suffer!
The good news, that whilst you are busy taking the bad review personally ( and when you’re the one cleaning the rooms, making the breakfasts & interacting with the guests I defy you not to take a bad review personally ), your response to a bad review can be a great marketing opportunity for you. Future potential guests will see that you are someone that listens to feedback and complaints in a measured manner.
On the other hand, a bad response can & will lose you customers. I was about to book a place we’d stayed in before when I decided to check their TA reviews. The owner’s responses to their reviews were truly appalling and I wouldn’t return again now there unless it changed hands.
So here’s my approach to crafting Tripadvisor Review Responses
1. Write a response to every review good or bad
If a guest has taken the time to sign on to Tripadvisor I think it’s only good manners to respond. I try and craft an individual reply to response, though I admit this can be difficult. Please don’t cut and paste a standard response – the point is to show you’re reading and listening to each guest as an individual.
2. Remember who you’re writing the review to
You’re not really writing the response to the person who left the review ( if there is a reason for responding to someone then do it privately by email or letter), you’re writing it to the next few thousand people who are going to read the review when they’re deciding whether to come & stay with you or not. They want to see if you’re going to get aggressive or defensive or whether you’re going to be measured and reasonable.
3. Acknowledge if there was a problem & that it’s impacted the guest
It’s tempting to try and make it look like everything is perfect and there wasn’t a problem or that the guest was exaggerating. But if there was an issue admit it and then go on to say what you have done or will do about it. So “I’m sorry the room wasn’t warm enough for you and very sorry you didn’t enjoy your birthday because of this. It was a problem with the boiler which we got fixed as soon as possible the next day. Hopefully the heaters we supplied meant you were able to enjoy the rest of your evening in warmth”
4. Never insult a guest or describe their less than perfect behaviour
Whenever I see a bad review for a place that otherwise has hundreds of excellents I can guess there is usually a story behind the review. For example, a guest smoking in a non smoking room objects to the charge you levied by giving a bad review. It’s so tempting to explain the whole story, but is that enhancing your reputation? Will it encourage future guests to say? Most people reading a review can see when someone is being unreasonable. It’s best just to give a brief acknowledgment.
5. Edit, Edit and edit again
Without fail, everytime someone sends me a response that they want help with, it’s far too long. We try and respond to every single point made in detail. Remember we’re not really responding to the individual that wrote the review we’re showing future customers how we deal with a complaint. Pick one or 2 major issues to respond to but keep it short.
6. Get someone else to read the review before you press send
It’s very difficult to write a completely unemotional, objective response when it’s your own businesses. I can’t do it! I always ask for help. I think it’s best to get someone in the B&B business, but not in your business, someone with no emotional attachment to you or the business, to review and edit it if necessary.