Recent articles report that only seven percent of hoteliers respond to online reviews. This means that the vast majority of operators simply ignore comments – both good and bad – made by their guests. When this occurs, the message to travelers is clear: We don’t care about what you have to say. The market for reviews has now reached critical mass and travelers have embraced them as a primary decision making tool, meaning it is time for a culture change.
If you are not responding to reviews now – start. Reviews are not a fad and this is a game changer for the industry. This means you’ll need to reprioritize efforts to make time to actively engage with your travelers on all the platforms they use. While you probably have enough on your plate already, you’ll need to make this a priority as the age when Revenue = Reputation.
The good news is that travelers reward quality engagement and this is your opportunity to demonstrate you care about your guests’ experiences. According to TripAdvisor, 71% of travelers believe that management responses are important with 65% of them admitting to being swayed by a management response. Additionally, 79% indicated that they are reassured when management responds to a bad review.
Think of it this way, by not responding to a guest review you are telling your guest (and everyone who reads the review) that you don’t care about them. However, when you respond to a review, even a negative review, you are not only telling people you care, but you are giving them a reason to stay with you – they are reassured that you’ll make things right. That interaction is great free marketing.