Online reviews often have a bad reputation in the B2B sector. But while the "risk" of negative reviews is often the only thing one sees, they actually come with enormous potential that is often left untapped.
Investing high amounts in studies and surveys to find out exactly how happy your guests are will only provide a quick snapshot, without reflecting any developments or changes in status over time. Online reviews are a different matter. They visualise the reactions of the majority of your guests at all times. If the number of negative reviews increases, you need to take action. The good news is, if you’re in the habit of regularly and carefully reading your reviews, you will already have an idea of what the issue may be. You can take countermeasures.
Usually, "countermeasures" do not require massive investments. A closer focus on some specific service aspects might be all it takes.
We recommend taking critical reviews seriously and making the best of them. Did a guest complain that their pillow was too soft and the street noise too loud? Buy a few spare pillows, some firmer, some softer, and/or place some earplugs by your guests' beds with a sweet "good night" message. The positive effect these small gestures have on your guests' satisfaction may well surprise you.
What happens if not all your guests are always entirely happy? Let's be honest. It is nearly impossible to satisfy all guests. Their individual demands, ideas and perceptions are too different, which increases the likelihood of having a negative review crop up sooner or later. Nevertheless, it pays off to read these reviews carefully. They often conceal valuable suggestions for improvement that may not even require a lot of effort. It is important to remember that guests always express their opinions (perceptions and impressions), and that these may not always match your own. If former guests are blatantly lying (e.g. by claiming that your pool is poorly maintained when you don't even have a pool in the first place), please contact our service team. You don’t have to put up with inaccurate reviews.
Sometimes, frustrated guests will fail to share their criticism on site, setting out instead to take their "revenge" against the hotel online afterwards. This is too bad, since these guests rob you of the opportunity to resolve their concerns right away. Don't be too angry. Leave a calm comment. Stay friendly. Potential guests will look at this sort of thing quite closely. They will usually quickly understand that the review was left in a moment of anger. If you add a friendly comment under the critical one, emphasising how gladly you would have helped the guest had they only spoken to you right away, you can alleviate the negative impression. Reviews that serve as "revenge" are, luckily, very rare. The fear of negative reviews is largely unfounded.
Potential guests will never make a decision based on a single negative review. They will act on their overall impression formed by many different comments. Therefore, we recommend keeping an eye on recurring points of criticism. If people keep mentioning the noisy minibar fridge, you might want to consider moving it elsewhere. It may sound like just a tiny detail, but let's be honest: no one wants to miss out on peaceful sleep while on vacation. These small issues may turn out to be decisive in the end.