How to turn negative reviews into booking opportunities in the digital era

In the age of digital word-of-mouth, the impact of online guest reviews on your bookings cannot be overstated. According to TripAdvisor, a staggering 83% of travelers consult online reviews before making hotel reservations, with 80% of them reading between 6 to 12 reviews before making their final decision.

These reviews not only mitigate the risk for potential guests but also allow them to feel connected to a community and stay updated with the latest offerings in the market.

It’s evident that negative reviews can significantly influence potential bookings. Therefore, it’s crucial to not only acknowledge these reviews but also understand why guests leave them. This understanding not only allows you to respond appropriately but also helps in identifying and rectifying any underlying issues that could reduce negative feedback in the future.

Firstly let’s look at reasons why guests leave negative reviews:

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  • Unmet promises: If your website and social media platforms promise an experience that doesn’t align with reality, guests are likely to express disappointment. Underpromising and overdelivering should be the guiding principle.
  • Rude or unhelpful staff: Guests expect a warm and hospitable experience when booking a property. Failing to provide attentive and courteous staff can lead to dissatisfaction.
  • Lack of hygiene: In a post-2020 world, health and hygiene have become paramount. If your property doesn’t meet these standards, expect guests to voice their concerns.
  • Lack of guest experience: When guests choose a hotel or property, they have certain expectations: a warm welcome, attentive service, and an enjoyable stay. If these expectations are not met, whether due to unresponsive staff, cleanliness issues, or unfulfilled promises, it can result in deep disappointment.

How to effectively manage negative reviews

1. Embrace negative reviews positively

In today’s connected world, people love to share their experiences. Embrace this change by listening to your guests, understanding their complaints, and making necessary improvements. Communicate these improvements to your guests clearly, providing timelines and real examples when possible.

2. Use an online reputation management system

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An online reputation management system can help in preventing negative reviews by proactively monitoring and addressing guest feedback. By actively tracking online mentions and guest reviews, you can swiftly identify any issues or concerns before they escalate into negative reviews. This allows you to address guest grievances in real time, resolve problems, and demonstrate your commitment to exceptional customer service.  In essence, a robust online reputation management system empowers you to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that your guests’ experiences are consistently positive and minimizing the chances of unfavourable feedback.

3. Respond promptly

Keep a close eye on your online reviews and respond swiftly. A speedy response demonstrates your commitment to addressing issues and can prevent a negative review from spreading further. Be polite in your responses, addressing guests by their first names and avoiding blame.

4. Seek out reviews proactively

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Don’t wait for guests to leave negative reviews; actively engage with them when they’re on-site. Address their feedback promptly and share how you plan to enhance their future experience.

5. Identify and handle fake reviews

Keep an eye out for suspicious patterns, such as missing details or a lack of recommendations for competitors. Flag these reviews to the platform where they’re posted.

6. Suppress negative results on Google

If negative reviews are dominating search results, counteract them by promoting positive content on your website and social media. Develop a robust content strategy to rank for pages other than negative reviews. Claim and optimize your review platform.

7. Focus on guest experience

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When guests have a memorable and delightful stay, they are inclined to express their satisfaction through glowing reviews. Ensure that the guest experience matches the promises made on your website and marketing materials. When guests get what they expect and more, they appreciate the transparency and are more inclined to leave positive feedback.

In conclusion, online reviews cannot be ignored. Encouraging guests to leave both quantity and quality reviews is a challenging task. However, by understanding the motivations behind reviews, actively seeking guest feedback, and utilizing reputation management tools, you can motivate your guests to share their positive experiences online, ultimately boosting your bookings.

Tags: booking opportunities, negative reviews, reputation management, reviews



STAAH is a New Zealand-based technology company that specialises in cloud-based channel management and booking engine for accommodation providers helping them maximise their online revenue. Founded by Gavin Jeddo in 2008, a pioneer in the field of distribution technology, STAAH’s industry-leading technology powers a property’s distribution through online travel agencies (OTA) and direct bookings. STAAH partners with over 19000+ properties across 90 countries through its operations in New Zealand, Australia, India, UAE, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Middle East, UK and Europe.

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