The Best Way to Respond to a Negative Review

Jan 22, 2018 | Guest Experience

For anyone with a passion for hospitality, there’s nothing quite like the glow of pleasure and pride that comes from reading an excellent review.

But what about when a negative review is posted on your listing? Not only is it disappointing—or even upsetting—for you, it’s there on your listing for all potential guests to see. Bearing that in mind, there is a right and a wrong way to respond.

We’re here to help

Here are five pointers to help you respond in the best way possible:

Keep calm. Keep it simple.

You put so much love and care into your business, you can’t help but be upset when a guest says something negative. Because of this level of personal investment, it’s important to take an extra breath before you respond. It’s also best to keep things simple. If you write too much, your point might get lost and you may come across as defensive.

Thank the guest and apologize

Basic manners and courtesy are a cornerstone of customer service and, when used right from the start, go a long way. Thank the guest for bringing the issues to your attention. Empathy is a powerful force when dealing with customers who are disappointed and can help you defuse any tension immediately.

“Dear Jane. Thank you for sharing your review about your recent stay at our villa. We apologize for the inconvenience the broken air conditioner caused.”

Give an honest explanation (if there is one)

Don’t make excuses, but if there’s a legitimate reason for what happened, feel free to explain it. Sometimes negative reviews are a result of mix-ups or misunderstandings, so setting out the facts can be helpful. But take care: you don’t want to make the reviewer feel embarrassed or patronised. Respond calmly, reasonably and above all honestly in these situations. People will appreciate it.

“We understand the air conditioner can be tricky to work because the buttons are not on the front of the unit. You’re not the first to mention this so we added additional signage on the unit before your stay, hoping this would help. But we’ll look at it again to improve it further.”

Propose a solution and next steps

Let the reviewer know that the issue has been fixed. Future guests will see that they won’t have to deal with the same problem if they choose to book your property. If you can, offer a coupon or discount for a future stay as a gesture of good will.

“We’ve ordered the appropriate part and will install it as soon as it arrives. As an apology for the inconvenience, we’d like to offer you a $50 coupon for your next stay with us.”

End on a good note

This is your final chance to leave the reviewer, and potential future guests, with a good impression. Thank the reviewer one last time and reassure them you’ll take their feedback on board. Responding this way will show future customers that you care, are willing to listen, and that your property is worth booking.

“Thank you again, Jane, for letting us know about this issue; we greatly appreciate your feedback and always try to improve. Please let us know if you need anything else.”

When you receive a negative review, it’s easy to be upset and concerned about how it might affect future bookings. But if you respond in the right way, future guests will feel reassured and confident about booking your property.


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