Hotel & Restaurant Review Websites Advice

Websites like TripAdviser can make or break a customer’s decision to book with a certain hotel or eat at a certain restaurant. Hoteliers and restaurateurs often ask me what they can do about negative reviews. I was asked earlier in the week to comment on a Daily Mail article that reported on a Company organising a group defamation action’ against TripAdvisor. May advise is…

Unless these reviews are factually incorrect, there’s not much that can be done. Instead, the brands need to consider how they can respond and engage with the community of people.

Put simply, hotels need to get their product right. If they are receiving an abundance of negative reviews, they need to look at why that is, improve their offering and then publicise to people that they have listened and changed. The public understand that if a hotel has ten good reviews and one negative one, the likelihood is that that negative review is a one off.

Dealing with an irate customer successfully, and publicly, can actually improve the reputation of a hotel. The best thing to do is to engage online with customers who have written negative reviews or comments about their experiences in a professional and friendly way. If they are citing a factual inaccuracy then correct them, or if they have had a bad experience then apologise for the mistakes and outline next steps.

People are very tuned in to marketing and spin and thus turn to reviews from real people who have actually experienced the hotel first hand. Positive word-of-mouth like this is a great endorsement for hotels as people are more likely to believe it over fancy advertising.

The hotels and restaurants which will come out on top are the ones willing to allow customers to review them, showing them to be transparent and trustworthy. Banning customer reviews suggests that the other chains have something to hide.

  • Great article. Would this concept of managing reputation on ‘review’ sites extend to sites like Wikipedia?

    Also, what do you think of the concept of offering incentives for people to leave ‘good reviews’?

    September 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm
  • In my consulting efforts I have repeatedly had to inform our customers that Tripadvisor and review sites are here to stay. It’s part of the online world we live in and we need to use it to our advantage.
    Instead of contesting bad reviews on Tripadvisor one should concentrate on getting more good reviews by really doing a good job and making it known. The 90-9-1 rule applies here more than elsewhere. Only 2 types of people make comments, very happy and very unhappy. Your job is to take the just happy and make them very happy. They’ll leave great comments.
    There will always be unhappy people so trying to stop them is a bad strategy – concentrate on the majority and they’ll promote your hotel for you.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm
  • Sara

    I completely agree that hotels should utilise and not ‘ban’ review options. There is so much to be gained, with the added advantage of turning negative comments around. Before travelling anywhere, I always check trip advisor and if I do have an noteworthy good (or bad) hotel experience, I will leave a review, providing others with the information I think I too, would like to know. Hotels need to use this to their advantage.

    February 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm
  • Danni Breton

    I am an hotelier and have recieved both negative and positive reviews on the likes of Trip Advisor, however there are 2 problems I see with review platforms. The first is that anyone can go and write an ill review and may never have stayed at your premises at all. Who would do such a thing you might ask? Your competition for one, and with Trip Advisor it seems to be a very simple thing to do without any screening. The kudos that is put on these reviews is the second problem. When you have an hotel with a mixture of good and bad reviews who then do you believe? It becomes a potent cocktail of confusion for the potential customer and in fact the bad reviews maybe just left with someone who has a grudge with you.
    Fot the owner of an establishment to keep on top of this it requires them to have a response and to try to let people know that if the complaint is genuine they have rectified it and used the complaint in a positive way but if the problem is not genuine how do you rebuff this without looking obstinate or unwilling to accept critism. In a word you can’t.

    I think review sites should find a way to weed out the genuine reviewers from the frauds, how this is done I have no suggestions yet but when you have an open platform for critism it is a very dangerous stage and open to abuse.

    September 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm

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