February 02, 2024
By Kim Campbell

Online reviews give hotels the unique opportunity to address guests, manage their online presence, and improve booking or revenue goals by speaking directly to their customers. There are some often repeated questions hotel management and sales teams seem to ask regarding online reviews and how to respond to them.  

In this post, we dive into the importance of guest feedback and explore how to respond to hotel reviews. We address the most commonly asked questions to provide you with a comprehensive instructional resource, complete with examples and real-life scenarios.  

Learning how to respond to hotel reviews: Why reviews matter 

The hospitality industry is incredibly competitive. If you want travelers and groups to choose to stay with you instead of hotels in your comp set, it’s essential that you understand how they feel and cater to what they want. Reviews are the perfect opportunity to see what your guests really think and for previous guests to communicate their experience to future travelers. 

Tools to help maximize your hotel's online reputation

Why are hotel reviews important to potential guests?

All guest stays are unique to their expectations and experience. While travel plans and accommodation requirements may vary from one guest to another, there are a few primary reasons that online guest reviews have such a significant impact on a traveler’s decisions. 

  • The trust travelers have for first-hand reviews plays a large role in which properties they may choose to stay with. 81% of people reported they "always or frequently" read online reviews before booking overnight accommodations. 
  • Guests can post and review real-time photos of the property. Professional photography is a must-have for hotel marketing, but travelers want to see the unedited version without Photoshop, cropping, saturation, and exposure edits. 
  • Many travelers read online reviews to get tips from other travelers regarding available F&B at the property, local attractions, tips on what to bring, and even room type recommendations. 

How can hotels benefit from reading and responding to reviews?

As beneficial as reviews are for travelers, they are also invaluable for hotels and hotel managers. Here's why.  

  • Hotel review responses directly correlate to hotel revenue increases. 91% of travelers value meaningful responses to negative reviews and are likelier to book a room when management shows initiative to improve. 
  • Online reviews give hoteliers a unique opportunity to see their property through the eyes of a guest and analyze customer feedback. 
  • Reviews can help hotels identify opportunities for improvement in all areas: cleanliness, food and beverage service, and even employee training needs. 

The reviews that your hotel receives and the responses you provide are vital components of your online presence. Reviews and their responses can influence the appeal of your property, assumptions about service, and directly drive new business to your property. 

Take your hotel's online presence to unprecedented heights

Why is responding to online reviews important for hotels?

The benefits that reviews can provide hotels are almost endless, but there are a few key reasons why responding to hotel reviews should also be a priority for management. 

  • Responding to criticism with thoughtful and motivated responses or showing gratitude for guest appreciation sets the tone for expected service levels. This appeals to future guests and builds trust before their room is booked. 
  • Inviting an unhappy guest to a personal one-on-one follow-up allows for open conversation. In turn, you can improve their next stay and build customer loyalty. 
  • Reviewing responses sets you apart from other hotels. Only about 40% of hotels respond to guest reviews, and you should aim to set yourself apart from your comp set. 

How to respond to hotel reviews: the good, the bad, and the fake 

How should hotels respond to positive reviews?

Today’s travelers are savvy and accustomed to having generic content thrown in their faces all day, every day. They can smell a cookie-cutter template response from a mile away. Follow these tips for responding to positive reviews to provide authentic responses and get the most out of the free marketing provided by hotel responses. 

  • To personalize your response, address the reviewer by name or screen name. 
  • Add a signature line to your response. Your signature should designate a specific manager or the “guest service staff” based on your preference. 
  • Using “we” statements in positive review responses demonstrates a sense of community within the hotel. 

While responding to every positive review is unnecessary, positive responses should still be personalized, genuine, and reflective of the guest’s experience. 

How should hotels respond to negative reviews?

Be courteous, professional, and show empathy when responding to negative reviews. If a guest takes the time to write a negative review of their experience, they want to be heard. Follow these tips for responding to negative reviews to create meaningful interactions and implement necessary changes. 

  • Acknowledge their experience, take responsibility for any issues, and invite the guest to contact the property directly to discuss their stay in more detail.  
  • Unlike the “we” statements suggested for positive reviews, “I” responses are best for negative review responses. This helps create a personal bond with the guest, shows them you’re not afraid of accountability, and opens the door for future, improved interactions.  
  • A follow-up phone call or face-to-face conversation with an unhappy traveler can turn them into a “best guest” overnight. 

How should hotels respond to non-guest reviews? 

Your hotel may receive a review that is actually an inquiry from a potential future guest. Handling these inquiries effectively can assist potential guests and showcase your hotel's commitment to customer service. 

  • Thank them for their inquiry and offer a detailed response. This will also provide insight about your hotel to additional potential guests. 
  • Invite them to contact your guest service staff for personalized assistance and a direct line to your reservations team. 
  • Express that your hotel looks forward to welcoming them soon. 

How should hotels respond to fake reviews? 

Unfortunately, it’s possible to receive a fake review. Fake reviews tend to use highly negative language, so address the individual with the same respect you would for any other negative review.  

If you suspect the review is fake, flag the review as fraudulent or violating platform guidelines. You can also contact the review platform’s support team. 

What strategies should a hotel implement when responding to reviews?

Implement the following strategies to make reading and responding to reviews a streamlined and efficient process for your hotel. 

  • Identify and delegate departmental duties. Will review responses be a task for operations, sales, or the guest service manager? Will you alternate duties? 
  • Set up a hotel Gmail account that’s attached to all of your online hotel profiles. Enable email notifications for all your accounts so you can get real-time review alerts in one place. 
  • Use a consistent and professional voice when responding to reviews. 
  • Accentuate the positive features and benefits that your hotel has to offer to influence your reviews. 
  • Have a guideline set for offering dissatisfied guests partial refunds, giveaways, certificates, or other surprises. Words are important, but actions speak louder. 
  • Respond to all negative reviews as quickly as possible. The ideal response time is between 24 and 48 hours. 
  • Train all hotel employees on your hotel’s best practice guidelines and protocols. Consistency is key. 

Managing hotel reviews: prioritization and platforms 

Should guest review responses be a high priority for hotels? 

All hoteliers are well acquainted with the running “to-do” list that comes with hotel management, and responding to guest reviews should remain a top priority. 

Big-picture priorities include attending to immediate guest needs, assisting staff, and meeting revenue goals. Investing time in regularly reading and responding to guest reviews ultimately supports your hotel in tackling those priorities. 

Timely responses display dedication to meeting guest needs, supporting your staff’s development, and showing potential and returning guests that your hotel is worth staying at. 

Should hotels respond to every review? 

With such full plates, we have to realistically admit that responding to every review on every platform is not practical — or even possible. Here are some tips to help you spend your already thinly stretched time where it matters most. 

  • Focus on providing well-thought-out and constructive responses to all 1-2 star reviews instead of acknowledging every guest's compliment. 
  • Generic responses can be worse than no response from a hotel. To maintain a steady, efficient, and beneficial response rate, aim to respond to around 40% of all hotel reviews — the statistical sweet spot.  

Where can hotel guests leave online reviews? 

Modern travelers can visit numerous sites and social platforms to research hotels and discuss their experiences. Create and maintain a property profile on the most common review sites to get as much feedback as possible. These websites include:  

  • TripAdvisor 
  • Expedia 
  • Booking.com 
  • Hotels.com 
  • Google 
  • Facebook 
  • Trivago 
  • Yelp 
  • Orbitz 
  • Hotwire.com 

Monitor these sites regularly to ensure accuracy. Property details and contact information should be consistent across all platforms. 

Examples of how to respond to hotel reviews:

Now that you know how to respond to hotel reviews, it’s time to create your property guidelines and implement the response best practices that will benefit your hotel the most. Below, we’ve included examples of guest reviews that you may encounter and examples of potential responses. See if you can identify which strategies are utilized in each response and how you may implement them in future responses. 

Guest review No. 1: 

I loved everything about this property! The staff was super nice, it was clean, and I could easily walk to four different restaurants. 10/10 would recommend! 

- dennisson67 

Hotel response No. 1: 

Hi, dennison67! 

Thank you for taking the time to post a review of our property. We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time at Beaumont Inn & Suites. Our goal is always to exceed your expectations! If there’s anything we can help you with during your next visit, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We hope to see you again soon! 

- Beaumont Inn & Suites guest service team 

Guest review No. 2: 

Pretty much what I expected from Beaumont. Average stay. No complaints, but nothing to rave about. 

 - Frank M. 

Hotel response No. 2: 

Hello, Frank, 

Thank you for telling us about your recent stay. If you’d be willing, please reach out to our Guest Service Manager, Tina Lackey, to discuss your experience in more detail. Customer satisfaction is our top priority here at Beaumont Inn & Suites, and we'd love another opportunity to wow you. 

- Beaumont Inn & Suites guest service team 

Guest review No. 3: 

Don’t book here! I found hair in my bed and the sink. When I called the front desk to move rooms, they didn’t seem to have any concerns. They told me they were sold out and there was nothing they could do. I will never stay here again. 

- SarahBB123 

Hotel response No. 3: 

Hello, Sarah, 

We appreciate you sharing the concerns you encountered during your recent stay at our property. Reviews like yours give us an opportunity to address areas of improvement.  

Guest satisfaction is our top priority, and I kindly invite you to contact me directly to discuss your experience in more detail. 

I take great pride in our hotel's service, and I'm always looking for ways to enhance those services, identify training opportunities, and provide an outstanding guest experience. I look forward to hearing from you and learning how we can make this right for you.  

Sincerely, 

Robin Fields, General Manager 

(555) 893-5467 

Now you know how to respond to hotel reviews!

There you have it: a quick guide to how to respond to hotel reviews. Remember, responding to positive and negative reviews plays a massive role in hotel reputation management. Don't let your customers go unnoticed or miss opportunities for improvement. Your guests and your business will thank you!  

Up next, maximize your property's marketing efforts even further with our complete guide to hotel digital marketing. 

Headshot of Cvent writer Kimberly Campbell

Kim Campbell

Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list.

Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.

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