How to respond to negative reviews?

BoostmyBookings • Oct 15, 2023

Online reviews


Online reviews and ratings have been available on the internet for quite some time. The story is that in 1995, Amazon was the first to add reviews to its products. In general, engaging with both positive and negative reviews demonstrates that you are a dedicated business owner who values not only your business but also your customers. In this blog, we will guide you through the negative feedback because research tells us that 95% of the clients will give a shout-out online if they are dissatisfied with services or products. So, it is important to respond well in that case.



The importance of reviews for your hotel: If guests book a hotel, they will look at the reviews. And they will choose a platform from where they can make good and accurate selections that apply to their traveling purpose (group/couple/single/business/family, etc.). has a good selection option (relevant to the type of booker like families, working guests, couples, singles or groups). You can filter on type of acoomoodation and find the best quality accommodations for the lowest price, or search on newest, best and worst reviews.


If guests will dive deeper, they will check on Google Maps (if your hotel has a company page) and TripAdvisor for a certain location. They will probably check the platforms that have many options and selections in categories, and they will also check if the reviews are real, unique, and not scraped from other platforms. They will start with the general score, but if they are planning a trip, they will dive further probably.




The benefit 


How to bring this to your benefit as a hotel owner? If you are an ambitious hotel manager, take into consideration that a great review score and an excellent way of communicating online with your (potential or past) guests will always have a positive effect on boosting your bookings. And… maybe even more important to boost the value of a booking. If you have a great score, you might be able to raise your price.



Now back on topic: How to respond to negative reviews. While it's natural to hope for a 100% positive review record, even the most well-managed and customer-centric businesses will occasionally encounter negative feedback. When such reviews arise, view them as valuable opportunities to enhance your business in the future and display your responsiveness. Approach these situations with composure, honesty, and transparency in your responses. How you handle adverse feedback can leave a positive impression on your business, and a thoughtful post-review interaction may even prompt the reviewer to reconsider and update their feedback.



The Roadmap



Today we will give a roadmap on how to correctly and genuinely respond to negative reviews, as they are an important part of managing your online reputation and customer relationships.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to respond to negative reviews effectively: • Don't take it personally. We advise staying relaxed and acting like a professional: It's natural to feel defensive when you receive a negative review, but it's essential to remain calm and to the point in your response. Avoid getting emotional or confrontational.


Be quick with your response. It is tempting to postpone ugly stuff, but don't do it. Address the Issue Promptly: Respond to the negative review as soon as possible, preferably within 24-48 hours. This shows that you care about your customers' feedback.


Write a personal response. Do not use a template responses; however, personalize your communication: Some platforms like Airbnb,, etc., have template responses. They are a nice and tempting way to make your work efficient if you don't use our software. But… we advise not to use a template while responding to a review. Address the reviewer by name if possible, and use a personalized tone to show that you value their opinion.


Acknowledge the Problem: Start by acknowledging the issue raised in the review. Express empathy and understanding for their concerns. It is very important to take all of your clients seriously. They are the reason for your existence.


Apologize: Offer a sincere apology for the negative experience, even if the issue wasn't entirely your fault. Apologizing demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Nothing more, nothing less.





Take the communication to an offline level (If Necessary): If the issue is complex or requires private information, invite the reviewer to continue the conversation through email or direct messaging. This helps maintain privacy and professionalism. It prevents online discussions that are 9 out of 10 not to the benefit of your hotel.


Offer a solution that you can truly live up to and/or offer a further explanation for the problem: Share what steps you'll take to address the issue or how you plan to prevent it in the future. This shows that you're committed to improvement. But don't mix this up with making promises you can't keep up with. It is easy to give away stuff for free if you feel responsible, but it can also be a blank invitation for other guests to expect freebies.


Highlight Positive Aspects: If possible, highlight the positive aspects of your product or service, demonstrating that your business has strengths and is committed to improvement.


Keep it concise: Keep your response concise and to the point. Lengthy responses may come across as defensive or insincere.


Encourage Further Feedback: Encourage the reviewer to provide additional feedback or return for a better experience. This shows your commitment to continuous improvement.


Monitor the Conversation: Keep an eye on the conversation and respond to any follow-up comments or questions from the reviewer. Prevent long lines of chats and invite them to contact you directly to solve the matter.


Learn from the Feedback: Use negative reviews as an opportunity to improve your business. Consider whether there are recurring issues in the feedback and take steps to address them. It is also recommended to add information and updates if you have followed up and improved! Invite the reviewer to update their review if possible.


Be Consistent: Ensure that your responses to negative reviews are consistent with your brand's tone and messaging across all review platforms. If you have more staff that will reply to reviews, consider making a short policy on how to respond consistently.


Don't Get into Arguments: Avoid getting into arguments with reviewers, and don't engage in a back-and-forth exchange that might escalate the situation. Stay polite and mind your spelling and grammar. 




Report and flag Inappropriate Reviews: If a review violates the platform's guidelines (e.g., contains hate speech, discrimination, or false information), consider flagging it for review by the platform administrators.




An example of a basic reply to negative feedback:



We would like to express our gratitude for your review of our hotel. Your feedback is highly valued, and we regret that your experience did not meet your expectations. It is our priority to ensure that all our guests have a satisfactory stay, and we apologize if we did not achieve this during your visit.

A representative will contact you privately to address your concern.

Please provide all the necessary details, and rest assured that our team will promptly work on finding a resolution. Once again, we appreciate your time and effort in sharing your experience with us.

Best Regards,




Remember that your responses to negative reviews can influence potential customers' perceptions of your business. By handling negative feedback professionally and constructively, you can turn a potentially harmful situation into an opportunity to build trust and improve your business.






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