How to respond to negative reviews

Post by
Madhurima Chatterjee
How to respond to negative reviews


Negative online reviews can kill your business in today’s fiercely competitive hospitality industry. Research indicates that 55% of travelers read several pages of reviews to truly understand public opinion before they decide on a place to stay. Imagine most of your customers giving you a negative review! Is there anything worse than that?

The answer is: Yes! The only thing worse for a potential customer to see besides a slew of negative reviews is no responses from you. Not responding to negative hotel reviews will not only tank your CSAT (customer satisfaction score) further; it will indicate to prospects that you are not willing to make a change, which is hurtful for your business in the long term.

So, how to respond to negative hotel reviews? 91% of travelers appreciate it when a property owner responds to negative reviews the former leave about their hotel stay experience. Moreover, it leaves a positive impression on potential guests who might choose your hotel to stay at, seeing your proactiveness in mitigating complaints about your business. Today we will discuss how you can turn around your odds after a negative hotel review. Read on for some great actionable advice!

‍But first, let’s see why bad hotel reviews can be good for your business.

Why are Bad Hotel Reviews Good for Your Business?

Receiving bad hotel reviews can feel like the end of the world for your business, but there is a silver lining to them! Here are a few ways bad hotel reviews can be good for your business:

1. Real-time feedback for improvement:

48% of hotel guests will leave a review after a negative stay experience at your hotel — and they tend to do it pretty quickly following their departure from your premises. This can act as an excellent source of feedback for your business, allowing you to troubleshoot real-time issues and improve your hospitality experience.

2. Exhibit transparency and authenticity:

Customers today are internet-savvy and can smell a scam a mile away. Having only positive reviews on your website or sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp is bound to look fishy and make them question your authenticity. A few negative reviews can actually enhance the credibility of the positive feedback you receive.

3. Opportunity to prioritize stellar customer service:

With 70.9% of travelers trusting online content to influence their choice of hotel stays, businesses need to address guest concerns, provide solutions, or compensate them for a bad experience. Your commitment to customer service will shine through, elevating your CSAT scores and customer lifetime value, persuading previous customers to visit again, and enabling potential guests to regard your hotel more favorably.

How to Respond to Negative Hotel Reviews?

You can approach writing your response to a negative online review for your hotel with this four-step framework:

1. Thank the guest by name for visiting you

A negative review may upset you, nonetheless, you need to thank your guest(s) for visiting you and trusting you with their time. Start your response using their name — speaking with them directly demonstrates that you carefully read their review. Consider, for a moment, that all criticism is worthwhile and not meant to affect you personally. Handle the matter with elegance, keeping that in mind. This may help to lessen the negative impression the bad review can have on prospective hotel guests and visitors in the future.

2. Apologize for their poor experience ‍

Trust the customer’s insights and accept that they did face problems that led to a negative review of your hotel. In that spirit, apologize publicly for their bad experience. Remember, an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing here. This guest’s expectations were unmet for whatever reason, and you should express regret that their experience fell short of their expectations. Issuing a public apology is a mark of sincerity toward customer service.

3. Outline what changes you intend to make

Outline what changes you intend to make in your response, about the negative review your customer has given you. When your response conveys your impetus to take action and improve your services, it shows that you respect the time it has taken for your guest to post feedback about their experience. For high grievance cases, it is better to take the conversation offline. That way, you can put out the fire before it starts. Invite the guest to contact you directly, if the situation warrants conveying the changes you’ve made to alleviate their concerns. Ensure to provide your best email address for getting in touch.

4. Verify the need for follow-ups with the guest

If the situation is worse than you anticipated, figure out whether more action is necessary to pacify your aggrieved guest. Use personalized messaging to email an apology or provide compensation if appropriate. While such actions may not earn you a five-star rating, they will help make it easy for the customer to empathize with you and forgive the matter. Follow-ups can be a great way to repair and rebuild relationships with disgruntled guests. Offering them a sizable discount to visit your hotel again, may also act as a great follow-up, but make sure that you have implemented changes as per their complaints before you do so.

These steps can help you nail down a stellar response to a negative hotel review, every time you receive one.

Automate Review Responses and Save Time with Viff!

Crafting the perfect negative hotel review response every time you register a guest’s complaint may be an unprecedented challenge for your business, especially if you are rapidly growing. You will need to invest time and money to train a customer service agent, and even then, humans are emotional and prone to errors. But why are we telling you this?

We got the solution to your problems, that’s why!

Introducing Viff — your AI assistant for generating polite and professional responses to your hotel’s reviews in seconds!

Viff produces brand-consistent and courteous replies to hotel reviews, positive or negative, on autopilot and helps you save time while managing your online reputation on travel platforms like TripAdvisor,, AirBnB, Agoda, and everywhere else.

Final Thoughts

Receiving a negative hotel review can be especially hard if you truly strive to go above and beyond for your guests. The good news is that they can help you identify your blind spots and present chances for you to enhance your services and reputation. Leverage Viff to maintain your hotel’s reputation online through professional review responses generated in a snap and create positive experiences out of negative hotel reviews for your business.

Start your free trial today.

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