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Owners plan to weigh in – Accommodation Owners’ Survey 2011

Online consumer reviews are becoming increasingly important in the holiday decision making process. If guests are talking about your business online shouldn’t you be part of that conversation? The answer from accommodation owners in TripAdvisor’s January Accommodation Owners’ Survey was a resounding YES, with just over 72% of survey respondents saying they plan to reply to both positive and negative reviews in 2011, and 13.5% saying they’ll respond to just the negative ones.

Replying to reviews shows potential guests that you care about feedback and take it seriously. The tone of your reply and how you handle any issues is very much a reflection of your overall approach to customer service in the eyes of the public reading your responses.

In fact, here are some quotes from reviewers to show how much they appreciate owners taking the time to reply:

“I like it that the Hotel management responds to posts here – says a lot about their focus on their customers.” hazy_amersham

“…I also like the fact that a management representative (Jodie Cairns) replies to some comments made by guests. This tells me that ‘Lennons on Chifley’ are a hotel that care about their guests and reputation and go to lengths to acknowledge and rectify issues. Well done.” Rosli

And on the other side of the coin, here is an example of business being lost because management waited a month to respond to a review:

“Now that I’m back from my visit to London, I see that the manager of the hotel did respond, but it took him a month to do so. I appreciate the seemingly thorough response given, but I wish he’d done so in a more timely manner. I might have overcome my concerns about the safety of staying at his hotel and kept my reservation.” OhioGirlScout

Whether they are positive or negative, reviews are invaluable feedback and replying to them should be an integral part of every hotel’s customer service activities.

Main points to remember when replying to reviews:
Reply promptly – the example above shows the importance of dealing with issues as quickly as possible
Keep the tone professional– you are representing your business and how you address guests will be noted by other potential customers
Be original – replying with the same formulaic text to every review could make potential guests question your sincerity. Some great examples of how to personalise your responses can be seen here
Say thank you – whether the review is negative or positive the guest is taking the time to give you feedback that ultimately will help you provide a better service.

Click here to see the full Accommodation Owners’ Survey results

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