How To Avoid Bad Hotel Reviews From Your Guests

What's in it for me?

A handy guide focusing on a constant endeavor on the part of the hotels to keep the toxic reviews at bay by introducing the useful techniques and ways in which the latter can focus on the various stages of the hotel guest journey for more positive reviews. It also stresses upon the need to improve and enhance the overall guest experience by suggesting ideas that extend way beyond than just providing a nice first impression. 

An online customer review can be regarded as a service or product review that is made by consumers who have used and experienced the quality of the service or product. As the hospitality industry is primarily based on the customer experience, the aspect of consumer relationship is the prime center of attraction. Online reviews are also linked with the reputation of your hotel and the latter has slowly begun to realize the importance of online reviews. Bad hotel reviews are a nightmare and are something that hoteliers strive day and night to get rid of. But how to eliminate or rule them out completely? Let’s find out:

Concept Of Online Reviews And Their Importance

Before the advent of the internet, asking someone with prior experience was the only option to assess the quality of a service or a product. However, this sort of research usually demanded a long time and effort and often turned out to be fruitless. In most cases, the guest simply had to have a leap of faith, hoping that their purchase would turn out to be everything they wanted. Hence, the emergence of online reviews is considered a significant tool for both the guests and the hotels as it provides people with access to billions of reviews posted across multiple platforms.

Now in mere seconds, potential customers have sufficient information about their potential destination which helps them make decisions accordingly. Besides, online reviews provide an equal platform for both parties, as, in terms of hoteliers, it expands the reach of their properties and benefits them in numerous ways. On the other hand, online reviews also help consumers narrate the experience of their recent stay, making them feel heard. The growing relevance of online reviews can be assessed from the following data:

→"72% of potential customers won’t commit to a purchase without reading reviews."
→“91% of millennials trust online reviews as much as they trust reviews from friends and family members”

Bad Hotel Reviews

Feedback as they say is a gift. Multiple researchers have suggested that it is a key driver of leadership effectiveness and performance. Negative or bad reviews, in particular, can be considered to be a valuable prospect as it allows you to monitor your performance and helps in highlighting the areas that need work.

However, taking appropriate actions based on negative feedback is not always easy. Negative reviews often make us angry, self-conscious, and defensive that directly results in impairing our effectiveness. In addition, all negative reviews cannot be regarded as authentic and thus cannot always be taken at the face value.

While negative feedback is an opportunity to improve yourself and is usually posted with the purest of the motives narrating a real-life experience (let's just assume for the majority of the cases), it can also be nefarious or inaccurate in nature. Negative reviews with malicious intention, though rare, is not entirely an outdated prospect.

Need For The Hotels To Avoid Receiving Negative Reviews

One aspect of the entire hospitality business that is, perhaps, the most dreaded by the hoteliers is getting a bad remark on their business. However, it provides a realistic look at your business and gives you a reality check that is even more important than your highly-embellished 5-star reviews. The significance of online reviews has increased over time and is going to amplify soon. Nowadays, hoteliers cannot really ignore the role of online reviews in the prospect of creating a brand image and widening of customer base, and thereby it directly correlates with changes in the revenue. In reality, avoiding negative hotel reviews is not always possible.

Therefore, you need to realize this and the faster you realize the probability of dealing with it, the benefits increase exponentially. However, not everyone emphasizes this aspect and does not address the customer's concerns. In addition, bad hotel reviews are not always a reflection of the dilapidated condition of the business. It is rather an opportunity for you to ensure that negative experiences of the guests do not reoccur in the future. According to an estimation, hotels stand to lose 22% of their bookings due to the negative reviews and the number significantly increases to almost 70% when these negative reviews are present across different mediums. Again, “85% agree that a thoughtful response to a review will improve their impression of the hotel”.

As evident from the discussion in the above section, the majority of the consumers heavily rely on online reviews, perhaps more so on the management of negative reviews. Customers’ booking or purchase decision usually depends on the reputation that hotels have built up through responding to negative reviews apart from the positive reviews. Not responding to the negative reviews can lead to the following consequences:

• Low consumer trust levels
• Decreased profits
• Failing brand recognition
• Discourages quality employees
• Brand loyalty among consumers takes a hit

If you ask someone simply, they would love to get rid of the negative reviews on their service, any day! Well, who doesn’t want that? So, before harboring any thoughts on how to keep the bad hotel reviews at bay, it is first crucial to drill down the reasons which can cause a bad hotel review to be posted in the first place:

What Guarantees A Bad Hotel Review? Possible Reasons For A Negative Review

In order to avoid getting bad reviews from guests and provide a quality service, you need to have a better understanding of the consumer’s psychology behind leaving a bad review. More often than not, hoteliers underestimate the importance of responding to negative reviews. Instead of addressing their concerns, they usually avoid addressing them and even report them to online platforms such as TripAdvisor.

Even though your concerns regarding the genuineness of bad reviews cannot be disregarded totally, more often than not, it turns out to be a genuine concern. However, even in such cases, it is still recommended to respond to these negative reviews in order to put across your side of the story that is visible by everyone and that you’re attempting to mitigate the situation. 

Thus to have a better possibility to address these issues, it is important to have an idea of some of the reasons that aggravate bad hotel reviews. Some of such possible reasons have been provided below:

• Service lapse
• Rude behavior of the staff
• Unresponsiveness of the front desk
• The mood of the guest
• Compromised cleanliness and upkeep
• Faulty amenities
• Bad odor
• Bad experience in hotel

How Hotels Can Avoid Negative Reviews

In service-oriented industries, no matter how hard you try, sometimes it's just not possible to cater to the needs of every consumer/customer. Even if you are at the top of your game, things do not always go according to plan and as per your liking. It becomes even more significant in the context of the hospitality industry as it primarily revolves around the satisfaction level of your guest. A top-notch service does not always guarantee success or a pleasurable experience for your guest, as a minute lapse in concentration is often enough to trigger your guests and land you a negative review. This often leads to hotels shunning negative reviews completely.

You need to realize that bad reviews are a part of the modern hotel business and having a proper strategy to deal with them can often turn the situation in your favor. It is also important to understand that a seamless guest experience commences even before the arrival of your guests. Even though personalization as an element is essential for providing a good impression of yourself, the ability to anticipate the needs and requirements of your guests is also equally important before their arrival. It allows you to make prior arrangements much before the arrival of the customer and in the context of the hospitality industry, it is regarded as the “pre-arrival” experience.

Eventually, all of this, helps in creating a good impression and as we are all aware, a good first impression goes a long way in establishing a good relationship. At the same time, it helps avoid negative reviews online for your hotel.

Hacks To Avoid Bad Hotel Reviews

1. Understand The Various Stages In The Guest Journey

The best way to understand your customers’ psychology is by going through the hotel guest journey map that lays out the crucial touchpoints or stages, starting from the pre-arrival to post check-out. Examine and assess the behavioral patterns and characteristics of the guests associated with each of these stages that will be almost equivalent to connecting the dots in keeping the guests satisfied and happy at each of the markers.

For instance,

→ For a guest looking to know whether or not you offer continental breakfast at the booking stage, expedite your communication process to keep them engaged.
→ For a guest who is about to make a visit, an email with a booking confirmation and additional information can be helpful at the pre-arrival stage.
→ For a guest who has just checked-in, a digital concierge page stating the house-rules and information about the amenities, weather, location, things-to-do, nearby attractions, room service, special services, etc. can come as something extremely valuable and handy.
→ For a guest who complains about the clogged toilet during their stay, sending the necessary help to do the needful on the spot can mean the world.

2. Do Not Just Keep It Confined To The First Impression

You’re highly mistaken if you think that you can win over your guests simply by providing a stellar first impression! While the significance of leaving a fabulous first impression is immeasurable, things just do not stop here. They extend way beyond by spreading their tentacles over all the stages of guest journey. In fact, they start right before the guest even arrives at your doorstep.

From the booking stage itself, give your guests every reason to book with you. Hence the first impression concept should not be treated as a dead end. Instead it should be looked upon as more of a consistent process, leading to a favorable outcome in the form of a beautiful, optimistic reviews.

3. Keep Checking Up On Your Guests

Even though all the stages are to be treated with massive care and attention, a mid-stay checking up can work wonders and have a crucial bearing on deciding the final outcome (no bad hotel reviews) to a great extent. Most of the guests often hesitate to bring up the issues they’ve been facing to the front-desk unless asked by the latter.

So, the question is how would you read their thoughts? By employing tools like Guest Messaging, you can listen to your guests' feedback, know about their experience so far and in case it's not up to the par, a mid-stay feedback has enough potential to summon an instant damage control that could lead to a great service recovery. Sounds like a plan, isn’t it?

Hotel Bad Reviews-Avoid Them At All Costs

4. Ask For It, Asking Helps!

More often than not, guests would not be bringing up their issues... even till the last stage! But enabling your staff to initiate the task of asking can help deal with a negative review from guests in person rather than on online platforms. After all, you can't just sit forever letting them vent their frustrations online with a scathing remark on your service. Plus, there’s always a personal touch attached to a face-to-face interaction holding a great power to establish trust and pacify the disgruntled guests, at least to an extent that they won’t be posting a negative review.

5. Be Transparent About Things

Even if your service can be up to the mark and more than great for the guests, there’s still something that can put them off and lead them to type bad hotel reviews online. And what’s that? It can be the lack of transparency on your part regarding some of the SOPs. More often guests lower their overall rating on your service citing reasons like lack of transparency and inadequate information stemming from reasons like “no information about the loud construction next door,” the site didn’t mention anything about no breakfast,” “they didn’t mention anything about an extra charge on my card,” “the photos on the website were quite misleading,” etc, So keep your website and social media up to date and help your guests procure as much information as possible before you heighten their expectations in an unrealistic manner.

6. Patiently Handle Your Guests’ Complaints

Listening to your guests' complaints patiently is an integral and critical step of guest satisfaction. Be all ears to your guests, when they are complaining, requesting, or suggesting. Maintaining a calm demeanor helps to provide an appropriate solution to the problem, while it also makes them listen to your solution. Active listening helps in avoiding any miscommunication and aids in addressing the issues.

Bad Hotel Reviews- Avoid Them At All Costs

7. Record You Guests' Preferences

Personalized guest experience is often considered a surefire way to please your guests. Advanced hotel management system can help in achieving this at a pretty good level. It saves your guest preferences along with their basic details. Whenever the guests come back, the system remembers this and alerts you to make arrangements accordingly. Even the smallest of the things such as their preferred newspaper, type of coffee they prefer, room view, their preferred room among others, etc.  are recorded in this system helping you host them more successfully on their next stay!

8. Let Your Actions Speak Louder

Learning from the past negative reviews can be a great way of bringing about the improvements in the present state of reviews. For instance, if guests in the past had harped on getting a 'remodel' done, listen to that bandwagon call after you have traced ample evidence behind it emerging as the primary reason behind your low, deprecating ratings. A nice remodel can lend your property with a fresh lease of life and can improve your ranking on online platforms to a great extent with more refreshing, approving and acknowledging reviews.


How to get rid of bad reviews is an ongoing struggle! While negative reviews are frowned upon by accommodations due to their increasingly toxic impact on the brand image and reputation, there are millions of ways on this planet that can help you keep these reviews at a distance, if not eliminate them completely. To dive into this, you will first need to pin down the reasons holding the Herculean power to shake your stability with a bombarding of bad hotel reviews. Once you have the reasons drilled down, it is time to act upon each of them and incorporate those improvisations meticulously throughout the various stages of the guest journey.

With GuestTouch, Treat Negative Reviews Like They Never Existed

Negative reviews can be hurtful but how about treating them in a way that it does not deviate your focus from the vital areas? With GuestTouch, enhance your brand’s reputation 5x times with more positive reviews and timely responses to all types of reviews (positive, negative and mixed). Automate your responses or simply approve the responses with smart prompt features. What’s the end result? A tremendously lower negative review count, almost equivalent to what we define as “healthy” and “negligible.”

Curious to know more? Take a free demo today!

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Posted on
April 19, 2021

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