How to Respond to the Breakfast Related Hotel Reviews During COVID-19 (Real Examples)

September 9, 2020
breakfast related hotel reviews banner

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast

-Robert. A. Heinlein

“Miss waiting for that less fancy room clock at the hotel to show 9 am?”
“Miss getting ready for the hotel breakfast buffet?”
“Miss making your own waffles?”
“Miss your much desired “bed-and-breakfast?”
“Miss waking up and smelling the instant coffee?”
“Miss that extremely delicious and filling continental breakfast?”

77% of guests view breakfast as very important during their stay!

Not only is breakfast the first important meal of the day but also an important amenity while staying at a hotel. No matter how big a resort is, if the breakfast offered there is not up to par, it might even alter the guest’s decision to return to the property in the future!
In the wake of COVID-19, hotels have been compelled to go “contactless” to ensure that guest safety is their primary area of focus, even if they cannot afford to keep up with their previous luxurious guest experience trend. The outbreak has put certain limitations on some of the facilities that the hotels earlier offered seamlessly to their guests for an out-of-the-world experience.

With the changing travelers’ expectations, even the tone and sentiment of online guest reviews have changed. How? Earlier, the breakfast related hotel reviews would have only been about the selection, (in)adequacy of the meal, less or no information about breakfast timings, no coffee refills, overall breakfast quality, etc. But today one more factor has been added to the repertoire- “the fact that the hotel does not offer breakfast and also the selection of the breakfast that it previously offered.”

Even though most of the guests understand well the reason behind the now “lost breakfast,” the fact is that it will always remain one of the most fundamental and much-desired amenities for them. For some guests, it is still crucial to come to terms with this whole idea of hotels suspending their breakfast service for the time being.

But this concern still makes sense as breakfast tradition has not been completely obliterated by COVID-19. There might not be a tradition per se, but the breakfast amenity is still offered to the guests on a small scale, in the form of a grab-and-go meal, packed meal, single served, room delivered, tap-and-order, etc. which very well accommodates the new health regulations as well as the employee and guest safety concerns. Based on these adjustments, it is natural on the part of the guests to expect that they would still be provided with breakfast. At least, it’s still possible for the properties to provide breakfast even when they adopt the whole of this “going contactless” initiative!

……But again,

All fingers are not the same!

Reviews are equally important to maintain your online reputation. They can make or break your business! Based on whatever measures you have adopted or will be adopting, keep the guests updated, and use the responses to your breakfast related hotel reviews as a medium to convey your message across, professionally and politely.

Listed below are the tips with responses to common breakfast related hotel reviews (both positive and negative) during COVID-19

Let us first tackle the more crucial ones, the negative guest reviews on breakfast—

Negative Scenarios: Responding to Breakfast Related Hotel Reviews

#1 No Matter How Negative, Fake Or False, Always Respond To A Review!

breakfast related hotel reviews respond to negative and fake reviews

“85% of individuals say a hotel’s thoughtful response to an online review improves their impression of it.”

And what can be a quick fix to resolve a negative situation, at the very outset? A well-crafted, professional response! No matter how overstated the concern is or how fake or false the review is, you must first respond to it and then proceed with the additional steps like flagging a fake review (as per guidelines on various platforms) or inviting the unhappy or mistaken guest for an elaborate offline discussion!

Below are a few guidelines or normal review response etiquette you can keep in mind when responding to negative reviews:

• Start with a thank you. Be grateful for the feedback.
• Acknowledge the concern.
• Apologize instantly for the dissatisfaction caused.
• Avoid using defensive language.
• If there are any discrepancies, educate the reviewer in a manner that is polite and professional.
• Outline the measures taken to resolve this concern.
• If need be, invite for a discussion of the issue offline through private communication.
• End it on a positive note and apologetically with the assurance that their next stay would be better.

Coming to the real breakfast issue, you can respond to a simple negative breakfast related hotel review by using the above-mentioned tips:
no breakfast in hotels during covid reviews

 

For instance,

WilI not stay again!
Rating: 5/10
By: Julia


“Good but guess what? No breakfast!”

 

Your response,

Dear Julia,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about your recent stay. While we are delighted to learn that you had a good stay overall, we apologize profusely for the only gripe you faced. We know we don’t have to tell you this, but the global outbreak has completely flipped the world upside down having affected virtually every industry. Being no exception to all of this, we’ve been equally forced to adjust to the “new” normal. Since guest safety is the primary area of focus right now, we are being extra cautious. In our initial opinion, one of the ways in which this could be achieved was by suspending the breakfast service temporarily. Therefore, forgive us for not being able to deliver on your expectations this time. But realizing the significance of this aspect for the guests during their stay, we will definitely see what can be done about that. In any case, we assure you that once things have become normal and when it is safe for us to do so, we’ll be rolling out this feature again to make sure that our guests’ experience is as seamless and enjoyable as before. We hope that you will trust us with that by giving us another chance!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#2 Apologize And Empathize

breakfast related hotel reviews empathize and apologize
Well, you’re not really at fault for having suspended the breakfast service for a while, keeping in mind the guests’ safety (quite altruistic!) However, keeping yourself in the shoes of the guests will help see the situation from their perspective too. Accept that breakfast is important for whoever stays with you, right from the solo travelers to families. Hence an apology is a must for having disappointed your guests, in your breakfast related hotel reviews which again, is a way of empathizing with them. It goes off to show that you acknowledge their concern as something sensible rather than dismissing it as some sort of a baseless whim!
hotel not providing breakfast during virus reviews

 

For instance,

Do not come here!
Rating: 4/10
By: Vladimir


“Disappointed. Didn’t even provide us breakfast!”

 

Your response,

Hi Vladimir,

Thank you for taking the time to share with us your feedback which will assist us towards betterment. We apologize greatly for the fact that your experience with us didn’t match your expectations. Back in March, the global outbreak brought everything to a complete halt, forcing us to do away with our conventions and normal practices. With visitors becoming increasingly concerned about their safety during the stay, it compelled us, in a way, to temporarily close the breakfast buffet at our property, leading us to adapt to the “new” normal. But at the same time, we acknowledge your concern and we agree that it makes total sense. After all, there’s a particular pleasure to the travel ritual of waking up in cozy hotel sheets and heading downstairs to a fully-stocked morning meal service. We empathize with you in this regard and while we wait for the things to take a positive turn, we’re already at work regarding the new “contactless” breakfast feature which could be introduced to add more value to the overall guest experience. We request you to trust us and our timing, allowing us to drive our efforts in a more positive direction for it to meet the best results. We hope that you’ll give us another chance to make it up to you!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#3 Be Transparent With Your Guests

breakfast related hotel reviews be transparent with guests

Sometimes apologizing and dismissing the matter with a “We’ll look into it” is just not enough! While you empathize with them, use your online breakfast related hotel reviews as an opportunity to explain to the guests your reasons behind discontinuing the breakfast service temporarily. Is your business getting undermined, are other guests feeling paranoid about the whole breakfast thing, will you be resorting to other options instead of a buffet, are there new measures in the pipeline, etc. all of this needs to be conveyed to the guests in a manner which is polite, personalized, authentic and professional. As they say, ‘keep them in the loop!’

no contactless breakfast in hotels

 

For instance,

Okay
Rating: 5/10
By: Natasha


“No breakfast. Nowadays, “contactless” breakfast is also possible. Didn’t see a reason behind them not providing one.”

 

Your response,

Hello Natasha,

We appreciate you taking a part of your precious time and investing it into writing an honest review of your recent stay with us. We apologize for the inconvenience you faced due to the non-availability of breakfast. In the wake of COVID-19, our team has been persistently working towards providing our guests with a stay that is safe and “contactless.” Keeping this in mind, we have suspended some of our services for a while, which also includes the morning meal service. However, this is not the be-all and end-all! As COVID continues to wreak havoc, we have realized the increasing need to come to terms with this “new” normal. While we continue doing so, we are in the process of rolling out certain new features which would also include breakfast-on-the-go and ordering the meals by using an a-la-carte digital menu. There was a time when our breakfast amenity used to fetch us so many positive reviews but as things have come to a halt, for the time being, we are still trying our best to keep up with that for the convenience of our guests. We request your cooperation in this regard and we assure you that once the changes have been finalized, we will also update it on our website to educate the guests about what’s in for them. We hope that you’ll give us another chance to earn back your business!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#4 Promise Rectifications In Cases Where Less Or No Information Was Provided

breakfast related hotel reviews rectifications made

Often there are times when guests are pretty okay with the entire idea of having no breakfast but what irks them the most is the hotel’s carelessness in not informing them in advance about this: “If only we knew about it!”

While this is a tough time for all the hoteliers to secure bookings and raise the level of occupancy, more than that it is essential to be transparent about what all services you will be offering and what all measures you’ve been taking.
If your website reflects no information on the latest guidelines or at least about the temporary discontinuation of the breakfast service, be prepared to receive such complaints in your online reviews. This counts as a breach of faith. Hence apologize for that in your breakfast related hotel reviews and promise a rectification, making it a point to convey the right amount of information to the guests and at the right time.

 

For instance,

No way
Rating: 3/10
By: Karl Chekhov


“Terrible! They didn’t offer breakfast due to COVID. Perfectly understandable! But informing us beforehand surely wouldn’t have cost them a dime.”

 

Your response,

Dear Mr. Chekhov,

We thank you for your much-valued feedback. We apologize profusely for the inconvenience you faced due to the lack of information in advance about the non-availability of the breakfast service. While we thank you for your extreme cooperation in this regard, especially during the tempestuous times that we’re all witnessing, we undeniably agree that your concern makes total sense. The onus is on us and taking a cue from your valuable feedback, we will definitely make the necessary improvements in this regard, just so that our guests are already prepared beforehand about the fact that breakfast has been discontinued by us for the time being. We will make sure that our website reflects the latest guidelines and measures we’ve been taking in this regard. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. You’ve done us a great favor by bringing into light the areas where improvement is necessary for seamless guest experience and communication, especially during such tough times. Once again, we are sorry for all our shortcomings and we request you to give us another chance to resolve this and to provide you a more successful experience in the future!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#5 Take A Step Further By Asking The Guests’ Preferences Or Suggestions In Making The Situation Better

Even though the crisis has been affecting your business, there’s still a way out. There are so many ways to make the whole breakfast thing work without really taking it away. For the lack of better suggestions, you can use your online reviews as a platform to invite guests for further interaction by asking them to give in their valuable suggestions regarding how to make it work, just so they’d be comfortable. Asking for guests’ suggestions indicates that you believe in making improvements and are at least willing to get started. Constructive feedback is what you should be accepting.
hotel guests ask about why no breakfast in their reviews

 

For instance,

Pleasant
Rating: 6/10
By: P Lawrence


“Nice rooms! But why no breakfast?”

 

Your response,

Hi P Lawrence,

We were happy to host you at our hotel recently! Thank you for reaching out to us with your precious feedback. We are pleased to learn that you liked the rooms, and had a pleasant experience overall. However, we are sorry that we could not provide you breakfast due to the ongoing crisis. But that being said, all hope’s not lost! Our team is striving hard to bring about the necessary improvements in all the aspects, step-by-step to ensure that the need to go “contactless” which is the need of the hour is met properly, without really compromising on the great guest experience. Your feedback matters to us and we’d really appreciate it if you could suggest a few useful measures which can help us carry on with the breakfast service by ensuring the protocol of social distancing. What we do is for the guests, and so it’s best if it comes out directly as input from their side itself. Do let us know your comments and thoughts on the same. We’ll be happy to hear it from you. We thank you for choosing us and we look forward to welcoming you again shortly!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

Other Common Or Recurring Scenarios

In this regard, we also have a few common scenarios or actual cases where guests might state their dislike towards breakfast even if that amenity is still being offered by the hotels. Here is what usually happens:

#1 Guests Complaining About The Breakfast Selection

breakfast related hotel reviews breakfast selection buffets

With breakfast getting almost out of the list, for the time being, there are hotels still trying their level best to keep the service on by providing a “minimalist breakfast” to their guests. However, a guest used to a large spread or lavish buffet might not find it very appealing to satiate their breakfast hunger with a small bag consisting of one whole fruit, a juice or drink, one granola or energy bar chaperoned by a small piece of muffin, sweet roll or croissant.

unsatisfactory hotel breakfast selection

 

For instance,

Poor breakfast
Rating: 2/10
By: Alida


“Well, you don’t call it a breakfast with a small bag of two muffins, yogurt, a juice, and a granola bar.”

 

Your response,

Dear Alida,

Thank you for reviewing your recent stay with us. We’re always on the lookout for guests sharing their honest concerns with us and assisting us in making the possible future changes. We’re sorry if you did not like the new breakfast selection! From an accommodation serving sprawled buffets, we have been compelled to bring it all down to a minimalist breakfast. Earlier, we intended to stop the breakfast service altogether for the time being. But realizing that the first-meal of the day is as important to the guests as the other factors like cleanliness, room-amenities, location, etc., we have taken this initiative to roll out a grab-and-go breakfast which is quite minimalist. But consider it as just the beginning as we are still trying to adjust to this whole new setting where the safe stay is the key and the need of the hour. There is room for improvement and we’re gradually planning to progress with each passing phase. Once again, we’re sorry for not being able to satisfy you completely with such a minimalist selection. But we request you to give us another chance to make your next stay highly enjoyable and extremely memorable!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#2 Guests Complaining About Not Being Able To Deliver On Their Breakfast Expectations

breakfast related hotel reviews inadequate breakfast

When big hotel chains do whatever it takes to bring about the new improvements, it does have an impact on the general guest psychology: “If they could do this, why can’t you?”
However, for small and mediocre accommodations, it sometimes becomes challenging to deliver on guests’ expectations compared to what their superior counterparts are doing. In this case, you can politely pacify your guests through your breakfast related hotel reviews or bring to the light your thoughts which are still in the pipeline to make your breakfast service not just operational but also better!

complaints regarding hotel breakfast

 

For instance,

Please go elsewhere
Rating: 5/10
By: Oscar


“Good service, great location. But one can’t call it a day without breakfast!”

 

Your response,

Dear Oscar,

Thank you for your latest impression of the stay at the property. We’re glad to hear that you found the location convenient and appreciated the sweet service rendered by our team. It was truly an honor to host you and your family! However, we apologize for not being able to meet your expectations, as far as the breakfast service was concerned. COVID-19 has imposed certain limitations on our standard operating procedures, leading us to put certain services on hold for a while. While we have temporarily suspended the gymnasium and pool services, as a part of safety and health regulations, we have also suspended the breakfast service for a while. This is to minimize the possible risk of transmission due to the ongoing situation. But we value your feedback and our team is already at work to reintroduce the breakfast service pretty soon, this time in a different way, where safety would be the primary area of focus. Going absolutely “contactless” is a new initiative and quite unprecedented. Hence implementing and incorporating it on a gigantic scale will require some time. But we assure you that once we have finalized the plan, we will be rolling out our revamped version of the breakfast service soon which will help you get back to us once more for a perfect stay. We hope that you will support us and return to us in the soonest time!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#3 Guests Complaining About Their Assumption That Breakfast Would Be A Sure-Shot From Your End

breakfast related hotel reviews guests expecting breakfast

There are times when some guests might express extreme dissatisfaction over online reviews, stemming from their own assumption that breakfast would be as operational at your property as it had been earlier. While this doesn’t count much as your fault, take this opportunity to educate guests about the measures you have been taking and how the same are being flashed on your website. Make sure that you equally train your front-desk to pass on this information beforehand to their guests, as soon as they check-in to avoid any sort of misunderstanding during the rest of the stay.

guests speculating the hotel breakfast availability

 

For instance,

Great stay
Rating: 9/10
By: Jacob Davis


“Nice rooms, clean property. But we were surprised to find that there was no breakfast. We speculated that it’d be available.”

 

Your response,

Dear Mr. Davis,

Thank you for your glowing review. We are ecstatic to hear that you had a great stay overall and found the property immaculate! Thank you for appreciating the way the rooms were. Nothing makes us happier than guests leaving with a first-rate experience. However, we are sorry for the only gripe you faced. Due to the global outbreak, we have discontinued providing breakfast keeping in mind the safety and overall guest concern. This is one of the temporary measures that we have adopted recently to fight against the ongoing crisis, thereby keeping our guests safe, without really compromising on their overall experience. For the convenience of our visitors, we have updated our website too with information about these latest guidelines and measures adopted by us. Our booking confirmation email also states the same through an attached PDF just so that the guests are well-aware of the new protocols and changes before their arrival. We regret the inconvenience caused to you. We hope that you have the necessary clarification now which we believe would be helpful for you in planning your next stay with us. Please feel free to write back to us in case of further queries or assistance. Our team would be happy to help you out!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

Positive Breakfast Related Hotel Reviews: Basic Response Etiquettes

• Thank the guests for their feedback.
• Acknowledge their positive appraisal.
• Do not make it all about you.
• Give them the credit for motivating you to do better with each passing day.
• Share your thoughts about relevant future improvements or initiatives (if possible).
• Encourage them to come back with an enticing closing statement. Examples: “We thank you for choosing us and we can’t wait to host you again,” “It will be our pleasure to host you once more,” “Please do not hesitate to call us if you happen to be in the area again,” “We hope to see you again in the soonest time,” etc.

“42% of guests who are satisfied with the quality of a hotel’s breakfast are likely to come back!

Positive Scenarios: Responding to Breakfast Related Hotel Reviews

#1 Guests Appreciating A Hotel For Sticking To Safety Norms By Not Offering Breakfast

breakfast related hotel reviews appreciating the safety norms

There will be times when some guests would cooperate and support your decision of temporarily suspending the breakfast service. After all, safety matters!

breakfast related hotel reviews no breakfast policy appreciated

 

For instance,

Loved my stay!
Rating: 10/10
By: Mariah


“Amazing stay, amazing staff! Happy that no breakfast was provided for safety reasons.”

 

Your response,

Dear Mariah,

Thank you for your heartwarming review of the recent stay with us. We’re glad that you had a top-shelf stay and appreciated our staff service. Our staff would be equally pleased to learn of your high praise. Again, we are grateful to you for your cooperation and understanding in terms of breakfast service discontinuation for the time being. Customer satisfaction and safety rank topmost on our list of priorities and as the global outbreak continues to throw new challenges on our way, we’re quite confident about battling against all these odds with the support received from our guests and our very own team. We thank you for your trust and patience. Surely, we’d strive hard to deliver such great experiences consistently. See you soon!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#2 Guests Appreciating The Switches Hotels Have Been Making To Provide A "Contactless” Breakfast

It is still possible for the hotels to continue with their morning meal ritual by making it all “contactless.” Be it in the form of an a-la-carte or breakfast-on-the-go, some guests are highly likely to appreciate even the bare-minimum efforts you’ve been making to make sure that the breakfast prerogative is not entirely being tossed into the nearest trash bin.

breakfast packed meals for hotel guests

 

For instance,

Will return
Rating: 8/10
By: Cindy Johnson


“Minimalist and contactless breakfast. But loved the effort made by them to leave no stone unturned in providing their guests with breakfast. Will stay again!”

 

Your response,

Dear Ms. Johnson,

Many, many thanks for your supreme response. We’re extremely delighted to learn that you had a great stay and loved the efforts made by us to provide our guests with a seamless experience even amidst such chaos that has engulfed the entire world. Realizing that one can’t really call it a day without breakfast, our team has been relentlessly working towards the task of trying their best to keep up with the breakfast service. We don’t want our guests to leave thinking that their stay with us was only satisfactory or incomplete. While grab-and-go breakfast is just the first step in this direction, we are still working on taking this to another level by offering an a-la-carte room breakfast menu. We thank you for your extreme cooperation. This is almost like a proverbial pat on the back for us, motivating us to do better and better. We look forward to having you here with us once more!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#3 Guests Appreciating The Idea Of Breakfast-On-The-Go Or Packed Meals

breakfast related hotel reviews minimalist breakfast

With “No Contact” featuring topmost on everyone’s list right now, it might be a good idea to win your visitors with various contactless breakfast serving options by using your breakfast related hotel reviews as a strong medium. Doing so might just increase your chances of scoring for yourself more positive reviews online.

hotels providing breakfast on the go during Covid

 

For instance,

Cool
Rating: 9/10
By: Mark


“Did provide breakfast; a packed meal version. Highly appreciate that.”

 

Your response,

Hello Mark,

Thank you for dropping us a beautiful review of your recent experience at our property. So happy to hear that you had a great stay! We are delighted to learn that you appreciated the latest provisions made by us to provide our guests with breakfast. It’s been a rough ride while making the switch from extravagant buffets to the packed meals. But one has to adjust to the “new” normal. We are still at work, with more of such arrangements in the pipeline to ensure that our guests have a safe and exciting stay with us. We thank you for your continued trust and support, and we look forward to welcoming you again soon!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

Conclusion

Breakfast does not only bring value to a guest but also serves as a medium to generate incremental revenue for small properties. Everyone appreciates a little extra in the morning and a good breakfast can cheer your guests up. So what if the large spreads and elaborate buffets have been replaced by a-la-carte menus and packed breakfast bags? You can still make it work by offering a pre-packaged homemade burrito or sandwich. You can still make it work by offering breakfast contactlessly in rooms. So do not mourn the loss of some of the vital aspects of your breakfast buffet. Instead, divert that energy into reaping more technical benefits which will make sure that you’re still in a position to provide your guests with their much-desired meal of the day. All this will add up to one thing: amazing, positive reviews. After all, reviews are the golden egg at your hotel, and protecting those eggs should be one of your goals.

• • •

Your Online Presence And Reviews Impact Your Bottom Line!

And especially more, during such unprecedented times!

We, at GuestTouch, understand hoteliers’ need to continue providing a seamless experience to their guests even amid such unprecedented times. We help hotels get reviews easily, manage reviews on the go, and respond to reviews professionally across search and OTAs to stand out and drive bookings consistently. With GuestTouch, stand out and instill confidence In travelers, researching their next stay, with hand-crafted, personalized responses to your online reviews.

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