Manage Criticism Well: Here's How To Respond To A Bad Hotel Review

What’s in it for me?

If you’re skimming through a whole bunch of hotel negative reviews by providing mediocre, robotic, and one-size-fits-all responses, it’s time to revamp and up your review response game. Dealing with a bad review today? This post will guide you with real examples of how to respond professionally to every bad review along with a touch of personalization.

Criticism in the form of a bad hotel review

All guest experiences are not perfect, and all customers do not leave a review after a hotel visit. 

A bad hotel review is both a boon to utilize and a crisis to manage. By learning the best way to respond to a bad review for your hotel, you can reinvent your establishment’s identity.

While 75% of businesses opt to ignore negative hotel reviews received online, over 50% of those reviewers expect a quick response to their submissions. So, you can bring out the smart play and get started on how to respond to a bad review to boost your business.

Even if you are at the end of the worst hotel review, there’s a knack for how you craft bad reviews response answers. The perfect response to a bad review of hotel services should repair the relationship with the unhappy customer and make a great impression on a potential customer.

Advice #1: Never Ignore A Bad Hotel Review

Ignoring a bad review of your property

A survey of TripAdvisor users has shown that over 60% are influenced to make a booking if management promptly responds to hotel negative reviews.

  • Why Respond to Negative Reviews

Let’s take a look at the impact created by hotel bad reviews.

Review: Room 321’s furniture was full of dust. The ottoman was stained and looked disgusting. The bathroom sink in the lobby was so dirty. I requested the front desk staff to have it cleaned around 1 p.m. At 5:30, when we were finally able to check in, the sink still looked horrible. They did not bother to clean it.

This sends a message about the poor quality of cleanliness and customer service in the hotel. The vital question here is how to tackle such a bad hotel review! You can minimize the impact created by this review with a well-crafted personalized reply like the one below:

Response: Dear David, thank you for sharing feedback on your visit. We are extremely sorry to hear that your stay at our hotel could not satisfy you. Our housekeeping team is responsible for cleaning all rooms and upgrading the amenities regularly, so we will inquire as to why they did not maintain the same services for your room. We are sorry about the behavior of our front desk staff regarding the dirty bathroom sink in the lobby. We want to reassure you that your experience is not typical of what our guests receive, and we are taking your comments very seriously. We shall take all measures required to rectify the conditions in the hopes of having you back as a contented guest.

The response begins with showing gratitude for their criticism. After conveying a heartfelt apology for the guest’s bad experience, the next step is to show that the customer care team will look into the cause and work on the issue. This is followed by sharing the regret for a specific matter while covering the poor staff services and the unclean facility mentioned in the bad hotel review. 

What’s left is to leave a good impact in the eyes of potential customers through your hotel’s reviews. The assurance that this type of experience is not usual and that the hotel will take up the responsibility to rectify the situation is a meaningful gesture, greatly influencing the viewer’s decision. Finally, sharing the hope of serving a delightful guest experience on their next visit also invigorates the reviewer to reconsider their feelings about the hotel.

Today’s world is measured and analyzed digitally. Online reputation matters most, and learning how to respond to a bad performance review in writing is the tactful approach. An apology for a guest’s experience goes far beyond a tepid explanation to justify the issues. 

A bad hotel review can cost you your reputation

When creating a response to bad review template, it must possess certain qualities like being thankful, apologetic, and assuring. Even if you have a justification for a complaint, it should be worded well so that the tone does not come off as defensive or aggressive. 

21% of guests are more likely to leave a review after a negative experience at a hotel than a positive one. Critical feedback and crass responses are a poor combination that can damage your hotel’s reputation. So, you should ensure that every response to a bad review is written well after due consideration. 

In addition, a bad hotel review helps you identify the areas of improvement you need to work on. This allows you to spruce up the guest experience in just the right places!

Advice #2: Hear Out Your Guests

Listen to your hotel guests’ feedback

Train your staff to communicate with guests for feedback during their stay and at check-out time. Know them as they express their dislikes and reassure them that those issues will be promptly dealt with. Such an interaction can help reduce the possibility of a negative review posted online from their side.

With tools like guest messaging, a bad review can be kept at bay as obtaining mid-stay feedback becomes easier for possible service recovery

  • Crafting the Perfect Response

There are many powerful examples of how to respond to negative reviews. Feedback includes all the compliments, complaints, suggestions, and overall performance. You should make sure that you try confronting all these matters. Let’s check out one of them before we take a peek at the tips and hints we suggest-

Review: They ought to be ashamed of themselves for allowing this property to look the way it does. The poor hotel manager works harder at night keeping the homeless away. The rooms are horrendous for the price. The rooms and pool need a total remodel - our lights were not working properly, and the mattress was uncomfortable. You should offer a Continental breakfast in the unused designated breakfast area. Have security or a security gate.

Now we will look at how to handle this bad hotel review.

Response: Dear Kameelah, I earnestly apologize from the bottom of my heart for your unsatisfactory experience at our hotel. We are greatly disappointed to know that our rooms, furniture, or facilities did not work well for you. We are sorry to hear that you felt our resources were unworthy of the price you paid. We shall look into the concerns you've mentioned to make sure that our rooms are adequately upgraded in terms of furnishings and maintenance. Our administration also recognizes that homeless people trespassing on hotel premises is a grave concern. We shall update our security measures to ensure the peace and comfort of our esteemed guests. We are sorry to have temporarily discontinued morning meal services, but we'll be sure to pick it up and provide our classic Continental breakfast as part of our extensive guest experience. Thank you for giving us a detailed account of your stay and sharing your feedback with us accordingly. Detailed reviews with criticism help us understand our strong and weak points, and thereby develop the quality of our guest experience. On that note, we request you give us another chance to rectify our errors and earn your beloved trust!

In this response to the negative review, the hotelier expresses their regrets and requests their guests to pardon the shortcomings in facilities and services. Meanwhile, the response also ensures that their concerns have been heard and will be addressed.

A bad hotel review can bring down your overall popularity ranking

 Acknowledging their suggestions also does a good job of smoothening their emotions. It is essential that you let them know through the response that you are grateful for opening up and would expect them to join you for another vacation to make up for the mishaps during the stay.

  • Setting Up the Response Template

After taking a look at how to respond to a bad review example, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

i.  Carefully read, understand and analyze the review

ii. Mark and note down the different issues mentioned

iii. Communicate with your staff about the validity of each problem

iv. Plan your response to tackle each point sensitively.

v. Acknowledge the difficulties and distress faced by guests.

vi. Always be careful to voice apologies as a priority.

vii. Personalize the response by addressing the reviewer by name

viii. Remember to express gratitude for the feedback

ix.  Make sure that you find a solution for the misgivings.

x.   Highlight your initiative to improve upon the drawbacks

xi.  Offer an explanation for the faults if required

While creating a certain template may not be applicable to every bad hotel review, these guidelines make it easier to manage them. Even for the worst hotel review ever, you can compose a fitting response by following these principles. 

Advice #3: Tackle Fake Reviews Respectfully

Fake bad hotel review

Fake reviews are a real thing, ironically. Learning how to respond to a negative false review is a demanding task. This is why it is crucial to communicate with your staff about the credibility of the reviews received. If it turns out that a fake review has been posted, you should type in a delicate response that calls out the untrue nature of the feedback while being respectful. This helps to shift the reader’s perception in the right direction.

Advice #4: Enhance the Guest Experience

Enhance the hotel guest experience with a positive impression

Managing criticism works great, but it’s not just about what can be done after you receive a low rating. There’s no better way to grow and improve your services than listening to honest guest feedback. Here’s how you can refine and upgrade the guest experience you offer:

A bad hotel review is more valuable to your online reputation. Keep an eye open for the most frequently reported matters and check up on them by deploying a reputation management tool regularly to ensure that things are running smoothly.

Advice #5: Understand What Not to Do

Avoid a bad hotel review

i. Do not respond in a defensive tone: Always tune your responses to be rational and empathizing. An inconsiderate or pitying stance in the reply may affect the message that is being conveyed.

ii. Do not ignore or take too much time to reply: Reviewers expect a quick fix regarding their complaints, and the same goes for responses to their feedback. Both customers and readers greatly appreciate a prompt reply.

iii. Do not neglect the issues: It is not enough that you just send a response to the review. What matters is following up on the specified complaints and resolving them.

iv. Do not make any commitments that cannot be kept: While it is required that guests need to be assured that their concerns are heard, serving an empty promise to improve facilities or services may backfire.

  • Tackling All at Once

Customers looking for a hotel have endless options to go through and an ample count of websites to make their booking. All these sites also offer the choice to post a review that will be displayed on their page. While you may wonder how to respond to a bad review on or how to respond to a bad review on Google, the bigger question is: how to manage all these reviews under one roof?

That is where online reputation software works its magic for you. You would get a one-stop solution for all your TripAdvisor bad hotel reviews and Expedia feedback. This helps you assess guest reviews, evaluate them for finer details, and organize them to respond accordingly- all in one place.

Advice #6: Acknowledge Even Negative Reviews Without Comments

Ratings-only reviews for hotels

You may get negative reviews without any comments. So, it is best to acknowledge their experience based on the rating, apologize in general, and ask for more feedback. This lets them know you are willing to hear them out and make the right changes, turning the odds in your favor.

Here’s what an ideal response to a 1-star rating as a bad hotel review sounds like:

Response: Dear Guest, we are disappointed to know that we could not make you feel welcome during your stay with us. It is deeply disheartening to learn that our facilities and services could not match your expectations. On behalf of the hotel administration, we are sorry for your bad experience, and we hope you accept our profound apologies for our shortcomings. As a hotel, we highly value guest feedback, as we understand there is always room for improvement. We would be immensely grateful if you could share detailed feedback about your stay and help us identify what can be done better. We look forward to hearing from you and learning how we can make this right.

Advice 7#: Acknowledge, Apologize, Address & Assure

Addressing a bad hotel review the right way

Customers who are looking to make a booking tend to rush through the top reviews on the site. A terrible review catches the eye and shifts their focus. Damage control is imminent and must be done professionally. Out of many hoteliers responding to a bad review examples, here are a few that stand out-

  • Overall Disappointment

Review: Worse place ever. It’s dirty. Don’t stay here. The employees are rude and make excuses more than trying to help the customer. Breakfast is a joke, with no coffee. It’s better off staying at some motel because at least it’s not $200+ for one night.

Response: Dear Guest, we are genuinely sorry to hear that you had a bad experience while staying at our hotel. Our main objective is to provide a clean, comfortable room for our guests, and we're disappointed that we couldn't do this for you. We understand from your comments that our staff was unprofessional and did not help you address your concerns. We apologize for their rude approach. We intend to take this episode very seriously, communicate with our team and arrive at a conclusion as to why such an unfortunate incident occurred. We are sorry that you felt our breakfast services were also poorly managed. We appreciate you bringing your grievances to our attention, as they will be addressed with our staff from the appropriate departments immediately. We hope to take all measures required to rectify the situation soon enough, so kindly give us time to sort this out peacefully.

  • Unprofessional Customer Service

Review: You'd better not charge me for this booking! You reserved a room, and the hotel called me to say they were full! I made other arrangements!

Response: Dear Paul, we are incredibly sorry that your reservation was canceled. We apologize for the hardships we have caused due to the lack of clarity from our end regarding our availability of rooms. We assure you that you will not be charged if you did not avail of our facilities after we canceled your booking. We are glad that you could make other arrangements for your stay. We regret that we could not welcome or serve you at our humble hotel, but we look forward to another chance to host you and deliver a lovely guest experience for your vacation!

  • Poor Property Maintenance

Review: Horrible place that looks like a jail, loud music, people outside with open windows. Full of graffiti and surrounded by homeless. Nothing against them, but definitely not the ideal place to go on a romantic retreat!

Response: Dear Guest, we are sorry that you had a substandard experience at our hotel. We realize that neither our property nor our surroundings were suitable for you and close to your expectations. We are incredibly sorry for your troubles, as customer service is of utmost importance to us. We sincerely apologize for the loud noise disturbance you mentioned as well. We must let you know that it pains us that you did not have a good time staying with us. Providing relaxing accommodation and pleasant services is what we're all about, and your dissatisfaction with choosing our hotel for a romantic retreat is heartbreaking. However, we assure you that we will look into our facilities and service, take the necessary measures and make the right changes to prioritize our guests' satisfaction and comfort. We regret that your visit to our hotel was not as fruitful as we wished it would be, and we apologize from the bottom of our hearts, hoping that you would kindly accept it. We understand that these instances have prompted you not to revisit our hotel, but we kindly request you give us another chance to compensate for our shortcomings and deliver an excellent guest experience.

  • Overcharging

Review: The beds were comfortable, and the rooms were clean. I checked in late and was tired. I didn’t have access to our confirmation page. The Desk Attendant said the booking didn’t account for our two children. So, he raised our rate from $12 to $173 w/ tax. The next day after we left, the confirmation page affirmed that we did account for the children. I don’t appreciate them trying to stick me with extra fees!

Response: Dear Lisa, I earnestly apologize from the bottom of my heart for the incident where you were charged extra. We understand that the rate was increased on account of the booking confirmation not including your two children, and we realize that this was an error on the part of our desk attendant. It is regretful that this issue was not resolved during your stay. We want to let you know that we do not overcharge our guests on purpose or hassle them with hidden fees. This was an honest mistake, and we would like to make it up to you on your next visit. Your comments show your liking for our clean rooms and comfortable beds, and we would like the chance to serve you again. Let us host you when you revisit our town, and we shall deliver a new and remarkable guest experience worth every penny!

These are a few great combination examples of negative reviews and suitable responses. In all these responses, you can witness an acceptance of the issue, a sincere apology, and an initiative to bring improvements. In short, every reply is an honest attempt to make the reviewer feel comfortable after a dissatisfying experience and an effort to leave a positive mark on any reader’s mind.

Overcoming Every Bad Hotel Review

Ask your hotel guests to leave you an online review

Manage your criticisms to improve your guest experience, ensure customer satisfaction, and maintain your reputation. A genuine negative review deserves a personalized response that takes responsibility for the hotel’s faults and respects the reviewer. It should be able to connect with the reviewer as an appropriate reply to their angst and disappointment. These review-response pairs are a statement of your hotel’s hospitality and accountability. Since they highly influence potential bookings, you must exercise extra care and concern when replying to a dissatisfied customer. 


While serving an exceptional guest package and getting admirable reviews to build public opinion is the first step, you must also be wary of dealing with bad experiences. This is where online reputation management plays a role in boosting your hotel sales and building a name. Bringing all these critical reviews on a single platform lets you deal with them quite efficiently. Gradually, you can make tremendous progress and rise through the ranks to earn your customers’ trust as a reputed hotelier in this massive industry.

So, make your mark in the world of hospitality with the help of excellent responses to all your reviews. Every guest deserves the best, and every hotel deserves a second chance!

With GuestTouch, Craft 100% Personalized Responses To Every Kind Of Review- Positive, Negative, Mixed, And Ratings-Only

Keep a bad hotel review at bay

Good or bad, it’s important to address feedback from your guests online. Review responses are a chance to provide customer service to the guests and additional context to others reading the responses.

  • Timely and professionally respond to all your hotel reviews across all major reviews and OTA platforms like Expedia, TripAdvisor,, Google, Medalia, etc.
  • Approve and publish responses or set parameters for auto-approval.
  • Provide your input with one tap

And Much More!

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Posted on
October 17, 2022

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