TripAdvisor

Top tips when responding to reviews on TripAdvisor

By Brian Payea, Head of Industry Relations at TripAdvisor.

"Should hoteliers and other business owners respond to comments: the good, the bad and the ugly?

The unequivocal answer is yes, and your brand's engagement can make all the difference in how your customers perceive your business... the vast majority of your customers will expect you to have a presence online, and they will have a better overall impression of your business if you demonstrate that you are listening and taking their comments to heart...

The following are a few tips that have worked well for many of [Trip Advisors] partners:

1. Respond quickly.

A timely response is expected and appreciated. It shows you are attentive and receptive to feedback, and it leaves a lasting impression. Also, the more quickly you respond, the greater the number of people who read your comments.

2. Keep the tone professional, whatever the concern.

Whether the review is critical or glowing, your reply should always be polite and professional, just as you would handle any other customer service reply.

It can be tempting to respond harshly to criticism, but it is best not to lose sight of the fact that your audience is hundreds, if not thousands of potential customers, as well as the individual reviewer.

The vast majority of people recognize that not all customers raise reasonable concerns, and not everything will always be perfect.

They will give you a lot of credit for offering a courteous and thoughtful explanation, especially when the criticism is unwarranted. This is your chance to set the record straight.

3. Avoid jargon.

Don't be tempted into using online jargon. The use of ALL CAPS, HTML tags or excessive typographic symbols, can appear abrasive or result in miscommunication.

4. Highlight positive changes and updates.

Use the opportunity to communicate new improvements you've made to your business. If you've addressed a situation that has generated comments from customers, it's important to state that you've taken their feedback seriously and made positive changes.

5. Be careful of individual privacy.

Your responses should never contain the personal information of any person, including names, addresses, phone numbers or other information that may be used to identify an individual.

6. Be original.

Customers don't respond well to stock answers. They appreciate an individually tailored response, because they will realise that you are addressing their particular situation.

It is tempting to post material from other sources that support your point of view, but customers prefer direct and unique comments from you. It's especially important to avoid posting correspondence from another guest.

7. Show gratitude.

Gratitude builds goodwill. Management responses are great opportunities to tell guests and customers that you are thankful for their positive comments, as well as their constructive feedback.

Don't hesitate to let people know you appreciate them. It goes a long way.

Wrap-up

Following these steps can help you maintain a positive reputation online. Remember that, while you may be responding to one reviewer, thousands of others may read your comments and form opinions about you and your brand.

Make sure they know you run a respectful, attentive and thoughtful business.

Your customers will appreciate your interest."
(Brian Payea, Head of Industry Relations at TripAdvisor)