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How to respond to negative reviews for hotel: Turning Lemons into Lemonade

bad hotel review

Received a negative review is not a good things for your business. But that is not the end of the world. In today post, we will let you know how to deal with a bad review for your hotel!

Huy Nguyen

September 25, 2023

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The Impact of Bad Reviews on a Hotel’s Reputation

In today’s age of social media and online reviews, a bad review can have a significant impact on a hotel’s reputation. According to a study by Beverley A. Sparks , Victoria Browning, 93% of travellers worldwide say online reviews have an impact on their booking decisions and many (63%) indicated they relied on reviews when making a hotel booking. This means that a single bad review can potentially deter a large number of potential customers from booking a stay at a hotel.

Negative reviews can harm a hotel’s reputation in several ways. Firstly, they can lower a hotel’s overall rating on review sites, making it less visible to potential customers. Secondly, negative reviews can damage a hotel’s branding strategy, making it less attractive to customers who may perceive it as a low-quality establishment. Finally, negative reviews can lead to a decrease in revenue, as fewer customers choose to book a stay at the hotel.

When it comes to the world of hospitality, a bad review for a hotel can feel like a punch in the gut. In today’s digital age, where online reviews wield considerable influence, a single negative comment can tarnish a hotel’s reputation. But fear not, digital marketers; there are ways to navigate this storm and even come out stronger on the other side. In this article, we’ll explore the art of handling bad reviews for hotels and turning them into opportunities for growth and improvement.

Dealing with bad review for business

How to respond to bad reviews for your business?

Step-be-step on how to respond with a negative review:

1. Reach out swiftly and thoughtfully with a very friendly way

Reach out to unhappy guests privately to understand their concerns better and find ways to make amends.

2. Apologize first, explain later

Start with a sincere apology: Use direct language like “I am truly sorry to hear about your experience at [Hotel/Restaurant/Shop/etc.]” or “It saddens me to learn that [specific issue from the review occurred].” Acknowledge their experience and show genuine empathy.

Avoid excuses or justifications: This puts you on the defensive and invalidates their feelings. Focus on their experience and show concern.

3. Taking Action to Address Underlying Issues

Don’t just acknowledge problems – fix them. Use bad reviews as a roadmap for making tangible improvements to your hotel’s services and amenities. The respondent should show the customer that their review is valuable and is being amended as fast as possible.

4. Showcasing Your Commitment to Improvement

Highlight your dedication to continuous improvement on your hotel’s website and social media platforms to reassure potential guests.

Examples of Responding to Negative Reviews

If you’re new to crafting responses to negative reviews or simply seeking some guidance, here are a couple of examples. The first pertains to a situation where the issue is related to something not easily changeable.

Example 1:

Dear Patrice,

We greatly appreciate your candid review of your recent stay at our hotel. Your feedback is of utmost importance to us as we continuously strive to enhance our guests’ experiences. Thank you for highlighting areas in the room that require updating.

We are excited to share that we have plans to make numerous improvements to our property in the coming months. This includes new mattresses, bed skirts, window treatments, carpeting, in-room amenities, and more. Our primary goal is to maintain a charming hotel that offers a well-maintained and comfortable environment.

We hope you would consider giving us another opportunity to serve you in the future. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at [email] if you’re open to experiencing our upgraded hotel. It would be a pleasure to personally welcome you back.

Warm regards,

Samuel W. | General Manager

In this response, the General Manager demonstrates a genuine concern for the guest’s experience and outlines the hotel’s plans for improvements. While immediate fixes may not be possible, this approach helps mitigate damage to the hotel’s reputation and opens the door to potentially mending the relationship with the unhappy guest.

Now, let’s consider a scenario where a guest writes a negative review despite the hotel’s efforts to address the issue. The focus here is on damage control.

Example 2:

Dear James,

We appreciate your continued communication regarding this matter. Ensuring the safety and security of our guests remains our top priority. As we discussed in our previous exchanges, our team has worked diligently, collaborating with the Cincinnati Police Department, to thoroughly investigate your claim. We regret that we haven’t been able to reach a resolution yet. If you have any additional information to share, please feel free to contact me directly at [email].

Best regards,

Justin G. | General Manager

This response underscores the hotel’s commitment to addressing the issue seriously and the extensive efforts made to resolve it. For prospective guests reading the review, it portrays the hotel’s dedication to ensuring a positive guest experience. Importantly, the tone remains professional and non-defensive.

Dealing with bad review for business

Response to 1-star review without any comment

It easy to known what is the bad experience that your guest have been though. But if you received a negative review without any comment, then how to deal with it?. Here’s a refined response strategy tailored for a 1-star rating in a hotel review:


Dear Guest,

We regret to learn that your experience with us fell short of your expectations, as indicated by your 1-star rating. Your feedback is invaluable to us, and we take it seriously. Our sincere apologies for not delivering the level of service and comfort we aspire to provide.

At [Hotel Name], we are dedicated to continuous improvement, and we understand that this journey requires active guest input. We genuinely appreciate your willingness to share your perspective. To assist us in addressing the specific issues you encountered, we kindly invite you to provide more details about your stay. Your insights will help us make the necessary enhancements and ensure a better experience for our future guests.

Thank you for your time and consideration. We eagerly await your response, eager to learn how we can rectify this situation and provide you with a more satisfying experience during any potential future stays.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
Digital Marketing Expert
[Hotel Name]

How to avoid bad reviews for your hotels?

Dealing with bad review for business

Maintain high service standards at all times

To avoid negative reviews, hotels must maintain high service standards at all times. This requires ongoing monitoring and improvement of service standards. Hotels can use technology to improve the customer experience, such as providing online check-in and check-out, or using chatbots to answer customer queries.

It is also important for hotels to invest in ongoing training and development for staff to ensure they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide excellent customer service.

See more: Tips to increase Google Review

Monitoring and Managing Your Online Reputation

Regularly check online review sites and social media channels to address issues promptly and maintain a positive online image.

Leveraging the Power of Positive Reviews

Positive reviews are your best allies in the battle against bad ones. Encourage happy guests to share their experiences online to balance out negativity.

Analysing and Learning from Criticism

Every negative review is a chance to learn and grow. Analyse recurring themes in complaints to identify areas for improvement.

Seek Feedback During the Guest’s Stay

As the saying goes, “Precaution is better than cure,” and this principle applies to handling hotel reviews as well. It’s not always necessary to wait until the end of a guest’s stay to request feedback. Instead, consider regularly asking, “Are you enjoying your stay, sir/madam?” whenever you encounter guests.

By actively seeking feedback during their stay, you give guests the opportunity to express any concerns or issues they may be facing. This proactive approach can help you address issues in real-time, significantly reducing the likelihood of negative reviews.

Relying solely on feedback after check-out may cause you to miss problems that guests encountered during their stay, which could ultimately result in negative hotel reviews.

Embracing Bad Reviews as Growth Tools

Bad reviews for hotels need not be a source of dread. Instead, view them as opportunities for growth and improvement. By understanding their impact, responding thoughtfully, leveraging positive feedback, and taking meaningful action, you can turn a bad review into a catalyst for positive change.

See more: Content Marketing for Hotels


  1. How can a bad review affect my hotel’s business?

A bad review can deter potential guests and harm your hotel’s reputation, resulting in lost revenue. It’s essential to address them promptly and professionally.

  1. Should I respond to bad reviews publicly or privately?

Always start by responding publicly to show you care about guest feedback. However, offer to continue the conversation privately to resolve the issue effectively.

  1. Can I have a bad review removed?

While you can’t usually remove bad reviews, you can request platforms to remove fake or defamatory ones. Focus on improving and accumulating positive reviews instead.

  1. How can I encourage guests to leave positive reviews?

Provide exceptional service and experiences to your guests, and don’t hesitate to politely ask them to share their positive experiences online.

  1. What if a bad review is untrue or exaggerated?

Respond professionally, addressing the specific concerns raised while maintaining a respectful tone. Other potential guests will appreciate your professionalism.

Now that you’re armed with strategies for dealing with bad hotel reviews, go out there and make every review an opportunity for growth and improvement. Remember, even the most successful hotels encounter hiccups; it’s how you handle them that sets you apart in the eyes of your guests and the digital world.

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