If you are in the hotel business, then you will be fully aware that a thick skin is often required.The rise of the internet and websites like Tripadvisor means that any guest with the merest of gripes can post a negative review with just a few simple clicks. However, social media is also a major source of comments and complaints from guests. Visitors with issues of all shapes and sizes can log on to Facebook or Twitter and deliver a devastating post the second they step off your premises (or perhaps even while they are still there).
Now, this might feel like a punch to the gut and leave you unsure of how to respond, but it is important that you remain calm and measured in the wake of such criticism. You must remember that this is the modern world in which we live and social media has made it easier than ever for people to complain. Every hotel will be hit by comments like this, so do not take it in any way, shape or form personally. An initial reaction may be to try to brush it under the carpet by deleting the comment. You certainly should not do this though. Not only does it pour fuel on the original commenter’s fire, but it also looks bad to the rest of your social media audience. If it’s spotted that you deleted the comment, then you will look as if you are at best precious to criticism, and at worst as if you have something to hide. Put simply, deleting the comment may be even more damaging than the original complaint.You may also want to get straight on the defensive.
Again, this is not a wise choice. Yes, you most definitely should respond to any criticism, but you should do so in a calm and well thought-out manner. Becoming involved in an argument via social media does not look at all professional and may discourage others from booking with your hotel. Instead, your response should be fair and delivered swiftly. If you wait too long then the original commenter is likely to become more and more irate, possibly bombarding your page with subsequent complaints.
So, it really is best to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible.When writing out your response, you should tailor the message to the individual and the complaint. Sending out a bog standard, one-size-fits-all response will not cut it.Not only that, but your response should include an apology. Even if you feel that the commenter does not have a right to feel aggrieved you should still offer an apology that their trip did not live up to their expectations and to the hotel’s high standards. That way you are appeasing the customer without stating that your establishment is in the wrong. In some cases in which you feel the consumer has a right to feel unhappy, then offering a token, perhaps a free night’s accommodation or a reduced rate, could be a good way of turning a disgruntled customer into a happy one.