Negative feedback and guest complaints

Negative feedback and guest complaintsTimes they are a changing, and never has that been truer than in the area of negative feedback and guest complaints. Where people would in times gone by leave their feedback in a comment book placed within your holiday home and raise any issues over the phone during their stay, these comments and issues are now often left online once they get home for the world to see.

So what is the best way to address negative feedback or guest complaints made after they have left your holiday home, and the option of rectifying any issue is no longer on the table?

The TripAdvisor conundrum

Love it or loath it, TripAdvisor plays a large role in effecting the buying decisions of potential guests. Therefore any negative reviews need to be dealt with effectively, efficiently and also without emotion.

You should have a strategy and approach to Tripadvisor which should include the following:

  1. Having someone responsible for reviewing and responding to your reviews, both positive and negative.
  2. Have a time frame for responding to any ongoing reviews.
  3. Create a review process for any response to a negative review which brings in more than one person.

The final point is a key one here; when writing online it can be very difficult to denote tone, which means that in the majority of cases the person reading the response you’ve written (whether that’s the person that’s left the complaint or a potential guest) will apply their own perceived tone to it.

Ensuring that more than one person has read the response, and that it isn’t posted in haste, will help to ensure you’ve struck the correct chord.

Is it all lost or can the situation be resolved?

If a guest has left a negative review then it can be understandably difficult to not take it personally; you’ll spend a lot of time, effort and money in making your cottage a great place for guests to stay so any complaint can seem as somewhat of an attack.

Because of that the default position may be to revert to defense.  However, take some time to think how best to resolve the issue rather than pointing elements out to the contrary of what they’ve said.

Entering into conversation away from the public eye is a positive way of moving toward a resolution and away from an unseemly TripAdvisor spat, which can quickly and frequently, go viral.

If points they’ve made do need clarification make sure they’re made in a factual and non-emotive way.

What if they’re not made on Tripadvisor?

The question here is how to find them! Although TripAdvisor is a massive part of holiday home and tourism life, not all comments and reviews will be made through the platform.

You should regularly monitor your brand online through Google, Twitter and Facebook.

How to find recent mentions of your cottage on Google

When it comes to Google, try putting in the name of your cottage, or your website url (try both).  If you select ‘Tools’ which is just underneath the search box on Google and alter the ‘Any Time’ drop down to ‘Past week’ you will only be seeing new information added to Google in the last seven days.  This can be a great way of keeping on top of the vast search engine.

How to find mentions of your cottage on Twitter

Are you already using the third party application Hootsuite for Twitter? If not then here is a great reason to do so. Hootsuite provides quick and easy access to recent mentions of your holiday cottage from the millions of tweets made every hour.

You can do this in seconds by:

  • adding a tab / stream into the platform; and
  • setting the search to the name of your cottage.

This will let you see mentions of your cottage when they’ve not included your Twitter handle in their tweet. (These will appear automatically in your @mentions tab on Twitter).

For more information on adding columns to Hootsuite, take a look at these instructions:

How to find mentions of your cottage on Facebook

Last but not least; you can find mentions of your cottage on Facebook by using the simple search tool available on all profiles.

And once you’ve located the comments?

Once you have found any feedback and comments from your guests ensure you always respond. Do so in the same effective, efficient and non-emotive way as you should on TripAdvisor.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. For information on how specialist insurance can help protect your holiday home business, call us on 01237 429444

managing the reputation of your holiday letting property online

managing the reputation of your holiday letting property onlineTimes have changed; according to VisitEngland, a survey of 12,000 travellers revealed that 77% of people usually or always referenced TripAdvisor before selecting accommodation and 53% said they wouldn’t select somewhere that didn’t have reviews. Managing the reputation of your holiday letting property online is key to securing bookings.

The growing importance of managing the reputation of your holiday letting property online

A guest review can be the deciding factor when it comes to securing a booking. There are currently more than 720,000 TripAdvisor reviews on holiday cottages across the UK and the way in which you handle these, both good and bad, can have a direct impact on the number of bookings your holiday home enjoys.

We take a look at just a few ways you can manage your online reputation…

Make it easy for people to leave feedback

If someone has an issue you’d ideally want the guest to discuss it with you directly, before taking to the Internet for the world to see. An easy way to facilitate this is to give your guests every opportunity to provide feedback on their stay. Do you provide them with feedback cards? Do you ask them to complete a survey once they’ve returned home, or leave you with any comments?

Identifying and rectifying any issues before your guest has time to dwell on them will allow you to effectively manage your reputation and turn any negatives into positives. If you self let your holiday home that means having someone available to deal with guests concerns during their stay. If you use a holiday letting agent to manage your holiday home, they may offer this service or your housekeeper may be first point of call.

Respond to online reviews – good and bad

If your visitor does take to their computer to leave you a review it will be seen by an ever-growing audience (375 million people visit TripAdvisor each month).

It’s important to respond to feedback whether it’s positive or negative; you’ll want to thank people for taking the time to leave you positive comments and effectively deal with those that have experienced an issue.

Don’t respond in haste

If someone has left a negative review or raised issues that you feel are unfair then it can be tempting to tap ferociously on your keyboard as soon as you see it. Make sure you take time to provide a measured response; think of the points you want to get across and ask someone to read it for tone before posting.

There are many horror stories where reviews have escalated into unseemly disputes in a public forum. You provide a good service; make sure those reading the review in the future will be able to understand your side of the story, why issues have arisen and whether or not the negative review was warranted.

Use positive comments and website widgets

If you’ve got great comments, are you using them across your website? Sites like TripAdvisor provide widgets that can easily be placed on your site. There is no more credible source on the quality of your holiday cottage than those that have visited your property.  Using widgets, and their quotes across your website and marketing material will enable you to amplify the great experience visitors have had.

Take advantage of online monitoring tools

If you consider that the average person on Facebook has 338 friends, you’ll soon realise that any negative mention of your brand can spread like wild fire. The problem is, with the vast and fast moving nature of social media, how can you keep a track of these mentions and respond to them in a quick and efficient way (without spending hours searching!).

There are free tools such as that will allow you to keep an eye on mentions across the Internet as a whole, whilst Google Alerts will send you any pages that are indexed related to your brand straight to your email inbox.

The @mentions tab on Twitter will provide you with any direct mentions of your Twitter handle, but if you’re looking to extend your monitoring of this further you can utilise tools such as Hootsuite, which will allow you to search for any mentions of your brand name, or related phrases.

Each of these tools will allow you to respond and manage any potential reputation issues quickly and efficiently.

Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to holiday letting owners across the UK. For more information on how a specialist insurer can help and support your holiday home business, please give us a call on 01237 429444.