By writing responses to reviews (both good and bad), you show you’re interested in feedback from former and prospective guests—and that customer service is a priority for you. Here are common questions about traveler reviews from tour operator and attraction businesses, plus tips on how to respond to a negative review that will turn it into a positive situation!

How do I decide which reviews to respond to?

Your strategy for responding to reviews should be crafted based on the needs of your business. You may want to respond to every review, or it may be enough to tackle ones that seem critical.

Don’t be afraid to respond to negative reviews. Doing so lets you demonstrate how you’re addressing a problem or correct a factual error addressed in the review. A good rule is to make sure you leave at least one management response for the 10 most recent reviews. This will let users know that you’re staying on top of feedback and responding accordingly.

What’s the best way to respond to a positive review?

To start, let the reviewer you know you appreciate them taking the time to write a review. Don’t use a boilerplate response, otherwise you risk coming across as insincere. Use the reviewers’ specific positive comments to both personalize your response and demonstrate your appeal to prospective customers.

What are some tips for responding to negative reviews?

Take time to digest the feedback.

Take time to properly digest the feedback and identify the root cause. If needed, divert your attention to something else until you can approach the situation with a level head. Then gather your team to go through the review together, objectively. What is the core problem that the reviewer experienced? Is this the first time you’ve seen this feedback, or is a trend developing? Take time to evaluate the problem or concern.

Write a draft first.

To check your tone and make sure you’re getting your message across sincerely, professionally, and concisely, first write a draft of your response in a word-processing document. Only post it once it meets your satisfaction.

Respond promptly.

If you respond promptly, you’ll show prospective customers that you take customer service seriously, and it’ll allow them to hear your side of the story.

Use a polite, professional tone.

Be aware that your response will be seen not just by the reviewer— it’ll be seen by prospective customers as well. This means that if you don’t agree with the reviewer, or think they’re being unfair, you’ll need to relay your side of the story courteously and unemotionally. An angry or defensive response is sure to turn off prospective customers.

Instead, be sure to express your appreciation for the traveler’s business and feedback, speak to their specific issues, offer a heartfelt apology for any shortfalls, and follow up with details on your action plan to rectify the issue. Always address them in a courteous and professional manner.

Don’t forget to say thanks!

By demonstrating appreciation for a customer writing a review, you’ll show that all feedback is important to you whether it’s good or bad. And if you agree with any complaints, provide a genuine apology.

Be specific in your response.

The more you can be specific in your solutions to complaints, the more you’ll build trust with your past and future customers.

Accentuate the positive.

Reiterate any positive comments the reviewer made to accentuate your business’s strengths. This also provides a chance to mention any related services or upgrades. Remember that your responses can be found by search engines, so if something negative comes up in a review, try not to repeat it in your response.

Take action to make improvements.

Once you have a grasp on what happened, decide if changes are necessary and develop an action plan if so. If the complaint refers to something you can’t fix, consider how to better set expectations for customers, perhaps with updates to your website, social media channels, or email communication. Continue to monitor future reviews to make sure others aren’t having the same problem.

No one gets it right all the time—rest assured that travelers know this, too. When a bad review comes in, take the opportunity to display your empathy and commitment to great service. By taking the customer’s feedback to heart and honestly addressing their concerns, you can build up customer loyalty and help make the experience for future customers even better.

About the Author: Rachel Hammel

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