6 Steps to Turn Bad Hotel Reviews into Wins

Male hotel guest leaving the hotel lobby.
Tasuku Konno
Tasuku Konno
Marketing Editor

As a hotel owner in this day and age, your hotel’s online reputation is key to success. Reviews from travel websites and social media platforms have the power to attract more customers, but also drive them away. 

For hotel managers, low ratings and negative comments are generally bad news. However, negative reviews can sometimes uncover valuable hints on how to improve hotel operations. Your professional approach, and taking action to address criticism can turn them into opportunities that ultimately help you build trust in your brand.

In recent years, reviews on social media like Twitter, Instagram in particular, have had a major impact on the hotel industry. Many hotels are now striving to earn high ratings on SNS (social networking service) and explore methods to increase their brand recognition. It is challenging to grasp the appropriate know-how and perform analyses that can effectively contribute to the hotel’s profitability on these new platforms and increase brand visibility. 

In this article, we will take a look at six steps that will help you transform negative reviews into customer loyalty points and build strong rapport.

In this article:

1. Respond Quickly

Because the customers are more loyal to brands that help solve the issue for them, a prompt response to a review that addresses a problem in your services can do wonders for your reputation. 

While a general rule of thumb is to respond within 24 hours, the earlier the better impression it makes on your customers. This is especially crucial for negative reviews, as you can express the willingness to solve issues and commitment to your guests.

A good approach to this is to incorporate a tracking system into your team’s daily routines. This means, setting aside a designated time each day to check and respond to reviews manually, and setting up customer relationship technology that helps you track and manage large volumes of online feedback. Tools like Salesforce, and Sprout Social can help your team with this process.

2. Acknowledge and Apologize

It is important to carefully screen the content of the review and, if any shortcomings on the hotel’s side were identified, express sincere apologies and your commitment to improvement. If there were no faults on the hotel’s side, try to provide a polite explanation to clarify any misunderstandings.

To speed up the process, you can create response templates for reviews, then you just make sure that each situation is handled in a unique way and personalize the response to each case. For inspiration, you can see the attached response template down below.

3. Investigate the Issue

When handling negative reviews, it is also important to closely examine the content of the review and try to understand the guest’s intentions. In cases where there is a discrepancy in understanding between the reviewer and the hotel, it is the hotel that may face criticism. 

To prevent misunderstandings, make sure to carefully check the content of the review and understand what went wrong. Also, when responding to the reviewer, clearly state the specific solutions based on the specific case and demonstrate your willingness to solve the problem.

4. Provide a Compensation

A sincere response to a negative review pairs well with a complimentary gesture. Offering a coupon or a gift voucher for a future stay, may help you leave an even better impression. 

Moreover, they may choose to stay with you again in order to utilize the coupon. 

Just make sure the complimentary offer is tasteful and doesn’t seem like you’re trying to buy your guests. When they do choose to stay with you again, it is essential to ensure a smooth stay and avoid repeating the same mistakes. This is where tools such as CRMs, guest request management systems, housekeeping systems or any softwares that help you manage your customer history come to aid

5. Follow Up

By maintaining communication channels with your customers and informing them about the actual improvements made in the hotel’s operations, your guests will feel that their reviews hold value and it will enhance their trust in your hotel. 

You can reach out to your guests post-stay through your preferred communication channels such as email or social media accounts to keep the relationship going. 

6. Learn and Improve

Finally, a great practice is trying to predict and discuss similar issues that could arise in the future with your team to prevent future issues. 

Negative reviews have to be handled in the most professional manner. After resolving the issues, it is necessary to analyze the case once again and take thorough measures to prevent such situations from happening again.

What should a response template contain? 

    • Appreciation: Acknowledge and thank the guest for their feedback. 
    • Acknowledgment of the issues: Directly address the guest’s concerns. 
    • Positive changes and improvements: Inform the guest about the steps you’re taking to improve. 
    • Reassurance of commitment to quality: Reiterate your hotel’s commitment to guest satisfaction. 
    • Invitation to stay with you again: Encourage the guest to visit again and experience the improvements. 
    • Direct contact: Offer personal contact information for further discussion. 
    • Sign off with appreciation: Close the response on a positive note, appreciating the guest’s input.  

Response template to negative feedback for hotels 

Dear [Guest’s Name], 

Thank you so much for your valuable feedback about your recent stay at our hotel. We’re genuinely sorry that some aspects of your experience didn’t meet expectations. 

We’re excited to share that we have improvements planned, including [specific improvement related to the guest’s concern]. Our main goal is to offer a comfortable and well-maintained setting for all our guests. 

We’d be thrilled if you considered giving us another chance to serve you better. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at [your contact details] if you’d like to discuss this further. It would be my pleasure to personally welcome you back to our improved hotel. 

With sincere appreciation, 

[Your Name] [Your Position] [Your Contact Information]  


In this article we introduced six essential steps for managing and addressing negative reviews in your hotel.

Tracking and effectively addressing negative feedback from your guests will ultimately grow your hotel’s brand value. By actively engaging with and responding to all feedback, hotels can provide a higher quality guest experience, ultimately increasing their profitability.

Efficient communication with your guests when they are in your hotel is the key to guest satisfaction. By utilizing the right channels your hotel teams can oversee all guest interactions and respond in time. With Aiello Voice Assistant (AVA) the feedback from your guests is instantly shared with your staff via the backend platform, so that your team can act fast.

If you want to explore the Aiello AI system for guest communication, reach out to our team for a free consultation today! Our expert team will get back to you within three working days.

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