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How to Best Respond to Negative Guest Reviews

In the age of Internet travel sites, guest reviews have become more important than ever. The sheer number of people looking for reviews of your holiday park before they commit to a booking means that it’s something you can’t and shouldn’t ignore.

It’s almost inevitable that you’ll experience at least one negative review about your holiday park at some point, so it’s important to understand how these are best dealt with. In a 2010 TripAdvisor study, 79% of travellers said that a business responding to a negative guest review gives them assurance. This shows that by simply taking the time to acknowledge a negative review and respond to an unhappy guest, you are actually able to minimise some of the damage that review may cause. So what should you do when you receive a negative review from a guest?

Reply promptly

As soon as you’re notified of a review, and particularly if it’s a negative one, you should respond as soon as you can. Letting a review sit and sink on a website is bad as it allows more people to see it without an explanation, showing the reviewer that perhaps they were right about the complaint. Engaging with the guest promptly is a great way to show that you want to create a dialogue with your customers, and actually care about your business and hospitality.

Use their name

When responding to a negative review, be sure to respond directly to the reviewer by using their name. This will add a personal element, and nobody likes to think that they’re being served a standardised response from some robot.

Don’t be defensive

It’s easy to become defensive after reading somebody’s criticism of your holiday park, especially when you know how hard you’ve worked and the passion your staff has for what they do. However it’s important that you remain calm, thank the guest for their review, and make an effort to respond to their concerns.

Respond to each issue directly

If a reviewer has mentioned multiple issues, ensure that you address each one separately. Clear up any misconceptions, let them know that you’re apologetic, and show them that you’ll be addressing their complaints and working to correct them. In doing so, a reviewer may actually see this as a sufficient response, and often this is enough to put out the fire.

Fix the issues

If there are actual issues with the operation of your holiday park, and the negative review is not only accurate but also a recurring theme, then it’s vital for the success of your business that you correct these issues. Work with your stuff and team to address any common complaints (for example, if reviews often mention bad service or cleaning standards). Use the reviews as a health check for your business in order to maintain great service and quality standards.

Make reputation management a priority

The Internet has opened up a new world of information with unprecedented access. It is therefore crucial that you take the online reputation of your holiday park seriously. Maintain a constant awareness as to how your holiday park is being mentioned online, and devote your personal attention to guest experiences. Furthermore, it’s also worthwhile involving your staff in this process so that they too can feel more invested and accountable.

An online review has the power to persuade or dissuade potential visitors from staying at your holiday park. For that reason, it’s necessary to show transparency and a willingness to please your guests; do so and they’ll be coming back for years to come.