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How do you respond to negative reviews?

47 Replies

1
Julia Pascual

I try to explain my side of things based on the review that was given. I want to show that I care for his experience and any future guests will see that I accept feedback and actions will follow to improve. Hope that helps! :)

1 year ago
1
chiara guglielmetti

It really depends on the complaint, if the negative review is caused by something unexpected (eg. something not working properly during the stay) I apologize and highlight what has been done to promptly follow-up on my end.If the negative review is caused by an issue with the property (e.g. expectation vs reality) I explain what I will do to follow up and avoid that the same situation happens again in the future

1 year ago
1
Paullinderman

I do take the view that if you haven't raised the issue with me directly then i can not give the review and awful lot of credence, I read any objections and try and answer where appropriately I also read the review and walk away from it for a while and go back to it as you see things very differently when your not getting yourself wound up example.

Guest " A radiator in the flat was not working and people where stood outside my room smoking which was coming through the window"

Its a nonesense your saying your cold then saying you have your windows open... but if I hadn't re read the review I might of missed it.

Always try and end on a good note don't say things like "we wouldn't have you back anyway" or other things that are not great .. try and leave it professional at all tines

1 year ago
1
Steve Thorogood

In the real world of reviews I can only see around 10% of which are bona- fide Most are either inaccurate, misinformation, or even subjective and cannot be relied on, IE, "This is the best Hotel in Devon", when they have only stayed in Devon once. "dont stay here, My window looked out on the car park and room was small" when they choose that room booked it when there was an option for sea-view and large room albeit for a few pounds more. We have a policy to let guests have freedom and peace and to allow guests not to be overbeared by zealous staff and as so our principles are in place to call us by bell push at reception to get attention, most like it but sometimes We get guests who review there was never any staff,and we never saw anybody, these reviews cannot be true, how did they get to check-in receive keycard, sit at breakfast and get served, get a drink from the bar chat about the weather and so on, its these guest who are probably lonely and want companionship and in reality are reviewing themselves and not actually the Hotel. Car park issues like "there was no parking and I was forced to park on the main road and pay" when in actual fact there was loads of parking, the guest didn't really look around the side of the building for parking nor did the hotel Force him in any way nor did he come to reception (yes Press the call button) and ask.... But My main gripe would be malicious reviews and in my book this is totally unacceptable and a way should be available of stopping this, for starts if it can be proven by the hotel, then the review and marks should be removed discounted and not what happens "its not against our guidelines therefore the review stays" Guest who review should be accountable for what the submit and if its proven to be fraudulent it should be acted upon, example, guest books a single occupancy reservation but two enjoy the room, guest approached and questioned, guest gets angry and starts swearing and threats are made of bad review, bad review submitted. all on CCTV, evidence there. photo shots or footage can be supplied., easy one for booking.com to see witness and act on, But they Dont. The question was/is how do you respond to negative reviews. in my book I am as truthful as I can be, as previously mentioned its far better that guests bring issues up during the stay, at least you can deal with it there and then but most don't, I really don't like the rhetoric of "be professional and the guest is always right" approach because only a few are!

1 year ago
1
anita crous

Please can I have feed back on how to handle the guests that take advantage of THE GUEST IS ALWAYS RIGHT! approach and write a poor review. I send a 4 page document to all the guests with exact information regarding what time to book out etc then the guests ignores this and stays a few hours later.. my cleaner calls me to complain that the guests have not left at 10.00 and it is 11.45 and he has to clean and prepare the house for the next guests arriving at 14.00.. I call the guest and they say they did not know about the time to be out!!! the departure time is also on b.com system and NB notes and they received an email... I deducted the two hours from their deposit. so they write a bad review... being UNTRUTHFUL that they HAD PERMISSION FROM THE CLEANER AND THEY HELPED HIM TO CLEAN.. I feel these review are not FAIR to be allowed to be published!!!!! Any advise please.

1 year ago
1
anita crous

Also the negative review scoring .. if the guests say NOTHING ... it counts against the establishment, even if you also have asked the guests NOT to write anything in the NEGATIVE section if there is nothing to complain about. Any suggestions on how to handle this

1 year ago
1
Steve Thorogood

Again the manipulation from an OTA, always dear Partner this and partner that. but in reality works for the guest (because they have too that's the commodity) The point is Booking.com Know exactly what they are doing do anything to drive prices down, thus making them more competitive and No !, make all work on the fact of getting promotion up the league table and let us all fight against each other and encourage or nudge us with a spanking stick to do so. Just as anita crous mentions about negative review scoring. I personally have not bothered about reviews or my replies and have been truthful on how a see the guest, and sometimes I am rude in my reply, but its always truthful, year on year we have been more successful in turnover/ profit than the last!!

Terms and conditions are there to be read by Guests, most do not read them, I tell them straight and too the point, read terms and conditions you have overstepped the mark, further costs will be placed on account should you not conform to the contract. you cannot plead ignorance. oh, but be as nice as possible, even if you will get bad review and call you arrogant, no read the terms and conditions.

1 year ago
1
Agnes Chigamba

Some guests doesnt read the terms and condition and give a blame on you ,i always have prblem with the speed point its writtern that we dont have the machine but they will tell you that they dont have cash,again they can lie about things like they cook wearing pjamas where on earth can someone enter in the kitchen and cook for guests in pyjams?

I tried my best to be calm and respond in a manner that the guest will feel bad her/himself

I just try to treat them like they are special even though they are difficult to please because i know they will leave anyway they dont stay forever

1 year ago
1
Agnes Chigamba

Anita

I think the best is to tell them on arrival that our check out time is ..... so that they know before they go to bed

1 year ago
1
sonja van der broek

I got a poor review because I treated guests badly, meanwhile the guests had been great and I told them so during their stay, but on the morning of their departure as said my goodbyes at the breakfast table and asked them kindly to hand the keys to my husband when much to our surprise the guests had gone to work and not vacated the room.
Clothes and personal belongings all over the room and bathroom.
They rocked up at 17:00 and when I told them that they were in breach of contract, they reviewed me as poorly treated.
My reply was not accepted and not published by Booking.com
These guests put me in a tightspot with guests that were arriving at 14:00

1 year ago
1
JONATHAN BOAKYE

A guest from UK stayed at my establishment, and insisted that he had made payment to Booking,com without showing proof. When he was told that Booking.Com does not accept payment on our behalf, he still insisted as having paid, and further that he is a Pastor who would not cheat his way out of paying. He left without paying and wrote the following negative review with a score of 2.9:

"Nightmare, not happy with them. We did not get what we asked for. There was no soaps, nothing that was said about them, very upset. Even when I wanted to pay the owner wasn't there and he took the card machine so how could we pay them. Very bad service in all"

I wrote a lengthy response to the review stating all the facts, but my response was rejected, and not published by Booking.com. This may impact negatively on our establishment as other potential guests may conclude that is how the establishment caters to its guests.

1 year ago
1
Dalena Roux

It seems many establishments experience very similar problems with some guests - i e those not reading information provided or those writing unfair and untruthful comments. I fail to see the point of this forum since booking.com does not seem to respond to these complaints of how the review system often unfairly impacts on an establishment. The guest seems to be ALWAYS favoured above the establishment. There should be a "complaints centre" for both parties.Failing to resolve an issue, I think it should be possible for certain reviews to be removed.

I also feel strongly that reviews with a low scores given anonymously (in other words the establishment cannot even respond) or a low score without an explanation as to why it is given, should not be used to calculate an overall score of the establishment. Both the above mentioned ways of giving "reviews" by guests does not offer the opportunity for an establishment to improve, as the reasons for the low score is not given. I would have thought that should be the main reason for reviews???

1 year ago
1
Steve Thorogood

Dalena, you are correct, I think that the whole point by this forum is to start and understand that if you cant beat the system embrace it and do what your told, Booking.com are playing God and we will be punished if we don't comply. Everyone of us has come up a valid point or at least mention an issue that needs resolving, so why Booking.com wont you do something about it.

1 year ago
1
Stephen Cresswell

Booking.com are very selective about posting replies when it appears slightly confrontational. Why because it considers our customers as theirs. I believe we are Booking.com's customers and not our guests.

1 year ago
1
Carol Oberg

Maybe Booking.com should delete the highest and the lowest reviews when putting in the averages. Might be more fair to all.

1 year ago
1
Nick & Karen Kokic'

I do believe Booking.com should not allow any anonymous reviews!

I think people leaving them are cowards for lack of another word not to talk directly to you about their issue(s)

if they really have any. Some people are just very negative and never see the positive in life in general.

The pen is mightier than the sword and they know this.

1 year ago
2
Vesna

It is hard to get bad review. My husband and I meet all the guests and clean after them and communicate everything in details and when we get low review we fight each other about whose fault is it.

I read all of the comments since I wanted to see how to reply to those and share experiences about them and there are few opinions I do agree but few of them I do not agree.

Tourism is the business we are in and the guests review system is needed in my opinion to understand what we can improve and I try really hard to get the best out of the reviews. Our average review score is 9.4 in 30ish reviews and of course there were 3-4 of them that were 5.8 and 6.2 etc and I was mad about those. I started thinking how would hotels answer and how would they treat these lower scores and i understand the guests are the ones that are paying us.

Booking.com treats guests as customers since they are the ones that are paying and leaving the money to them (through the commission we pay) so I disagree with Steve above me that they should treat partners ar customers. Without guests we could not sell our apartment on Booking.

At the end all those top reviews and low reviews do give a general "score" for the property and that is why I decided to act as a hotel - I will invest nerves and effort more in learning how to make more money than in loosing my nerves and fighting with my husband whose turn was to clean and why cleanliness is scored as 5.0

As for the anonymous reviews - I bet that future guests that are reading them also see it is Anonymous and don't really rely on those. I don't think Booking will change tihis because their operation wouldn't be this big without review system

1 year ago
1
JONATHAN BOAKYE

Vesna, I cannot agree with you more than what you have stated except the following:

1. While Booking.Com derives its money from the guests, through the commission we pay them, we are equally their customers. Without us, they will not derive income. As such we should also be treated as sensitive as they treat guests;

2. I welcome factual and constructive criticisms, as such allow me to review guests concerns, and take corrective actions. What irks me is very factually incorrect negative reviews that does not take into my service offering into consideration, and also where concerns were never raised with in-house management.

1 year ago
2
Vesna

Hi Jonathan, nice to e-meet you :)

Agree that Booking gets income from us but none of it would happen without the guests: it is the egg or chicken question i think. And again I try to put myself in the shoes of large hotels or even chains - do I really think that their revenue manager considers couple of bad reviews as something ti take into consideration when doing his job. I'm in this this business to make money not turn guests into bffs. This might sound harsh but I am renting for 5 years now and 2 years on Booking - I had one guest review that was incorrect and I called B.com tried my best to take it down. No chance at all but I did reply on it. The guest was drunk and drugged up and I know other guests that read the reviews will see this was only one individual who gave me 5.8 and all other guests give 8.8 and above.

1 year ago
2
Erin Weigel

I'm a believer in the sentiment, "If they go low, you go high".

In those circumstances where I may disagree with the guest or feel they're being unfair, I remember perception from their point of view is their reality. Arguing with that or engaging with a negative tone and offering justifications from my perspective wouldn't necessarily be helpful, as they probably won't be receptive to me challenging . And, on top of that, engaging with a negative tone in some way could validate whatever their claims may be and could set the tone that future guests might expect from me.

So, I try to let it roll off and speak with graciousness for their feedback. At that point I consider myself to be speaking not to the former guest, but to the future guest. What can I suggest people do to avoid the same problem this guest ran into? Leave it in the reply. What action will I take to make sure the issue doesn't arise again? Leave it in the reply.

Go high, learn from the feedback, and look forward. :)

1 year ago
1
anita crous

Thank you Erin.

That is a lovely way to handle the issue. Great advise. "not speaking to the former guest, but to the future guest"

Regards

1 year ago
1
Anonymous

Nothing worse than getting an anonymous review with complaints... Like we are able to do anything about it or act on it..

We tried to get a review removed from booking.com as it was 100% false and fabricated and proven to booking.com and also violated booking.com's terms and conditions yet it still remained.. Recently a guest gave us 10/10 but made a comment about booking.com not showing credit card surcharges clearly enough on the booking screen.. Review only appeared on the pulse app and was never to be shown on booking.com's live website. Pretty hypocritical.

1 year ago
1
Priscilla Gallo

Totally agree with you Erin...I do the same its a time to address the issues. I start with a positive message 'Thank you for taking the time to send a review etc' Address the issue....then end with a positive. I also make use of the review to promo the property. e.g.; 'There was no door to access the pond outside our window' My response ' The private entrance to your guest suite is approx. 5 meters to the pond, accessed through the native garden. There is a quiet relaxing bench for you to enjoy your complementary refreshments whilst watching the native wildlife on the pond' I always respond to a review regardless of the review score. Future guests will also see that I respond.

1 year ago
1
Sylvia Jackson

I agree with all the comments on the reviews from guests, the only one that gets me is the people who put 7.5 for location there is not a lot you can do about your location as your property is firmly in place for the duration you can not move it. I think booking.com should remove this bit from the review page as that is something they should be reading checking themselves we all have it in our description how far away from the town we are.

1 year ago
1
Anonymous

We had a review that we were "Remote from Sydney" and gave us 2.5 for location but 10 for everything else. We are 600km's from Sydney and in a different state all together.. Like come on.. Seriously?

1 year ago
3
christine

I sit here and laugh while reading all these comments. Steve Thorogood at the top of the thread, says it like it really is. After more then 10 years in the business, guests never stop making us laugh. The best advice I can give about responding to bad reviews is : log out and walk away. Come back in a few days to respond after you cool down. Sometimes I get so infuriated at a lying *** bad guest review, all I want to do is lash out back at them about how bad THEY were. Then my husband will jump in to bring me back to reality.

In response to above, in the end my philosophy is "my house, my rules". And I won't hesitate to call the cops if a guest is completely out of control, screaming, or whatever. They are NOT always right. You also have a responsibility to all the other guests.

The truth is, most travelers can read between the lines and they will know it is a pissed off guest and not a true reflection of your property. The internet has become such a cess pool of complainers, between all the different social media outlets. How about Tripadvisor? LOL They allow reviews from any one who wants to write one. Doesn't matter if they did NOT set foot on the property.....

1 year ago
1
Annette Louw

Bad Anynomous reviews must not be placed on Booking.com.

Would an obligation to guest to leave private feedback to guesthouse owners once a particular rating is below 10 or 7.5 not help?

One of the other websites I use works like this and I do like it! I do want to improve if possible and I do want my guest to have an excellent stay.

I also find anonymous BAD reviews as TOTALLY unhelpful. How can I help or change something if I have no idea what was wrong?

1 year ago
2
Manu

Innkeeper should have the option to leave a comment I'm any review it's bad

1 year ago
5
monet208

Laterooms send you any review first so you can comment on it and unlike Booking.com will not publish proven lies

Regretfully booking.com favour the guest where reviews are concerned having been told by the CEO that reviews that include lies are ok but not 4 letter words

We love Booking.com but their Review system needs a serious makeover by people that understand what make a good system

1 year ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

Totally agree. Review system must be completely changed to fair one. I even sent my proposals to Booking.com. Unfortunately, it looks like that no one in Booking.com care about it. They don't see any problem in it - everyone who's ever contacted Review Team agree that it is impossible to receive any help just robotics replies about review policy and bla-bla-bla:) I called them the most useless team in Booking.com
As I can see no one from that team showed up here for making comments as well as there are no comments on such uncomfortable msgs from Community Team members.

1 year ago
1
Biliana Miteva

After I invest a huge amount of money, for designer solid curtains,after I put 10 pictures of them in my listing - I saw a comment: "there are no shadows or curtains in this apartment, and in all the apartments in Sofia! The sun woke me 5-6 o'clock"...?!?! I have to "answer" him in his language and to be kind.

Dear Booking.com, how serious is that? You look like startup company, struggling with issues, and the partners and clients do joke with You.

1 year ago
1
Beachbreak Hol…

Completely agree with David. Booking.com are biased towards the guest. They seem to forget that we are actually their customer. The guests are our customers. I had a guest write a review to say a rat had run into their unit (they were half way along the corridor and on the second floor) all because they wanted a ground floor unit and not the unit they booked and I was unable to move them as there was no ground floor unit available. Guests should be made accountable for telling blatant lies.

1 year ago
5
monet208

Since so many believe the review system is unfair to hotels so the more that email Gillian Tans the CEO whose address can be found on the CEO website,the more likely change will happen

We love booking.com and the review system is the only big negative as far as we,as hoteliers,are concerned

1 year ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

Yes, maybe if all who understand that review system is totally unfair will email CEO then we'll see some changes (but honestly I think it will not help). I sent her email around a year ago regarding this point and it was like in any other company - my email was just redirected to another manager and that's all:) In my opinion the problem is that they don't want or need to change it because they have enough properties on their site to do business, to gain income. So they does not care at all if I cancel my agreement with them or not. Possibly if Hilton, Radisson, Ibis etc start to cancel their agreement based on unfair review system then they'll change their mind.

1 year ago
1
Cultural Tour

Great comments here, I'm learning a lot.
As service providers who take our jobs very seriously by providing the very best service to our guests, who are mostly grateful from our end but there are the few who will make that attempt to reduce you with a negative/low score on a category such as "Location", can be devastating to say the least. But other businesses are fighting back for their fair standing with tools such as www.reputationbuilders911.com to help keep them in what they had tirelessly worked so hard for.

1 year ago
1
Diddlysquatters

What has become apparent to me is that everybody is different and those difference will impact how people respond to reviews.

Husband and wife may have had a "spat" during their stay and one or the other may take it out on the accommodation provider. This happened to us just recently where she left negative feedback complaining about issues that they could have brought to our attention for an easy fix, but she elected to give us both barrels instead. All previous guests have rated everything we do at 10/10.

Think we have just got to grin and bear it! It would be nice to respond to negative comments where there is clearly no reasonable foundation, but I feel that could lead to nastiness creeping into the comments. None of us really want to go down that path - do we?

1 year ago
3
Waikoninihomestead

Booking.com advised me that all negative reviews should be responded to.

One I had recently and the guest was really awful from the moment he arrived but was more polite when he returned after going to a wedding (maybe the bubbly improved his behaviour) I replied giving his name and location.

Another complained that she was cold, there was no electric blanket,heater, blankets,that she was given Australian wine for dinner and that there was clothing in the wardrobe.. Yes, there is an electric blanket on her bed,In the wardrobe is a heater, and extra blankets along with dressing gown supplied for guests to use! All could have been sorted at the time but she chose not to. She then drove off without paying. And to finish all of this off she wrote in the visitors book that she had a wonderful stay.

Yes, I did get paid and then the nasty review came.

When I asked booking.com why the host does not give reviews I was very surprised, they told me that big organisations are too busy to reply, but what about the rest of us ( B&B's) ?? Airbnb has a great system in place to provide reviews and wish Booking.com could do the same. It is also interesting to note that Airbnb guests are better behaved, they always show up and to date I have not had a cancellation.

1 year ago
5
monet208

Message to Brooke who seems to be in charge of the Forum for B.Com

It is very clear from providers responses that there are serious flaws with the review system from our side

Can you assure us the concerns are being passed onto very senior management

Can you then update us on their responses please

many thanks

1 year ago
1
Beate Pbh

Can someone develop a website where we - the hosts- can list all the PERSONA NON GRATA guests and this will give us some form of protection.

FAKE REVIEWS is like FAKE NEWS and BDC has NO CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY. !!!! Sad that a liberal and progressive country like the NETHERLANDS allows unfair business practises to flourish . WHERE ARE THE GOOD CORPORATE LAWS THAT SHOULD GOVERN A COUNTRY'S GLOBAL ORGANISATION!

9 months ago
1
Anonymous

Booking.com definately don't have the accommodation suppliers back with anything.. Sign up with booking.com and lose all your own rights to your own business. Your policies, procedures, guest banned lists mean nothing to them.

9 months ago
3
christine

What is the matter with you people? If you do not like the way booking.com does business, then do not list with them! There is no gun being held to your head. So quit complaining! Yes, you get anon reviews, yes, you get a few bad reviews. Big deal! It is called DOING BUSINESS. If you had all glowing reviews then THAT is fake. Grow up ! grow a backbone and go on to the next day! I am so sick of people complaining about booking.com when it obviously has nothing to do with them. It's the people. People will always RUN to social media to bitch and complain. Don't be those people. Be better than that. You, Beate Pbh sound just like those people you are complaining about. You are calling the kettle black. Any other booking engine is the same..

9 months ago
2
Dmitriy Bolobolov

Based on that logic all owners here should close their mouth and be happy with everything what BDC do. In my opinion, the main reason to post your thoughts is to try to change something you don't agree with and the review system is the case. It is obvious that BDC review policy is outdated and unfair, but they do nothing. Personally, I can accept any feed-back while it is true, but BDC allow guests to post everything and property sometimes get fake or false reviews and BDC refuse to delete them even with the evidence that it is fake. I don't understand why the owners should accept that? Ultimately, such reviews could damage your business seriously as well as always down a property in the search results.

9 months ago
1
Anonymous

You do have to sign up or you go broke... So I guess some people do have a gun to their head.. does that mean we aren't allowed to try to make it fairer for the provider? Booking.com don't care about the accommodations countries laws and are a law themselves...

9 months ago
6
Laura, Communi…

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9 months ago
1
Diddlysquatters

I don't believe that BDC who operate throughout the length and breadth of Australia pay any tax in Australia like so many others. So is their 15%+ commission tax free? I should be so lucky as to not pay tax. One rule for some and another set of rules for the rest of us.

As for negative guest reviews, I guess that we are always going to "tread on someone's toes" or be the butt of someone's displeasure - this is the world we live in. Initially, I got very bitter and twisted about unfair and unreasonable reviews left by people who had an axe to grind for some reason or other, but now I have to accept what comes my way.

The only residual angst I have is against those "guests" who leave a glowing report on their stay in our guest book, but then set about tearing us apart on social media or on the BDC site. Go figure, because I can't!!

9 months ago
7
fluff

^^^^^^
Keyboard warriors!
Too Lily liver to write such things on your guest book, where you may ask for, erm, clarification.
Once distanced by the web they become harsh critics indeed, including fanciful appraisals.

It seems I was under the false impression that a guest reported for poor behaviour would have their entire review blocked/deleted including star rating.
BDC strike again, leaving unfair stars in place, gee thanks pawtner!

9 months ago
1
Diddlysquatters

Out of fairness, it seems reasonable to me that if I do the very best that I can and afterwards someone sledges me for doing my best, I should at least have the right of reply. That feature exists in most of the world with the exception of BDC and other like businesses.

To provide an open forum for people to sledge, falsely criticise and abuse providers without the means to defend themselves is grossly unfair. BDC - FIX IT!!!!

9 months ago