With the popularity and reach of online review sites like TripAdvisor and Hotels.com, the hotel industry is under increasing pressure to maintain a flawless online reputation. Mobile phone users routinely compare reviews relative to pricing when deciding where to stay.

85% of travelers read up to 10 online reviews. These reviews have a high trust level, and a majority of those using reviews are more confident in their decisions because of them. If your reviews aren’t good, there is very little chance that the person will choose your hotel. It is more important than ever to maintain high standards for your customers in order to stay competitive.

When you do receive reviews, it’s important to respond to them politely and quickly. Most potential customers believe that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel. And seeing a response often influences the readers to book a room at that hotel. However, it’s important that you don’t come off as being aggressive or defensive. A poor response makes it less likely that a reader will book your hotel.

Here are some tips for responding to your Hotel Reviews:

Respond quickly. A timely response is expected and appreciated. It shows you are attentive and receptive to feedback, and it leaves a lasting impression.

Keep the tone professional, whatever the concern. Whether the review is critical or glowing, your reply should always be polite and professional.

Thank the person by name. Even if the review is negative, you should thank the guest personally for taking the time to give feedback.

Apologize for the guest’s poor experience. Remember, an apology is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. You should always express sympathy that his or her experience fell short of expectation.

Create an original response. Customers appreciate a tailored response that is unique to them. Responding with a template will not be appreciated by the person you are responding to, or by the thousands of other people who will be reading your response.

Highlight positive changes and updates. If you’ve addressed a situation that has generated comments from customers, it’s important to state that you’ve taken their feedback seriously and made improvements.

Show gratitude. Gratitude builds goodwill. Management responses are great opportunities to tell guests that you are thankful for their positive comments, as well as their constructive feedback.

Be careful of individual privacy. As a general point, ensure that your responses never contain personal information about a guest.

Consider following up. If you do have the guest’s contact information, it’s a good idea to send them a personal email or card to express your apologies and offer compensation if appropriate.

Encourage guests to leave reviews. The guest having an amazing stay in your hotel does not ensure that they will leave a review.

Keep in mind, that even if you already have some bad reviews, they will have less impact if you encourage more positive reviews. Fresh, positive reviews will bury negative reviews over time, and give them less weight. Revuzi can help you strategically acquire more online reviews through positive customer feedback. Give it a try, and you’ll see why we think Revuzi is the best way to build your online reputation.