Editor's Pick NewsAugust 27, 2023

Editor’s Pick: Hotel Guest Reviews Drive REVPAR, but How Do You Reply to Negative Reviews

In today’s digital age, where information flows freely and decisions are often guided by online reviews, the hospitality industry finds itself at the mercy of guest feedback. The impact of guest review scores on a hotel’s Revenue Per Available Room (REVPAR) cannot be overstated. These scores not only influence potential guests’ choices but also affect a hotel’s bottom line. However, it’s the negative reviews that can be the most daunting. How a hotel responds to these critiques can significantly shape its reputation and, consequently, its success.

The Power of Review Scores – Review scores have transformed the way travelers select accommodations. Whether it’s a family vacation, a business trip, or a weekend getaway, potential guests turn to online reviews to gain insights into their prospective lodging. Positive reviews act as powerful endorsements, boosting a hotel’s credibility and desirability. Higher review scores lead to increased bookings, thus driving up the REVPAR—a key performance metric that measures a hotel’s revenue relative to its available rooms.


Navigating Negative Reviews – Negative reviews, while inevitable, need not be a cause for panic. In fact, they present opportunities for hotels to showcase their commitment to guest satisfaction and service recovery. How a hotel responds to negative feedback can be just as influential as the original review itself. Here are some insightful strategies to navigate this delicate terrain:

  • Stay Calm and Professional: Regardless of the tone of the negative review, responding in a calm and professional manner is paramount. Avoid getting defensive or confrontational, as this can escalate the situation.
  • Acknowledge the Feedback: Show that you value guest opinions by acknowledging the specific concerns raised in the review. This demonstrates your willingness to address issues and improve.
  • Apologize and Empathize: A sincere apology goes a long way. Express empathy for the guest’s experience, acknowledging any inconvenience they may have faced.
  • Offer a Solution: Outline practical steps to resolve the guest’s concerns. Whether it’s rectifying a service issue, providing a refund, or offering an upgraded experience, this proactive approach signals your commitment to making things right.
  • Take the Conversation Offline: While it’s essential to respond publicly to show accountability, invite the guest to continue the conversation offline. Provide a contact email or phone number to resolve the issue in a more private setting.
  • Highlight Positive Aspects: If applicable, use your response to highlight the hotel’s positive attributes or recent improvements. This can balance out the negative feedback and showcase your dedication to enhancement.
  • Learn and Adapt: Use negative reviews as learning opportunities. Analyze recurring issues and identify areas for improvement within your establishment.

Turning Challenges into Opportunities – Negative reviews can be seen as an opportunity for hotels to display their commitment to guest satisfaction. A well-handled response can not only appease the concerned guest but also create a positive impression for potential future guests who witness the exchange. Moreover, addressing negative feedback demonstrates transparency, which is increasingly valued by consumers seeking authentic experiences.

The correlation between guest review scores and a hotel’s REVPAR underscores the importance of guest feedback in the modern hospitality landscape. Negative reviews, though challenging, present a chance for hotels to display their dedication to service excellence. By responding thoughtfully and strategically, hotels can turn detractors into advocates, enhancing their reputation and ultimately driving their financial success.