How Much Detail Should You Provide in Responses?

One piece of advice that both Daniel Edward Craig and I give when providing advice to hoteliers about responding to reviews is to keep it brief. While guests might write a mini-tome about their experience at your hotel, you don’t have to match them word for word. Your response should send the message that you appreciate the guest’s stay, you take guest feedback very seriously and you use it to improve your operations, and that you’re sorry if you let the guest down.

Here’s an example of an incredibly long review that was posted to TripAdvisor:

“Very Disappointing

I have stayed at many starwood hotels before. But I have NEVER had to pay for extra occupancy in a room. I had 2 hotel rooms with 3 people in a room. I have stayed in many hotels where this has never never been a problem. I come from a family of 5 and we have traveled for years with 2 rooms and never had a problem. At the Sheraton, they said three people were not allowed in a 2 person room and so I had to pay for 2 extra people a night!! On the request of a cot they said first- the room was not big enough (!) and that they had run out!!!! Additionally, If I wanted a room with 2 beds to sleep 3 people- we still had to pay for an extra person! Because the hotel could not accommodate us I had to pay!!!! Huge ripoff. Additionally I am a gold member at Starwood and it got me nowhere. I wasted points and money to stay at a hotel where it almost would have been the same if I had paid the normal rate. The rooms are very small as well.

The concierge was absolutely useless. I had bought a lonely planet guide to get a basic outline. I told her we were in the city for 4 days and inquired about what there was to do. She tried to sell me a tour where I could see the entire city in 4 hours- all major sites. If I had just told you I was going to be in the city for 4 days then why would I want to see everything in 4 hours? Then what would I do for the next 3 days? When I asked her what else there was to do besides the major attractions or what she recommended, she could only tell me the major attractions. One night I asked for a dinner recommendation for a really good local restaurant. In such a touristy city it is easy to go to a restaurant that is average and pay far to much. She handed me a brochure to a restaurant that I am sure she handed to everyone else. Just another tourist trap. The guidebook was a better help.

The hotel is about 10-15 minute from the old city. The surrounding area of the hotel is not great and it gets tiring walking back and forth between the old city and hotel.

I would not stay here again and hope the hotel has spent my money buying more cots or organizing bigger rooms so another person does not have to be robbed as well!”

First off, if I was the GM I would definitely respond to this review because the guest was not only disappointed, but he’s loyal to the brand and angry. He deserves a thoughtful and apologetic response. Here’s how I would respond:

“I was so sorry to read this review and learn of your frustrating experience at the hotel. There is no excuse for guests leaving us feeling like they had a less than perfect. I will be reviewing your feedback with the front desk and concierge staff to ensure that future guests are not left disappointed. While I am sorry that I couldn’t resolve your issues when you were on-site, please feel free to contact me should you want to discuss it in more detail. And, if you plan to visit X city again, please let me know if you would be willing to give us another try as I would love to personally oversee your visit. Thank you for the feedback.”

Want more advice or to discuss a troubling review? Attend our next Online Review Clinic on July 28th at 9am Pacific.

2 responses to “How Much Detail Should You Provide in Responses?

  1. Great advice! We always encourage our hotels to respond to every single guest who is less than satisfied. A guest who write a review like your sample just really wants to be heard. The hotel probably missed the opportunity while the guest was still in house… hopefully they can find a way to bring that guest back!

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