Dealing Guest Conflicts Online

How to Prevent Bad Online Reviews

Guest conflict is like nightmares, hotel staff has to face in their jobs. Poorly managed guest feedback can escalate to become a hate message or a bad online review. Worst even negative reviews can fright the prospective travelers also away. Moreover, it does not end here; it also puts a permanent blemish on the online hotel reputation and revenue of your hotel.

Of course, you always try not to have such instances in your hotel and assure your guests that the unpleasing experience will not be witnessed in the future. But, what if we can do something like preventing bad reviews altogether in the first place and improving hotel reviews!

Bad reviews arise from the conflict and the unsatisfactory resolution of the guest issue which we understand are kind of inescapable in an arcade of guests with varying palates and penchants.

Let us look at some tactics to handle this critical space:

1. Set quality standards & procedures and achieve them without fail:

You can never anticipate what all your guests may want. However, what you can do is; you can set procedures and quality standards of your services and processes. You need to efficiently accomplish these to meet guest expectations. These can be as simple as a quick check-in system or a quick staff response mechanism.

Technology can support here, for you can meticulously analyze your previous hotel reviews containing criticisms and feedback, work on frequently mentioned issues and prevent them in future. Use a good ORM tool for this.

2. Focus on staff training:

Journal of Management and Marketing Research, effectively highlights the importance of staff training in conflict resolution. Training your staff on handling guest conflicts helps you fasten and improve your conflict resolution procedure.

Here are some things the staff can rehearse while interacting with unsatisfied guests:

  • Empathetic listening is important to convey that you genuinely care for the guest and in this way you also prevent escalation of complaints.
  • Graciousness and use of appropriate tone are paramount when handling an irate customer.
  • A sincere apology is your scent! It helps to quickly calm down triggered guests.
  • A ‘thank you’ plays an important role to your guests for their feedback can help in reflecting your values of customer service.
  • A quick and focused resolution needs emphasis, as some guests tend to digress into tangential issues. The staff must note down the main issue and solve them at the earliest.
  • Understanding the gravity of the issue to find the quickest solutions and setting priorities accordingly cuts down on needless reporting to seniors and solves problems more efficiently.
  • Evaluating the rightfulness of guests’ demands and concerns helps to ascertain the feasibility of possible solutions and the cost incurred for the same.

3. Take grave complaints confidentially:

An irate and unhappy guest can be quite up front with their issues while bringing up concerns. Regardless of your best efforts to ensure quality service, there may still be a grave concern that may infuriate your complainant. Avoid getting into heated interfaces with such complainants in front of other guests for this may put off the latter. Such issues are best discussed in private, one on one or on a phone call.

4. Regular feedback checks:

Gathering feedback from your guests during the stay is better than check out when a potential problem would have already transpired and grown even bigger. This brings three big paybacks:

  • Conveying your genuine concern for your guests.
  • True intention to solve an issue
  • Solving any issues as soon as they occur.

5. Power your staff for service improvement:

Your front desk, your staff, and room attendants are the people who get to interact with your guests the most. Hence, they have a clear picture of what guests want; their likes, dislikes and frequent trigger.

Treat your staff like your internal customers. Get their feedback about any potential changes that may help you better your service, and act on the same at the earliest for efficient hotel reputation management. Also, give them some authority to solve minor issues to speed up the resolution of complaints.

Conflicts can often be hard to grip. Nevertheless, consider them as a blessing in disguise because they are your best instant-service-improvement mechanism, as long as you use them wisely!

Originally published at on May 14, 2017.