The use of reviews in today’s digital world can be highly instrumental content for any travel business. This is because they have the power to paint a positive picture of a company and thus entice other customers to buy a product or book a tour.
Unfortunately, bad reviews can't always be avoided.
And so, when you receive a negative review, you need to know how to write an adequate response that rectifies the situation and puts your travel business in a favorable light.
In many cases, the way a company responds to bad reviews often reveals more about them than all other positive reviews. So, don't miss the opportunity to use negative reviews to enhance trust and boost your brand image.
In this guide, we’ll cover why reviews are important and how to respond to a bad review on TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, or anywhere else that you generate feedback.
Why Reviews Are Important For Your Travel Business
It is no secret that generating loads of positive reviews for your travel business is one of the most strategic components that should be incorporated into your marketing plan.
Reviews help you gain valuable user-generated content and social proof - factors that play a major role in the travel buying decision. Because making a travel purchase requires quite a lot of decision-making, reviews are incredibly valuable in helping to push the customer to take action and book a tour.
Positive reviews will help you build brand awareness, market your tours, earn a good reputation, develop trust around your business, and more.
You can even promote reviews by adding them to your booking pages and website to help prospects feel more comfortable with supporting your business, and you could share positive reviews on social media to help your audience feel more connected with your brand.
An effective strategy is to use a tool like WeTravel that offers a customer review widget feature. This tool allows you to collect reviews from customers and easily add them to your website.
Adding positive reviews directly to your site can make a massive impact on your conversion rates.
Quite simply, generating online reviews can play a major role in how your business builds trust, attracts customers, and closes bookings.
Why Your Response To A Negative Review Is Important
While your goal might be to generate hundreds of positive reviews, you can’t always avoid a few negative reviews from slipping in.
When you see a negative review, don’t panic! You can dampen the negative effect of this review by responding to it tactfully.
The way you respond to negative reviews reveals a great deal about your company. It shows that you care about the customer experience, that you’re interested in turning bad experiences into good ones, and that your brand is only human.
When prospective customers read reviews about your travel business, they will be on high alert for negative reviews. By responding to these reviews carefully, you have a chance to explain the cause of the negative experience, apologize, and possibly, turn the customer's negative experience into a positive one.
Basically, you can use negative reviews to showcase your strong customer satisfaction skills.
This can help to develop further trust in your tour company and make customers feel safer about making a booking because they can see you genuinely care about their experience.
So, even though negative reviews may seem like a bad thing, you can use them to your business’s advantage by responding to them in the right, strategic manner.
Top 6 Tips For Responding To Negative Reviews
Knowing how to respond to a bad review on TripAdvisor or Google is essential for any travel business. Here are six important elements to keep in mind when writing up a response to a negative review.
1. Respond Within A Reasonable Timeframe
All eyes are on you once that bad review is posted. It is very clear to identify the date stamp, use this to your advantage by responding within a 24-hour window.
This shows your clientele that you are attentive to their travel experiences, good or bad.
2. Trace Back The Root Of The Problem
The first point of call should be to understand exactly what happened, where your business went wrong, and exactly what caused the customer to have a negative experience. Conduct your investigation prior to contacting the customer so that you can respond appropriately, and have all the right information if there are any follow-up questions.
This will also give you major insight that can assist in preventing similar issues from reoccurring in the future.
If a potential customer reads a negative review and sees the business trying to trace the root of the issue, they will be able to better understand why the negative experience took place. In many cases, this can help them realize that it was an isolated event, or that it's very unlikely the same issue might happen to them.
Maybe the bad experience was a result of external factors that the travel business couldn’t control - like bad weather. In this case, the negative review may not seem so negative after all.
3. Try To Reach A Middle Ground
It’s imperative that you acknowledge the customer's point of view. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your business has to always admit fault.
Instead, use the opportunity to explain your side of the story, and try to reach a middle ground between your company and your client.
If your travel company is in the wrong, establish where you went wrong, apologize for it, then explain yourself.
In some cases, thorough due diligence might reveal that your business wasn't the only party that caused the negative experience. Perhaps the situation was uncontrollable, or the customer had something to do with it, or maybe they were just being difficult.
Trying to reach a middle ground will show people reading the reviews that you have looked into the matter and have dealt with it in a caring and professional manner. It may even reveal that the experience wasn't as bad as the review made it out to be.
This can help to establish trust, and get people to overlook the negative review. The writer of the review might even delete their comment if the issue is resolved to their satisfaction.
4. Use Reassuring Language
Your aim should always be to show clients that your business cares about them and their experiences. To achieve this, make sure that you use reassuring, but carefully measured language.
Be sure to apologize to customers for their negative experience, However, don't be overly apologetic. Rather, try to reassure them that you can make the situation right. The more apologetic you are, the more it may seem like the cause of the negative review was due to your negligence as a tour operator.
So, take a carefully measured tone and focus on reassuring the customer that their viewpoint is valid and that you can work with them to fix the issue.
5. Find A Solution
The overall goal of your response to the negative review should be to find a solution for the customer. While you can’t avoid bad experiences, you can try to make them right.
Once you have established the cause of the issue, try to come up with a credible solution to appease the customer and the readers of the review.
When responding to reviews, the best way to do this is to move the conversation somewhere private.
For example, you could say something along the lines of “We’re sorry to hear about your experience, please get hold of us directly at email@example.com so that we can resolve your issue”.
Moving the conversation somewhere private closes off the review and shows people that you are invested in creating a positive experience for all your clients. It also shows that you are taking the time and effort to actually engage with past customers who had negative experiences.
You could offer a direct solution in the review response, like a refund. However, this could backfire, as other customers might see this and want the same (which could result in further negative reviews).
6. Personalize Your Response And Be Friendly
When you write a response addressing a negative review, make sure to personalize your message.
It may seem obvious, but some businesses take the approach of merely cutting and pasting their responses to all their reviews - this is not a good sign for prospective customers reading the reviews.
Address the reviewer by name, mention the details of their issue, and offer personalized feedback.
Of course, you also need to be friendly and sympathetic. Don't let negative reviews upset you - keep your response friendly and keep appropriate business etiquette in mind throughout the process.
Knowing how to write a negative review response is critical for maintaining a strong brand image and using reviews to your advantage.
As reviews are such essential pieces of marketing content for travel businesses, it's crucial that you understand how to adequately handle bad reviews when they arise.
Using the six tactics mentioned above, you should be well-equipped to prevent any negative effects of a bad review from affecting your travel business.
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