According to a study conducted by TripAdvisor, about 9 out of 10 travellers consider TripAdvisor reviews to be essential when they’re choosing who they should book with online. That means that if you’ve had a bad review about your activity or hotel, you need to know how to respond in a way that’s beneficial both to you, and the people reading your response.

The good news is that a bad review doesn’t have to mean the end of your travel business. Everyone encounters criticism from time to time, the key is making sure that you know how to manage it in a productive way. So, how can you ensure that you’re dealing with criticism positively?

Step 1: Be Calm and Punctual

While it’s difficult to maintain a professional attitude when someone starts criticising your business, it’s important to remain calm. An aggressive response could damage your reputation even more than the original review.

Ask the customer to discuss their problem with you in depth, and try to come up with a way that you can fix the issue for them. Remember, the best responses come when companies respond to a negative review within 48 hours or less – when the customer experience is still fresh in their mind.

Step 2: Be Respectful with Your Response

Just responding to a negative review as quickly as possible isn’t enough to achieve the results you want from your interaction. Instead, you’ll need to think carefully about how you’re going to respond in a way that’s positive for both your guest, and your brand.

React publicly to the message that your customer has sent you, so that you have an opportunity to show the world how much you care about your guests. At the same, make sure you’re respectful, and that you validate your client’s feelings by telling them that you appreciate their anguish, and that you want to manage the situation for them.

Step 3: Follow the Guidelines for a Proactive Response

While it can be tempting to simply apologise to a customer and hope that your humble reaction will prompt them to sweep their concerns under the rug, it’s often much more effective to be proactive when you’re dealing with a negative TripAdvisor review. If there’s something that your customer’s don’t like about your trip experience, then you’ll benefit from changing it as quickly as possible, as this will lead to more satisfied guests.

Remember to:

  • Thank the reviewer for their feedback
  • Acknowledge their concerns
  • Point out the positive aspects of their experience where possible
  • Invite them to help you think of a solution to the problem

Step 4: Don’t Just Avoid Feedback

While a single unpleasant review shouldn’t be enough to convince you that you need to turn your entire business strategy on it’s head, if you’re constantly getting feedback against the same problems, then this could be a sign that you have an issue that needs to be fixed. Instead of hiding from criticism, make sure that you use your reviews to your advantage to make positive changes in your company.

At the same time, remember to encourage happy customers to share their feelings too, so that prospective guests can see that you do have a good side to your company – even if there are a few issues you need to work on. A mix of positive and negative reviews could even help you to appear more human to your customers.


Luke is the founder of Thrive Tourism with almost a decade of experience in Online Marketing, consulting and managing campaigns for brands big and small since 2012.

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