Zero Stars, Scandal, and How to Handle A PR Crisis At Your Hotel
It’s only sometimes a win to go viral. Going viral can hurt your reputation. Your bottom line will only improve if you share the same values as your customers. What to do if something happens that threatens your public image.
Your first response should not be.
Think. Sit. Sit.
Before you react externally, find out what’s going on internally. Prepare a crisis plan before any emergency.
You should apologize for any mistakes you make and try to correct them. Ninety percent of customers say authenticity is an essential factor when choosing brands. Fifty-one percent of customers believe most brands need to produce authentic content. This is especially true when you apologize for something. Ask yourself if you think what you are saying and assume that guests share the same level of intelligence.
Customers want to be heard and understood. Validate the complaint while you fix it. Use phrases such as “I can understand what you are feeling.” We’ll get to work on [appropriate solution] immediately.”
If you feel the criticism was unfair, polite, and brief, apologies can go a long way to repair your reputation and business relationships. Bonus points if you can make your apology less misspelled and have fewer random capitalizations.
Not all complaints are crises. Negative comments can legitimize your positive reviews and show guests how professional you handle conflict.
Do not try to claim that your mistake or previous statement was just a joke. After the press discovered they attempted to charge guests 500 dollars for negative reviews, this hotel did. Don’t fine guests, either. You will be the joke if you do this.
The following is a list of preventions.
What can you do to avoid this from happening again? Cleaning house now–literally and metaphorically–saves a lot of aggravation and heartache in the future. If nothing scandalous occurs, the post won’t be viral. Are you looking to improve your staff training or hiring procedures? Streamline processes? Invest in insecticides?
It’s not just a one-time thing. Review your policies and use practice scenarios to ensure staff members know how to handle customer conflicts. They must be able to determine when it is best to enforce the rules strictly and when an exception should be made. It would help if you didn’t make your guests who have pre-booked pay for an upgrade when you are overbooked. The definition of common sense implies that it is less common than you might think.
You don’t want your mishap to appear on Google first, no matter how good you are at apologizing and how effective your prevention measures may be.
You can use some tricks and tips to keep your mistake from being publicized and to move it to the second page. You can, for example, send your guest’s direct contact information (in a message sent to them privately) to help resolve the problem more quickly. The conversation is taken offline, preventing further damage.
If you’re apologizing, avoid using your business name excessively. It will hurt your SEO. This conversation should be one of many things that come up when someone searches for your name. Your brand name is the key to your reputation. Facebook, Meta, or Meta is a good example.
If you get a terrible review, request more reviews to make it up. The request can be made on social media or via email. It can also be done in person. It’s best to wait to email until a few days have passed since the guest has left your property.
It’s not uncommon for a controversial post to originate from you. It’s best to remove the post if it is causing you too much criticism online. You might also want to write an apology.
It is not always you.
If you think a review is inappropriate or not from a genuine customer, such as a competitor, you can ask websites like TripAdvisor or Yelp to remove it.
It’s better to ignore a minor complaint, such as the towels not being fluffy enough. You should apologize in the same manner as if you had agreed. If you start a fight over the fabric’s integrity or wash temperature, it will make you look petty.
If it is a more significant issue, for example, a guest says you have a Netherworld portal in room 13; then you might need to correct your record. You can share any proof that you have. You can also ask the person to retract their statement if it was a miscommunication. It is essential to handle this carefully. Otherwise, it can backfire if a guest believes you are only interested in the review rather than the issue.