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Hotel Reputation: put a stop to negative reviews
In an increasingly connected world, the online reputation of hotels can be jeopardized by any “permanent” judgment or comment posted by an unsatisfied guest. These reviews can be true sometimes, in case the staff or the property have not met the expectations of guests. Anyhow, looking for a low-cost solution and expecting a 5-star service, is the start of a negative experience. In some circumstances customers can really experience a bad service, while in other cases, events or complaints reported in negative reviews would have no reason to be published if management dealt with (unpredictable) situations correctly - situations that fall within daily business activities of hospitality professionals.
Nowadays, it is mandatory to maintain high standards and offer quality services in order to prevent that the guest, who is more and more inclined to externalize his experience on social media, negatively reviews his stay at your property.
Complaints are widespread in all hotels, even the most prestigious ones who must indeed be armed with patience to accommodate the bizarre requests and / or complaints of the most demanding guests. Some criticisms might be caused by events outside management’s control, while others instead, as in the case of those who complain because the ice is too cold, might be impossible to solve.
Perseverance, initiative and kindness are the elements that can save your online reputation.
Below are 7 tips on how to best manage guests’ complaints, regardless of your hotel type (resort, b&b or business) that can turn out to be handy whenever you and your staff have to solve unpleasant or difficult situations:
1. Take responsibility
You must reasonably face every complaint as genuine and not as a whim or an opportunity for the guest to create unnecessary problems. After all, the purpose of your property is to provide a satisfactory experience to your customer and if the latter complains, then something went wrong. Not giving weight to a complaint, even a small one, is the worst thing you can do because often this attitude worsens a situation that could have easily been solved with minimum efforts. You must not need to take the blame always, especially if the event was unpredictable, but apologizing sincerely to a guest is the first step to start a positive conversation and solve the problem together.
2. Reduce the stress level
Some guests may be unstable, difficult to predict, unreasonable or simply emotionally charged. Do your best to remain calm and professional, listen carefully to what they have to say, look at them in the eyes, call them by name and take notes of their problems: this will make it clear to your guests that you are taking the situation seriously and will help both to have a cooperate attitude. It is good practice to "separate" guests who complain from others, so that other people are not involved in the story. To avoid misunderstandings or incomplete information transfer, we also recommend you to narrow down the responsibility to solve the problem to the fewest people possible.
3. It is an unexpected event, not a war
Very often, unfortunately, both sides treat these events as a battle that must be won. This is undoubtedly the worst way to deal with the situation and certainly the one that will not lead to a friendly resolution and probably become the subject of a negative review online. In these cases, it is important not to get defensive and under no circumstances blame the guest or insult him. You should instead, handle the situation in the same way you deal with other tasks of the hotel, following procedures for a satisfactory conclusion. You and your guest must listen to each other, clear any doubts and make sure you are on the same page.
4. Understanding what the guest wants
Do not be afraid to face the problem by digging into the real motivation that pushes the guest to complain with your staff. Once the guest is more relaxed, ask a few questions to better understand how you can help him. Perhaps he is complaining about the slow internet connection, but only because he cannot speak with his loved one on Skype. Knowing the exact nature of the complaint makes you understand the core of the problem and gives you the opportunity to find alternative solutions, allowing you to solve the situation faster and in a more satisfactory way.
5. Shared satisfaction
Although the customer is always right, you cannot always accommodate all complaints. Guests will probably be annoyed if you and your staff can not solve the situation exactly as requested, but you cannot always satisfy all needs. For example, if a guest requests a refund but your company policy does not allow it, you can’t give him money back. However, you can find alternative solutions such as offering a non-financial compensation: an upgrade, extra services at no additional cost, free use of specific services, late check-out.
Of course, you want to solve the situation as soon as possible: the faster you face the problem, the less likely the guest will leave a negative review afterwards. Guests will surely appreciate an honest recognition and a quick action. Your goal is to make the complaint distant in their mind once their experience comes to an end.
7. Follow up
Once you have successfully achieved a positive outcome, you must follow up, specifically once the situation has calmed down, you should verify with the client that everything is really ok: ask him if he was happy with how the issue has been solved and if there is anything else you can do to help him. You can also do this after their stay by email or phone, follow up is important if you want to encourage the guest to come back and especially if you want to avoid negative reviews online.
In a world increasingly dominated by online reviews, the fact that the guest leaves your hotel satisfied must be the first of your thoughts.
Ensuring an efficient service to your guests is undoubtedly at the basis of a positive stay experience. Often, most complaints arise from a lack of attention of the customer’s needs or lack of efficiency by staff in handling the interaction with the guest. Not only it’s important to prepare your staff to handle these situations correctly, but it fundamental to provide valid tools to your staff to be able to offer a precise and timely service to guests in a consistent way.
For example, Ericsoft's all-in-one PMS system, thanks to a centralized management, makes hotel operations belonging to the different departments automatic: from online sales, to guest management and email marketing activities. Below are some aspects and activities that positively affect the way guests are handled:
- reduction in waiting time at reception thanks to the online check in service (very important aspect especially for those customers traveling for work or with children);
- automatic processes that sustain staff in managing the guest and his reservation;
- single database containing all conversations between the hotel and the guest to have all information related to the customer’s preferences at hand;
- reduction in manual workload of staff, who can spend less time entering data in the PMS system and more time taking care of guests;
- extra attention to the customer before his arrival, by sending emails containing detailed information on how to reach the hotel or other useful information to enjoy their stay;
- evaluation questionnaires and safe trip home e-mails to verify guests’ satisfaction levels, to analyze which aspects of the stay are evaluated positively and which must be improved.
To find out how an all-in-one PMS can help your staff in guest management activities, call us at +39 0541 604894 or fill out the form below, we will be at your disposal to show you, without commitment, how to take advantage of our technology to satisfy your guests.
We have been creating complete and highly specialized technological solutions for the hospitality industry since 1995.
Having an exclusive focus on a single industry, our investments have always been entirely dedicated to the development of our software and innovative applications for hotel and restaurant management.
The experience gained over the years, together with what we acquire on a daily basis by being in contact with hospitality professionals, allows us to understand the real needs of the sector and to develop, based on new market trends and regulations, flexible and scalable solutions that can be customized according to the needs of each property, from independent ones to chains.
INFORMATION about the processing of personal data
Arts. 12 et seq of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR)
Subject: information about the processing of personal data pursuant to arts. 12 et seq of Regulation (EU)
Introduction - Regulation (EU) 2016/679 («General Data Protection Regulation»), hereinafter GDPR) provides safeguards for natural persons with regard to the processing of their personal data. In accordance with the above legislation, the processing of personal data that refers to an identified or identifiable natural person, being the “data subject”, is based on the principles of correctness, legality and transparency, as well as the protection of confidentiality and the rights of the data subject.
This information is provided in compliance with the above Regulation to inform you that, with regard to your customer relationship with our organization, we hold certain data about you that was acquired, verbally or in writing, either directly or via third parties that carry out operations concerning you or that, in response to your requests, acquire information and provide it to us.
Pursuant to the GDPR, this information must be treated as “personal data” since it relates to you and must therefore benefit from the protection provided by the above Regulation. More specifically, in accordance with the Regulation, you are the data subject who benefits from the rights that safeguard your personal data.
Pursuant to arts. 12 et seq of the GDPR, as the Controller, our organization will process the personal data provided by you with the utmost care in compliance with the Regulation, implementing effective operational procedures and processes in order to guarantee the safeguards that protect the processing of your personal data. For this purpose, using material and operational procedures to safeguard the collected data, we undertake to protect the information provided, in order to avoid unauthorized access and disclosure, maintain the accuracy of the data and guarantee its appropriate use.
Consistent with this introduction, the following information is provided:
Collected personal data - Our organization, as the Controller, uses your personal data to carry on our business activities in the best possible manner.
You may be requested to provided some or all of the following data:
Length of time that your data will be retained - The collected data will be retained for the entire duration of the relationship or collaboration with our organization, and for 10 years after the end of the relationship. If during the contract period, data is processed that is not relevant to the administrative-accounting obligations arising under the contract, such data will be retained for the time necessary to achieve the purposes for which it was collected, and then deleted. You will be given specific information about the length of time that your data will be retained when the data is collected.
Mandatory or optional nature of providing data and consequences of refusal – The essential data needed to execute the contract must be provided to us, together with the data required to fulfill legal, regulatory and EU legislation obligations, as well as instructions from competent authorities and supervisory and control bodies.
Non-essential data, not required for execution of the contractual relationship, must be identified and considered additional information whose provision, if requested, is optional. Your refusal to provide such data would however mean that our organization will be less efficient when dealing with third parties.
Should "data that is sensitive or whose processing is subject to specific risks” be needed in order to carry out the contract, provide specific services or fulfill legal obligations, the provision of such data will be mandatory and, since it can only be processed following written consent from the data subject, you will have to give consent for its processing.
Methods of processing – Pursuant and consequent to arts. 12 et seq GDPR, the personal data that you provide will be recorded, processed and retained in our hard-copy and electronic files, in compliance with the adequate technical and organizational measures specified in art. 32 GDPR. The processing of your personal data may consist in any operation or series of operations described in art. 4, para. 1, point 2 GDPR. Personal data will be processed using suitable tools and procedures that guarantee security and confidentiality. Such processing may be carried out directly and/or via delegated third parties, both manually using hard-copy support and electronically using IT equipment and other instruments. In order to manage properly the relationship and fulfill legal obligations, personal data may be included in the internal documentation of the Controller and, if necessary, in the documents and registers required by law.
Activities which may be entrusted to external parties - When carrying out our activities as the Data Controller, we may occasionally request other operators to perform certain services on our behalf, such as processing or other services; services needed in order to carry out requested operations or activities; shipments and deliveries; accounting registrations; administrative activities. If the operator appointed by the Controller to carry out certain activities is a company that provides payment, tax collection and treasury management, banking and financial brokerage services, the following services may also be supplied: mass processing of payments, notes, checks and other securities; sending, placing in envelopes, transportation and sorting of communications; filing of documents; identification of financial risks; control of fraud; credit collection. The above operators will only be given the information needed to provide the requested services. They will be required to maintain confidentiality and forbidden to use the data provided for purposes other than those agreed. Operators that are not persons in our organization tasked with processing personal data will be appointed as Data Processors (pursuant to art. 28 GDPR) and will process the data to the extent strictly necessary in order to provide the requested service and solely for that purpose, guaranteeing that their persons tasked with processing have signed a confidentiality agreement. For any matters not indicated herein, these operators must provide specific information about the processing of personal data carried out by them.
Transfer abroad of personal data - The data provided by you will only be processed in Italy. If during the contractual relationship your data is processed in a non-EU State, your rights under EU legislation will be guaranteed and you will be informed on a timely basis.
Purposes of processing your personal data - The main purpose for which our organization will process your personal data is to enable the relationship described in the introduction to become established and/or develop, as well as to ensure that it is administered correctly.
In particular, the following purposes of processing are identified:
Personal data will be processed to fulfill legal obligations, as well as the administrative, insurance and tax obligations envisaged under current legislation, to satisfy accounting and commercial needs, and to fulfill in a timely manner the contractual and legal obligations deriving from the contractual relationship with the data subject. The data provided may also be used to contact the data subject in the context of market research relating to the products or services, or in the context of commercial campaigns or offers. The data subject is free, in all cases, to refuse consent for such purposes and also to specify the manner in which to be contacted or to receive commercial information.
Extent of knowledge of your data - The following categories of data processors or persons tasked with processing by our organization may become aware of your data:
Personal data may also become known by parties that have agreements with us, as indicated in the section entitled “Methods of processing”. We may delegate the fulfillment of certain obligations or deeds to such parties, for the purpose of executing the contractual relationship with the data subject.
Communication and dissemination - Our organization may communicate your data externally, i.e. make it known to one or more specific parties, in order to fulfill all required legal and/or contractual obligations. In particular, your data may be communicated to:
We may communicate your data:
In all cases, your data will only be communicated to operators in order to contribute to fulfillment of the contractual relations that may arise with the data subjects concerned.
Dissemination - We will not disseminate your data indiscriminately, i.e. we will not make it known to unspecified subjects, or make it available for use or consultation.
Trust and confidentiality - We recognize the importance of the trust shown by data subjects who consent to the processing of their personal data and, therefore, we undertake not to sell, hire or rent such personal information to others.
Any debt collection activities and/or communication of omitted payments – Following the signing of the contract for the provision of services, our organization may use the contact details you provide (in particular phone number and email address) in order to undertake reminder activities with reference to debt collection and omitted payments. These communications can be made via email, certified mail, phone call, SMS and WhatsApp. The contact data collected for the purpose of this paragraph will be kept for the entire duration of the relationship or collabration with our organization and in any case until the balance of all payments due on the aforementioned contract.
Rights pursuant to arts. 15 et seq GDPR - Pursuant to art. 15 GDPR, you are entitled to obtain confirmation of whether or not your personal data has been processed, even if the results have not yet been recorded. Exercise of this right depends on verification of the identity of the data subject, by presentation of an identity document that will not be retained by our organization, but merely checked to verify the legitimacy of the request.
You are entitled to access to your personal data and the following information:
If the data is transferred to another country or to an international organization, you are entitled to be informed about the existence of adequate guarantees pursuant to art. 46 GDPR.
You are entitled to request the controller to amend or delete your personal data, in whole or in part, or to restrict the processing of your personal data or to object, in whole or in part, to its processing.
To exercise these rights, contact the “Data Controller” for our organization at via Adriatica n.62 – 47843 Misano Adriatico or call +390541604894 or write to the email@example.com. The Controller will respond within 30 days of receiving your formal request.
If your rights concerning your personal data are infringed, you may complain to the competent authority:
“Guarantor for the protection of personal data - Garante”.
Identification details of the Data Controller and, if appointed, the Representative in the territory of the State and the Data Processor.
Controller - This organization is the Controller of processing: ERICSOFT ITALIA SRL with registered offices at via Adriatica n.62 – 47843 Misano Adriatico; Tel: +39 0541604894; fax: 0541604862; certified e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org; e-mail: email@example.com.
Data Protection Manager – The Data Protection Manager is Mario Brocca, who can be contacted at +39
0371/5943191 - firstname.lastname@example.org – email@example.com
Data Processors - The Data Processors are external firms with which contractual relations have been established, and which need your personal data in order to fulfill those agreements.
Each data subject may send a letter to the Data Controller, at the above address, requesting information about any Data Processors that have been appointed and to be informed about any persons appointed to perform that function in future.
Please note that the above Data Processors are not responsible for fulfilling requests from data subjects to exercise their rights pursuant to arts. 15 et seq GDPR. That activity is carried out exclusively by this organization as the Data Controller.
Representative in the territory of the State - Pursuant to art. 4, para. 1, point 17 GDPR, it is confirmed that none of the related circumstances envisaged in the Regulation are applicable and that, accordingly, our organization has not appointed any Representatives in the territory of the State for the purpose of applying the regulations that govern the processing of personal data.
Processing without need for consent from the data subject - Even without your consent, this organization is entitled to process your personal data should it be necessary in order to:
Furthermore, your express consent is not required when the processing:
Il TITOLARE del Trattamento
ERICSOFT ITALIA SRL
helpdesk: 365 days a year
from 8:00am to 8:00pm
Offices: from Monday to Friday
from 09:00am to 01:00pm and from 02:30pm to 06:00pm
Address: S.S. Adriatica 62, Misano Adriatico (RN)