We've talked many times in this space not only about the power of authentic reviews, but also about how to be prepared when a negative review is posted. Nobody is happy when a negative review is made public. However, considering that they will be read by travelers, there is a RIGHT and WRONG way to respond to these negative reviews, because the way you respond could impact future bookings substantially. We're here to help.
Take a deep breath. Keep it simple.
You put so much love and care into your business that a negative review is like a punch to the gut.. You can't help but get upset when someone criticizes your product. Take an extra breath before you respond, and remember, simpler is better. Writing too much can cause the reviewer to miss the point, and you may come off as defensive—or worse, condescending—the more you talk and explain.
Thank the renter & apologize
Common courtesy right from the start goes a long way. Thank the renter for bringing the issues to your attention. Empathy is a powerful force when dealing with customers who are disappointed and can help you deflect tension immediately.
"Dear Jane, thank you for sharing your review about your recent stay at our villa. We apologize for the inconvenience the broken air conditioner caused."
Provide an honest explanation (if there is one)
Don't make excuses, but if there is a legitimate explanation for why the error occurred, feel free to articulate it. Sometimes reviewers can be confused and may complain about something that did not actually happen or they simply misunderstood. This is a good chance to gently fix the situation right away, without making the reviewer feel embarrassed.
This issue won't go away if you avoid it. It does need to be fixed. Be forthright if you can; people will appreciate it.
We understand the air conditioner can be tricky to work because the buttons sit at the very top and not on the front, so they are difficult to see. You are not the first to bring this to our attention, so we added additional signage on the unit before your stay with the hope that the issue would be easily solvable.
Propose a solution & next steps
Let the reviewer know that this issue has been fixed. Future guests will see that they won't have to deal with it if they stay in your property. If you have the means, offer a coupon or discount for a future stay.
We have ordered the appropriate part and are waiting for it to arrive in the next 3-5 days. We will install it immediately upon arrival. Please accept a $50 coupon for your next stay with us as an apology for this inconvenience.
This is the final chance to leave an impression. Thank the reviewer one last time, and leave contact information to let him or her know you are available for follow up if necessary. This type of proactive response to a negative review will show future customers that you care, that issues are fixed in a timely manner, and that this property is worthy of booking.
Thank you again Jane for writing in to us about this issue; we greatly appreciate your feedback. Please let us know if you need anything else by calling our offices at 555-656-4467 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.