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How to Handle Negative Guest Reviews: Examples & Techniques
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Managing your resort, condominiums or hotel reviews are easy when the customer is boasting and raving about you. A simple “thank you, can’t wait to have you back,” and you’re done. Other times when they are a little upset or have decided to go on an all out war with your establishment, that’s another story!

We have helped many of our customers handle disgruntled customers in a professional and helpful way. We understand that it is hard not to take these negative reviews personally, but believe it or not, they can help how others view your business.

Follow these steps and you should be able to turn that frown upside down:


First things first – you have to do your research. Unfortunately, disgruntled employees like to pose as customers. If you discover this is the case, dispute the negative review with the reviewing website. This can take some time but you have to be persistent. 

While waiting for the platform to remove your negative review, (this can take days, weeks and even months) respond. Let the world know this is a past employee that is venting and show them the truth and that this is not a negative guest review but a past employee.

Sometimes the negative guest reviews are from a true guest, but they may have the wrong company. If they have the wrong company, simply inform them that they have the wrong company and direct them to the correct establishment with their link. Again, folks will see how you tried to help, even if it wasn’t your guest. 

If this is a true negative guest review from a current or past guest, find out what happened on your end. This will help you in a few ways. 1.) Does your staff need more training? 2.) Is disciplinary action warranted? 3.) Is the customer leaving anything out…? If so, use that to your advantage. 4.) Use the information to assist you in crafting your response.


Remember when you respond you want to do the following:

  • Leave your emotions out of the response. No need to start a yelling match. After all, you are a professional. 
  • Stay professional. After all, you are the voice of the company.
  • Let them know they have been heard and what you tend to do to make things right, if it can be.
  • Encourage them to contact you directly. You want to encourage the dialog, but you want to encourage it to occur offline.
  • Remember future guests are watching.

Surveys have shown that guests are willing to give an establishment a chance based on how they handle negative guest reviews. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. This negative review and how you choose to handle it, could turn out to be a positive billboard for you as well as a repeat guest and future guests.

Here are a few response examples you can use, or customize to fit your situation: First being an upset customer and the other being an ex-employee.

“Sara, we are so sorry to hear about your bad experience with us. I have consulted with my staff and would love the opportunity to make it right and plan to reach out to you personally to discuss what went wrong.” Be sure to leave your name and title. 

“Richard, I am sorry your experience working with us was so negative, however, we take great pride in our work and in our employees. It is important to us to have the same respect for our employees as we do our customers, and strive to provide a positive place to work.”

If you follow this recipe for managing your negative reviews, the “Negative Nancy” should be resolved. Simply not responding is not a good idea, that is the same as hearing, “No Comment,” and we all know what that sounds like.

Interested in seeing what your guests are saying about your company? Get a free online review report here!

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