Holiday letting can be a really rewarding experience, but no matter how diligent you are as an owner, at some point you’ll probably receive some negative feedback from your guests.
It’s never nice to hear, but by responding to your guest’s feedback in an open, professional way, you’ll more ably resolve their complaint and reduce the impact it has. In fact, negative feedback can have a long-term, positive benefit on your future guests’ happiness and your bookings.
Responding to criticism can be challenging, however, especially when it’s about a holiday home you care for and feel passionately about.
Here we’ll show you how to handle feedback and turn a negative experience into something positive.
Why Have I Received Negative Feedback?
Usually, you’ll receive feedback after your guest’s departure when they complete a survey or an online review. Positive feedback feels great and can be a real motivator, but if it’s negative there may be a number of reasons why.
It may be due to a difference in taste or expectations, or about something outside of your control. Or they may have experienced a genuine problem during their stay.
Whether you feel the feedback is fair or not, the important thing is to respond; it shows that you care about your guest’s opinions and that you’re committed to providing future guests with a great experience.
Should I Worry About Negative Feedback?
It’s impossible to please everyone all of the time. We all have different opinions and expectations, so don’t take the criticism you’ve received too personally.
If you can, try to look at negative feedback as an opportunity; it might be the first step towards improving your holiday home, increasing your guest’s satisfaction and boosting your future bookings.
Many of your guests won’t take the time to give negative feedback either, even if they encountered the exact same issue during their stay. The person who’s provided you with this feedback is giving you a chance to identify and fix an issue that may be holding your holiday home back.
It’s also worth remembering that negative feedback is rare and if one review goes against the general trend, your future guests are unlikely to worry about it, especially if you’ve been really attentive to the issue. There’s even an argument that negative feedback can boost bookings, as it makes your review scores appear more authentic and helps to build trust.
How Should I Respond?
You may be tempted to respond to negative feedback immediately, but don’t, take the time to investigate their comments and let your emotions clear. Try to understand their experience and what they’re feeling.
For example, if a guest complains about a bed being uncomfortable go and lie on it. Even if it’s relatively new and looks comfy, it may have changed with use over time. This will help you create an informed response and demonstrate that you’ve taken their comments seriously.
You may also want to speak to your holiday letting agency and get their opinion on the feedback you’ve received. They’ll be informed about the latest trends, technologies and guest expectations and may have a different viewpoint on the issue. They can also provide guidance to help with your response.
What Should I Include in My Response?
Once you’ve investigated their feedback, reply with a personal, professional response.
Begin, by thanking them for their feedback and acknowledge how the issue impacted upon them. For example, “Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback, I’m sorry you didn’t find the bed comfortable and that it affected the enjoyment of your holiday.”
You’re not agreeing with their feedback necessarily, just showing them that you understand how they feel. Of course, if you do think their feedback is justified recognise that you got it wrong and apologise.
Next explain the steps you’ve taken to investigate the matter and then, if appropriate, explain how and why the issue occurred.
Finally, discuss any changes that you’re going to make as a result of their feedback to prevent the issue from occurring again.
Even if you disagree with the feedback, be polite, helpful and non-confrontational in your response. Your future customers will read these reviews, if you show that you care about your guest’s happiness and respond to their concerns, they’re more likely to overlook any issues that have been raised.
If you’re unsure whether your response is appropriate, ask your holiday letting agency to check it for you.
Once you’ve responded to their feedback and implemented the changes you promised, move on and get back to enjoying your holiday letting experience.
If you’d like further guidance about responding to negative feedback or would like professional support to make your holiday home a success, then get in touch with our experts on 0345 268 1846 or visit www.cottages.com/let-your-property.