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nkeeprs

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I just recieved a negative review and it is killing me . I go out of my way for guest and I feel like a slap in the face.
He said the room was great, very nice innkeeper who gave great suggestions for dinners, however the breakfast was not that good.
I take these stupid reviews right to heart. I know poor poor me. LOL Just wanted to rant and whine a little bit.
Now just move on and get over it. Right ?
 

seashanty

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hmmm ... my first impulse would be to write an innkeeper response ... something like 'We are so glad you liked your room and us (your innkeepers!)
We are surprised to hear you were somewhat disappointed in your breakfast because we get so many compliments .... ' or don't mention the breakfast.
something like that ...
i know there is a way to turn this around. there was just recently a discussion about reviews and innkeeper responses on the forum. just DON'T go nuts in responding because that makes it worse. this forum is the place to vent.
hold off ... see what the others on the forum have to say.
it does hurt. of course it does.
(hugs)
ps here's an older thread with great advice. https://www.innspiring.com/node/4210
 

JBloggs

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Sorry nkeeprs, I know it is awful and we're here for you. Hugs.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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nkeeprs, it's natural to feel upset. Especially since you went out of your way for this guest.
But advice 1. Wait. You're too upset to write a good response today.
Advice 2. Write up a response and have someone else look at it to make sure it doesn't come across as defensive or angry.
You want your response to thank the guest for the good things he/she said and to deal with the negative aspect quickly and positively.
I have a couple of questions though. Was the review negative or just 1 sentence within an otherwise good review? Did the guest say they'd recommend you? Did they give you a good rating (at least a 4)?
 

Morticia

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OK, you have a couple of unhappy breakfast camper reviews. So, damage control for you first...is there something on your website or in conversation that is setting the guest up for something you are not delivering? (Keep in mind as you read this, that I'm on your side, just wanting you to look at it from a different perspective.)
Do you have 'glam' breakfast shots that make the guest think your breakfast is over the top? Do you explain to guests that it is 'their choice' as to what they want? I guess I'm trying to figure out why they thought you should be whipping up these 'creations' if the expectation wasn't put before them at some point.
ANd why did these folks wait 6 months to write this review? (Not that you can answer that question!)
Because these 2 unhappy reviewers are hurting your overall ranking, you need to figure out why their expectations weren't met.
 

NW Natterbug

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Ouch. He did go on didn't he? But you have scads of excellent reviews and it is clear from previous mgmt repsonse that you care about your guests. Perhaps in the response you could touch on some of the other breafast choices you offer. Clearly other guests are wowed by the blueberry cobbler French Toast. More hugs.....
...from the bug.
 

Morticia

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OK, you have a couple of unhappy breakfast camper reviews. So, damage control for you first...is there something on your website or in conversation that is setting the guest up for something you are not delivering? (Keep in mind as you read this, that I'm on your side, just wanting you to look at it from a different perspective.)
Do you have 'glam' breakfast shots that make the guest think your breakfast is over the top? Do you explain to guests that it is 'their choice' as to what they want? I guess I'm trying to figure out why they thought you should be whipping up these 'creations' if the expectation wasn't put before them at some point.
ANd why did these folks wait 6 months to write this review? (Not that you can answer that question!)
Because these 2 unhappy reviewers are hurting your overall ranking, you need to figure out why their expectations weren't met..
OK, maybe it is the blurb on the home page with the foodie photo and foodie info about the town that is making them think you will be whipping up what they see in that photo. (I'm guessing here.) Overall everyone seems quite delighted with your place. Is that photo and blurb new? Maybe setting up a new level of expectation?
Because you have a ton of 'wonderful breakfast' comments were these unhappy folks some sort of food junkies? If you can remember them. We've all had that happen.
BTW, DO you whip up breakfasts that look like the photo? I didn't see any other 'food' info on your site (but I didn't dig).
 

Morticia

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Sorry, the problem solver jumped in there and the sympathetic innkeeping pal went to sleep...sorry about the review, they sound like unhappy people overall.
 

nkeeprs

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OK, you have a couple of unhappy breakfast camper reviews. So, damage control for you first...is there something on your website or in conversation that is setting the guest up for something you are not delivering? (Keep in mind as you read this, that I'm on your side, just wanting you to look at it from a different perspective.)
Do you have 'glam' breakfast shots that make the guest think your breakfast is over the top? Do you explain to guests that it is 'their choice' as to what they want? I guess I'm trying to figure out why they thought you should be whipping up these 'creations' if the expectation wasn't put before them at some point.
ANd why did these folks wait 6 months to write this review? (Not that you can answer that question!)
Because these 2 unhappy reviewers are hurting your overall ranking, you need to figure out why their expectations weren't met..
Thanks Morticia
can always count on you to put me in my place. Thanks so much
:)
 

nkeeprs

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Ouch. He did go on didn't he? But you have scads of excellent reviews and it is clear from previous mgmt repsonse that you care about your guests. Perhaps in the response you could touch on some of the other breafast choices you offer. Clearly other guests are wowed by the blueberry cobbler French Toast. More hugs.....
...from the bug..
Thanks for the kind words. Needed that this evening
 

nkeeprs

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Sorry, the problem solver jumped in there and the sympathetic innkeeping pal went to sleep...sorry about the review, they sound like unhappy people overall..
You always give great advice . Thanks again for being there for me. Come visit me in Portland hehe
 

gillumhouse

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I am sorry about the negative. Unfortunately those are the ones we remember - not the 101 great ones. I just asked some horse guests to post reviews to one of the horse sites (a new place has popped up with a better score - and wouldn't you know it! One gave a negative tick to the stable re 24-hour monitoring. Huh? it is a farm in the county in a State with one of the lowest crime rates - where people think nothing of leaving payment on the desk! So now I have a tick mark in the negative column where before I had none.
((hugs))
 

JBloggs

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OK, you have a couple of unhappy breakfast camper reviews. So, damage control for you first...is there something on your website or in conversation that is setting the guest up for something you are not delivering? (Keep in mind as you read this, that I'm on your side, just wanting you to look at it from a different perspective.)
Do you have 'glam' breakfast shots that make the guest think your breakfast is over the top? Do you explain to guests that it is 'their choice' as to what they want? I guess I'm trying to figure out why they thought you should be whipping up these 'creations' if the expectation wasn't put before them at some point.
ANd why did these folks wait 6 months to write this review? (Not that you can answer that question!)
Because these 2 unhappy reviewers are hurting your overall ranking, you need to figure out why their expectations weren't met..
OK, maybe it is the blurb on the home page with the foodie photo and foodie info about the town that is making them think you will be whipping up what they see in that photo. (I'm guessing here.) Overall everyone seems quite delighted with your place. Is that photo and blurb new? Maybe setting up a new level of expectation?
Because you have a ton of 'wonderful breakfast' comments were these unhappy folks some sort of food junkies? If you can remember them. We've all had that happen.
BTW, DO you whip up breakfasts that look like the photo? I didn't see any other 'food' info on your site (but I didn't dig).
.
Morticia said:
Because you have a ton of 'wonderful breakfast' comments were these unhappy folks some sort of food junkies? If you can remember them. We've all had that happen.
I did a quick view and didn't see deep descriptions of breakfast anywhere, except the term full hot breakfast. Now like I said to you Mortie, we u-picked some colonial strawberries on Sat briefly, when the only Sat check in arrived, here for their anniversary, I raced in put a beautiful bowlful of berries and fresh cream in their room. This was not the norm here, all other rooms were out ALL DAY from since before the crack of dawn.
So if that guest should review us, which I would be grateful of course, and mention this, then what? Will other guests expect this? This has happened before. "Where is the homemade cherry dessert?" one asked, well I only made that ONCE!! The guest from the UK commented as he absolutely loved it, and I actually never made it again. So every guest who reads out TA reviews reads about it. What do I do? Make it for every check in?
This makes it very difficult, and I especially don't like reviews that DO mention the innkeepers MOSTLY and don't describe the place, setting, environment, things to see and do. It is just too weighty.
 

Morticia

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OK, you have a couple of unhappy breakfast camper reviews. So, damage control for you first...is there something on your website or in conversation that is setting the guest up for something you are not delivering? (Keep in mind as you read this, that I'm on your side, just wanting you to look at it from a different perspective.)
Do you have 'glam' breakfast shots that make the guest think your breakfast is over the top? Do you explain to guests that it is 'their choice' as to what they want? I guess I'm trying to figure out why they thought you should be whipping up these 'creations' if the expectation wasn't put before them at some point.
ANd why did these folks wait 6 months to write this review? (Not that you can answer that question!)
Because these 2 unhappy reviewers are hurting your overall ranking, you need to figure out why their expectations weren't met..
OK, maybe it is the blurb on the home page with the foodie photo and foodie info about the town that is making them think you will be whipping up what they see in that photo. (I'm guessing here.) Overall everyone seems quite delighted with your place. Is that photo and blurb new? Maybe setting up a new level of expectation?
Because you have a ton of 'wonderful breakfast' comments were these unhappy folks some sort of food junkies? If you can remember them. We've all had that happen.
BTW, DO you whip up breakfasts that look like the photo? I didn't see any other 'food' info on your site (but I didn't dig).
.
Morticia said:
Because you have a ton of 'wonderful breakfast' comments were these unhappy folks some sort of food junkies? If you can remember them. We've all had that happen.
I did a quick view and didn't see deep descriptions of breakfast anywhere, except the term full hot breakfast. Now like I said to you Mortie, we u-picked some colonial strawberries on Sat briefly, when the only Sat check in arrived, here for their anniversary, I raced in put a beautiful bowlful of berries and fresh cream in their room. This was not the norm here, all other rooms were out ALL DAY from since before the crack of dawn.
So if that guest should review us, which I would be grateful of course, and mention this, then what? Will other guests expect this? This has happened before. "Where is the homemade cherry dessert?" one asked, well I only made that ONCE!! The guest from the UK commented as he absolutely loved it, and I actually never made it again. So every guest who reads out TA reviews reads about it. What do I do? Make it for every check in?
This makes it very difficult, and I especially don't like reviews that DO mention the innkeepers MOSTLY and don't describe the place, setting, environment, things to see and do. It is just too weighty.
.
OK, I have had guests complain that they were not served the breakfast they 'wanted' as in the one they read other guests had been served. Usually, if the guy books the stay, he specifically asks if we can serve a particular brekkie if he wants to have that. We try to accommodate a specific request. But we don't know you want something if you don't say so BEFORE you arrive. Telling me in the morning is just no good. The other guests may have already had that breakfast and (say it with me, folks) 'we're not a diner!'
 

jkarennj

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My gut tells me that if the complaint has only to do with food - and complaints about your food are rare or if this is the only one - then readers of the review might easily chalk it up to this guy being a fluke...or that he just has different tastes than most. I think consistent bad reviews or comments about food is one thing ... the one-in-a-hundred that comes through the doors and doesn't care for the food is easily forgivable. One person having one meal on one morning doesn't cause for review readers to paint your inn with a broad brush. I would not be so worried about it, even though I know it can be emotional.
If the complaint was about the house not being clean overall, peeling paint, clutter everywhere, etc, then I think reviewers might not see the comment as anomalous.
I agree with the comment about writing a management response saying something like, "Most guests love our (enter guests' favoriate breakfasts here)..." Show appreciation for what they liked, and even show appreciation for their criticism.
Or consider using a touch of humor. Read this blog entry for one of my favorite management responses to a fairly innocuous review about a B&B's food:
http://www.innkeepingblog.com/2010/01/two-great-examples-of-humor-for-innkeepers-to-use/
 

Morticia

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My gut tells me that if the complaint has only to do with food - and complaints about your food are rare or if this is the only one - then readers of the review might easily chalk it up to this guy being a fluke...or that he just has different tastes than most. I think consistent bad reviews or comments about food is one thing ... the one-in-a-hundred that comes through the doors and doesn't care for the food is easily forgivable. One person having one meal on one morning doesn't cause for review readers to paint your inn with a broad brush. I would not be so worried about it, even though I know it can be emotional.
If the complaint was about the house not being clean overall, peeling paint, clutter everywhere, etc, then I think reviewers might not see the comment as anomalous.
I agree with the comment about writing a management response saying something like, "Most guests love our (enter guests' favoriate breakfasts here)..." Show appreciation for what they liked, and even show appreciation for their criticism.
Or consider using a touch of humor. Read this blog entry for one of my favorite management responses to a fairly innocuous review about a B&B's food:
http://www.innkeepingblog.com/2010/01/two-great-examples-of-humor-for-innkeepers-to-use/.
I'll take exception...I still think that mgmt response in your blog post is too much. Funny to the innkeepers and maybe a few guests, but for many it shows a dogged beating-over-the-head of the guest who dared complain. I also don't think it's a good idea to say 'most of our guests like...' in response to someone who didn't. You are again tarring the guest who didn't like whatever it was for whatever the reason, maybe no reason.
Both of those types of mgmt response show the innkeepers' feelings have been hurt and that the innkeeper has a thin skin. And potentially a too acerbic wit, but that might be something to know in advance.
If this innkeeper wants to post a reply, I would stick to the positives (like you say to do) and then maybe something along the likes of, 'We consistently work toward improving the experiences of our guests and hope we can really 'wow' you on your next visit.' (Or something a little less 'mgmt-y' sounding!)
Meanwhile throwing darts at the guest's reservation paperwork if not an actual photo!
 

jkarennj

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My gut tells me that if the complaint has only to do with food - and complaints about your food are rare or if this is the only one - then readers of the review might easily chalk it up to this guy being a fluke...or that he just has different tastes than most. I think consistent bad reviews or comments about food is one thing ... the one-in-a-hundred that comes through the doors and doesn't care for the food is easily forgivable. One person having one meal on one morning doesn't cause for review readers to paint your inn with a broad brush. I would not be so worried about it, even though I know it can be emotional.
If the complaint was about the house not being clean overall, peeling paint, clutter everywhere, etc, then I think reviewers might not see the comment as anomalous.
I agree with the comment about writing a management response saying something like, "Most guests love our (enter guests' favoriate breakfasts here)..." Show appreciation for what they liked, and even show appreciation for their criticism.
Or consider using a touch of humor. Read this blog entry for one of my favorite management responses to a fairly innocuous review about a B&B's food:
http://www.innkeepingblog.com/2010/01/two-great-examples-of-humor-for-innkeepers-to-use/.
I'll take exception...I still think that mgmt response in your blog post is too much. Funny to the innkeepers and maybe a few guests, but for many it shows a dogged beating-over-the-head of the guest who dared complain. I also don't think it's a good idea to say 'most of our guests like...' in response to someone who didn't. You are again tarring the guest who didn't like whatever it was for whatever the reason, maybe no reason.
Both of those types of mgmt response show the innkeepers' feelings have been hurt and that the innkeeper has a thin skin. And potentially a too acerbic wit, but that might be something to know in advance.
If this innkeeper wants to post a reply, I would stick to the positives (like you say to do) and then maybe something along the likes of, 'We consistently work toward improving the experiences of our guests and hope we can really 'wow' you on your next visit.' (Or something a little less 'mgmt-y' sounding!)
Meanwhile throwing darts at the guest's reservation paperwork if not an actual photo!
.
Morticia is right - you certainly don't want to appear as though you have a thin skin. If guests believe they are going to interact with the innkeeper during their stay, they don't want to encounter someone "in real life" who appears through the web as someone insecure and thin-skinned.
Since I don't actually see the entire review (did they rate it 1 out of 5? 2 out of 5?), it's hard to make full judgment. But I can tell you that an overwhelming majority of travelers (through research PAII conducted) want to see an innkeeper/hotelier's response to a negative review. If the rating was low, I would certainly pen a response. If the rating was 4 out of 5, despite the negative words about breakfast, I might leave it alone.
This sounds like one of those reviews that is authentic - it contains both praise and criticism. If the guest was being authentic, you don't want to attack. Even if the guest wasn't authentic, you stil don't want to attack. You want to defuse attacks...and you want to address authentic criticism.
I still 't think there's a way to do it without seeming thin skinned - and at the same time highlighting what wonderful food you serve. But again, only do it if the rating was low. Some people will just look for the low-rated reviews and read only those...you definitely want responses for anything that is 1 or 2 out of 5.
 

JBloggs

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If it were me I would not respond to a 4 out of 5 at all, if you don't respond to any others on a reg basis, as a 4 is a good rating.
Most likely people wouldn't even read those little disturbing words, and if they do, they do. For the idea that a response means the innkeeper is listening, I feel to comment on that one line would be a death wish. I would simply thank them for their time in reviewing and not bring up "well other people love our breakfast!" or anything to contradict the guest. That is where we read mgmt responses and cringe, as owners DO want to correct a fallacy but it really does them know good trying to be right all the time.
Still bugs me when a guest said they had breakfast sandwiches here in a review (they liked them too!) it was eggs benedict, not a mc muffin!
 

Morticia

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My gut tells me that if the complaint has only to do with food - and complaints about your food are rare or if this is the only one - then readers of the review might easily chalk it up to this guy being a fluke...or that he just has different tastes than most. I think consistent bad reviews or comments about food is one thing ... the one-in-a-hundred that comes through the doors and doesn't care for the food is easily forgivable. One person having one meal on one morning doesn't cause for review readers to paint your inn with a broad brush. I would not be so worried about it, even though I know it can be emotional.
If the complaint was about the house not being clean overall, peeling paint, clutter everywhere, etc, then I think reviewers might not see the comment as anomalous.
I agree with the comment about writing a management response saying something like, "Most guests love our (enter guests' favoriate breakfasts here)..." Show appreciation for what they liked, and even show appreciation for their criticism.
Or consider using a touch of humor. Read this blog entry for one of my favorite management responses to a fairly innocuous review about a B&B's food:
http://www.innkeepingblog.com/2010/01/two-great-examples-of-humor-for-innkeepers-to-use/.
I'll take exception...I still think that mgmt response in your blog post is too much. Funny to the innkeepers and maybe a few guests, but for many it shows a dogged beating-over-the-head of the guest who dared complain. I also don't think it's a good idea to say 'most of our guests like...' in response to someone who didn't. You are again tarring the guest who didn't like whatever it was for whatever the reason, maybe no reason.
Both of those types of mgmt response show the innkeepers' feelings have been hurt and that the innkeeper has a thin skin. And potentially a too acerbic wit, but that might be something to know in advance.
If this innkeeper wants to post a reply, I would stick to the positives (like you say to do) and then maybe something along the likes of, 'We consistently work toward improving the experiences of our guests and hope we can really 'wow' you on your next visit.' (Or something a little less 'mgmt-y' sounding!)
Meanwhile throwing darts at the guest's reservation paperwork if not an actual photo!
.
Morticia is right - you certainly don't want to appear as though you have a thin skin. If guests believe they are going to interact with the innkeeper during their stay, they don't want to encounter someone "in real life" who appears through the web as someone insecure and thin-skinned.
Since I don't actually see the entire review (did they rate it 1 out of 5? 2 out of 5?), it's hard to make full judgment. But I can tell you that an overwhelming majority of travelers (through research PAII conducted) want to see an innkeeper/hotelier's response to a negative review. If the rating was low, I would certainly pen a response. If the rating was 4 out of 5, despite the negative words about breakfast, I might leave it alone.
This sounds like one of those reviews that is authentic - it contains both praise and criticism. If the guest was being authentic, you don't want to attack. Even if the guest wasn't authentic, you stil don't want to attack. You want to defuse attacks...and you want to address authentic criticism.
I still 't think there's a way to do it without seeming thin skinned - and at the same time highlighting what wonderful food you serve. But again, only do it if the rating was low. Some people will just look for the low-rated reviews and read only those...you definitely want responses for anything that is 1 or 2 out of 5.
.
The rating was low, even tho the praise was there. It was a 3 and pretty much based on the food.
What was surprising was that they waited 6 months to write the review and couldn't be bothered to try to find out the innkeeper's name before posting how nice they were. The guests stated they couldn't remember the names of the people the interacted with. (Even tho a lot of other reviews on the same page name the innkeeper by complete name.)
It was a 'drive-by review.'
 
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