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With 44% of millennials preferring to book lodging reservations online (compared to just 26% of Baby Boomers)1, it’s easier than ever before for negative experiences with hygiene to factor into lodging reviews and decisions. That can lead to reservations about, well, reservations. A single negative review can have consequences as far as reservations, especially when it’s just pixels away from the “Reserve Now” button.

Traveling millennials seek customized experiences, digital convenience and relevant information on social media. But, like most other travelers, they also seek cleanliness. Take a look at the infographic to see some strong numbers that reinforce how crucial cleanliness is to all guests.

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The online browsing experience makes the point even clearer. If a customer finds the “Reserve Now” button, chances are they’ve also seen the customer reviews “carousel” or window. They’re usually right next to each other. Or even below the ratings, making any negative reviews unavoidable. While the odd negative review is unavoidable, they can have a big impact. In particular, reviews of 0-1 stars are usually accompanied by scathing commentary.

Simply avoiding negative reviews is a bit unhelpful as far as advice goes. It bears repeating, negative reviews are unavoidable. More important than the transgression itself, is the response to it. By responding publicly to a negative review promptly, chances are the impact of a negative review will be blunted. And over time, positive reviews can send the odd negative review to the bottom of the feed. Again, it’s hard to overstate the importance of hygiene and cleanliness in the lodging category. Here’s a few tips for responding to negative online reviews, be they about hygiene or otherwise:

1. Respond to ANY and ALL negative reviews within 24 hours.
2. Thank the guest for bringing the problem to your attention.
3. Apologize without qualifications.
4. Propose changes to remedy problem.
5. Provide direct contact to direct further communication offline.

Download the infographic here (PDF).


Sources:
NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/travel/millennials-hotels.html?_r=0
PR Newswire: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cleanliness-is-paramount-when-booking-hotels-study-shows-300146633.html
Moz.com https://moz.com/blog/new-data-reveals-67-of-consumers-are-influenced-by-online-reviews