Hi, it's Karen here. I'm founder and owner of bed and breakfast academy training to anyone who looks at to set up and run that open breakfast, as well as providing marketing training to be in the owners or to market their B&B organically without relying on paid advertising all the online travel agencies.
I also manage a wonderful community on Facebook. Post calls, attendees will help support each other through the day-to-day life covering today.
I'm going to talk to you about how to respond to negative reviews about your BNB and how not to take them.
Personally. I always used to feel very slightly nauseous. Whenever you have a new review, email arrived in my inbox like imposter syndrome chip one, that's been saying right now, they're going to find you out for many years, starts getting all excited.
Luckily, most of the reviews I had were positive. Actually it wasn't just like a whole lot of work Quintin to that, but I can volt and the chip could go back to chilling after I'd had a positivity, but very occasionally natural view pinged into email.
I remember my first negative review. Very clearly. I actually remember where I was sitting, what I was wearing and what the weather was like.
And that was 10 years ago. This was the very demoting guest who I went above and beyond with all weekend had to leave without a half post checking time because I needed to go out and gosh, she wasn't happy.
I did an awful lot to avoid poor reviews when I was, when it might be envy, I worked hard to achieve my ideal BB guest.
I got to understand what my guests wanted from a bed and breakfast. I did my best to exceed their expectations.
Recognize when things went wrong before they had a chance to complain and did my best to make it better. But luck does come into it too.
No matter how hard you work, there will always be that one guest, the one who gives you two out of five for location, because he actually needed to be at a town 40 miles away, or the ones that give you three out of five because the rubber duck was to our taste.
I'm sure you've had people say to you that you shouldn't take things personally, especially when you receive a less than glowing, if you for your business, but as a bed and breakfast, Cerner, you've probably poured your heart and soul into your business and you work very hard to maintain your standards.
So when you do get a bad review, it's going to hurt. It's also unique as a business because it's very difficult to get away from unless you physically remove yourself and go on holiday.
When you working away from home in an office or wherever your workplaces, and you've had a bad day, you can at least leave the workplace at the end of the day, go home, pull yourself a GNT or come a melty and create some degree of separation from everything that's going on back at your workplace.
But it's much more difficult to do that when your business is also your home. And of course home-based business can be stressful, but the fact that you've actually got your customers living with you as an added degree of potential stress, I really wish I had the magic wand to help you be.
And there's no take things so personally, but there isn't one I've been working hard on this over the years. And I have got to a point where the ongoing conversation, the imaginary conversation with the guest doesn't go on all night.
I think it helps when you do have that negative voice in your head, that just won't shut up to take a deep breath and just be aware of it before you end up in a three hour conversation with your Chimp at three o'clock in the morning.
And just try not to engage in the conversation, either just being aware of the route that your Chimp is, is about to take you down is a first and a great starting point.
You may have heard of the five by five rule. It's another trick that might help when you are stressed or worried about a situation, bad review, pause and ask yourself if what you're worried or cross about, you know, that that negative review will matter to you in five years time or even five hours, five days, five weeks, five months.
And if the answer is no, then give yourself five minutes to worry about it. That that Chimp went around and get quite excited and worry, and whatever's going on in your head, but then move on.
In my experience, there are three main types of bigger beauties are probably many more, but these, these are the three main types of abuse that I've seen.
The first is that wonderful review that we get into that positive, glowing. This is the best thing I've ever stayed at review.
And these are the reviews we all want. And 95% of the time, if you're meeting and or even exceeding guest expectations, these are the ones you're going to get.
I commend members of my bed and breakfast marketing community create a smile file. And this is where you put all of the positive reviews you get.
I use a Google doc, you could use a word doc or any sort of online note taking tool. So you record your online reviews.
So that might be through in booking engine, such as free to book or TripAdvisor or booking.com. So all of those fantastic online reviews stick them in that file.
And then you can also look at the ones been written in your guest book. If you've got one in your, you know, put those in the file as well, there might be ones that are given to you in person.
So if a guest gives you great feedback as a leaving over breakfast, write down as much as he can remember to write those down as well.
And the small filler all has a two fold purpose. You can refer back to it whenever you're feeling a bit fed up after receiving a negative review or a complaint from a guest, remind yourself how lovely 95% of your guests.
So remind yourself of the guests really enjoy staying with you. Those, the guests that you're serving and you want to focus on.
It's also a great source of information. When you're looking for inspiration for blog posts or social media content ideas that you can look at the sort of language you guess, using the words you're using, what they enjoyed about their stay specifically.
And this is particularly useful. If you're one of those people, who's a bit reticent about blowing your own trumpet. You're a bit modest and find it difficult to describe.
What's good about your PMB. Actually just go back and use the words that the guests have used. The next type of review is that sort of the constructive feedback with, and these are reviews that guests live that contained feedback about how their stay could have been a bit better because something really wasn't up to scratch or something went wrong.
For example, when there's will always go wrong here, no matter how much maintenance we did was something to do with the hot water.
We had a lightning strike, one such use the thermostat, which meant there was, there was no hot water. My husband was very good at turning off the hot water when we didn't have guests in.
And I was particularly good at forgetting to turn the hot water back home, whether we did have guests in, or it could just be that the guests stages didn't meet their expectations.
And even with that sort of, I guess, a constructive, if you, it's still quite natural for us to get defensive, when we get some sort of a view of feedback, we get a complaint, then the guest comments, he wants that the words are the pigs in the room.
And I liked, I didn't actually say anything to her, but I was quite grumpy afterwards. Well, you know, there's two on the back of the, on the boom door.
There's, there's two on the back of this door. And I thought, you know, you're looking at it when I stood back and thought, well, yeah, okay.
I can see that there aren't enough pecs, if you will, if you come with a whole load of coats, because you don't know the British weather was good to do.
So, you know, take that deep breath and take that step back and see what, if there is any value in their feedback.
So, you know, did something actually go wrong? Is it something that needs improving in your business? Now it's not always the case that you do have to take action on a review.
It might just be that you'll be a B isn't that specific is. So let's go back to the yellow duck, the guests who didn't like the verb duck in the bathroom.
And they very expensive Teddy bear on the bed. I had a whole loads of guests who quite happily came back again and again, and loved the Teddy bear on the bed and loved the rubber duck.
So it wasn't about to change it just because it wasn't negative comment. No, it was just, I was at the right place for those guests.
And you just have to accept that. You're just not going to appeal to everybody and not everybody is going to like you.
The next thing to look at is, you know, do your marketing messages. So those in your website, the email newsletters, you're sending out your blog, your social media, do they need reviewing to ensure your guest expectations are in line with what you're offering, or I guess assuming they're going to get one thing and they're getting something else when they actually arrive one of my favorite guests comments, the review said there were more flies in the room than we'd expect from a five star BNB.
I remember commenting to my husband quite grumpily if we'd been a four star BNB, do you think number flies would have been more acceptable whilst also sarcastically remarking that it was mid server.
They'd had the window wide open up the field and actually three feet below this window where a large, but, but, but chipper herd of cows with all the things that go with cows, including flies, as I said, it's impossible to be the perfect BNB and the perfect BMP owner for everybody.
The last type of review is, is that sort of rather nasty vindictive. What I sort of put punishment reviews and the, these are the sorts of reviews you can receive.
If a guest feels slighted by something that you've done, they've done a new responded to they're quite often inaccurate and can be played in upstate my example, right at the start of my first negative review was that I had to leave the guests leave.
They'd come for 10 or check out was 10 30. So they'd have breakfast gone back to their room and back quarter to 11 and then got back to bed.
And I actually had to go. So I'm very sorry, but I need to ask you to check out because I do have an appointment that I need to get to and up until then the feedback from them was glowing.
And funnily enough, as he walked out as this woman's partner walked out, so we've had a lovely time. It's be great.
Thank you. And then I got the review. I think she described the room as chintzy, as small, the views. Weren't up to the sorts of stuff that I put on social media.
Actually, she, she chosen the cheapest room and the other large room was available so that we don't see so much if I just ask it again.
Other people in that Facebook group have received similar that when they've had to ask guests to leave due to unreasonable behaviors, such as smoking in rooms, waking the other guests, that, and then the guests have left a review.
That's had nothing to do with this day, but more to zoom with the fact the owners had to speak to them about their behavior.
There's not much you can do with these reviews. You know, if there are inaccuracies in their review, then you can calmly correct them.
But I think it's really important not to get into an online argument with these people and stop going to a, he said, she said, and this is what actually happened.
Tight situation. These are not your ideal guest. They will be back, move on. Imagine what all the people who are reading your response to that with you again, to think, think of it as a marketing opportunity.
Should you ever go back and challenge the guests about your view? Now this is a question I see raised quite often.
So for example, the guests certainly gave me seven out of 10 for cleanliness. The room was immaculate. I'd spent two hours cleaning it prior to this day.
Should I contact them and ask what was wrong? And in this situation, I would always ask myself what I wanted to achieve by contacting the guests and asking them this sort of question, am I ask him?
Because I genuinely want to know where I could make improvements. How can we make this room cleaner? Or actually you're really feeling that the room was as clean as it possibly could be.
And you just want them to say they were wrong or changed their review, that that's unlikely to happen. And I think, again, in these cases, it's just a case of let it go.
Now TripAdvisor tells us that guests will be more likely to say, to be a beer with a battery view. When the owner responds constructively and positivity to that review.
And personally, I took the approach of responding to all of my TripAdvisor reviews. I felt that if people had taken the time to leave a positive review, there is a as much, if not more of my time than those who left a negative review, it can take quite a bit of mindset work, but after letting my chin pack to swear a bit, I always used to try and see a bad review as a marketing opportunity.
Can I put something in my response that shows the BNB in a good light? So these are my 10 steps to responding to a negative review the first.
So step number one is move away from the PC, the phone or the tablet. That's the crucial first step when responding to a negative review, but at your business is to disconnect yourself from the internet.
It's really important that you do not reply straight away and end up writing something in the heat of the moment that you are going to regret.
The next step is to acknowledge your feelings. If you don't have some sort of emotional reaction to receiving a negative review about your business, then you are probably Superman or superwoman.
And I take my hat off to you. It's very difficult not to take it personally. As a BNB owner, you are probably responsible for all aspects of the bed.
Reakfast you've designed the rooms. You've decided what goes in the rooms. You've cleaned them. You've created cooked the breakfast. You've served the breakfast.
You've chatted with guests. So it's going to hurt when someone criticizes some aspect of it. So do take time to acknowledge how you're feeling and give yourself a big hug.
Step three is write the response that you'd really like to write. So while the internet is still disconnected, get a piece of paper and a pen and write the response.
You'd really like to write to that person, to that reviewer. Really go out, go all out, enjoy it. Tell them how the review has made you feel.
Tell them how much hard work you've put into it. Tell them what you think of. 'em get all those thoughts and feelings out on a piece of paper, right?
Feel any better. Good. Now destroy that piece of paper, eat it, burn it, shred it, flush it though. Don't eat it or flush it.
That sort of good idea, but you know, destroy it. And then we're on to step four. So are you ready to write to response?
So rather than seeing the review as something negative, as I said, try and see it as a marketing opportunity way to show yourself and your being be in a good light.
I would always wait 24 hours before you actually sit down to write the response that you're going to make public.
And then I recommend you open a Google doc or a word file and write your first draft in there. Don't write it directly into trip advisor or wherever the review is.
There's always a risk. You might accidentally publish it before. You're completely happy with it. So you want to put it into an online document that you can do a copy and paste from, into wherever the review is.
And this is going to give you opportunity to write review, update, review, and update and review and update. Step five.
Remember who you're writing your review to. And the most important point here is you're not writing your response to the person who left the review.
They've gone and hopefully they will be back. You are writing your response to all the people who are going to go straight to the negative reviews to read.
What's been said, and they want to see how you as Nevin had responded to it this way, your response is part of your marketing.
Imagine your ideal BNB guest, maybe you've got a perfect BNB guest that you love coming back time and time again, and imagine the sort of reply that they want to see if they have a problem when they're staying with you, they want to see that you act swiftly and with grace.
So write the response as if you're talking to that person, try and get an image of them in your head.
If they've left a great review for you already go back and read their review. Look at the language that they're using in the review that they've written and imagine them when you're watching your spots, step six is to keep it short.
Over the years, I've helped many BNB owners edit their review response and have to say without exception. The first draft of their response that they send through to me is always too long.
It starts to look like you're making excuses. When you just see pages and pages of response, they try to address every single point in the review.
I suggest keeping it to half a page, a couple of paragraphs at most and look through and see which the vital points to address you don't need to address every single point.
A step seven is acknowledging that the guests expectations weren't met, even if you disagree completely with what the person has written, something has gone wrong somewhere for them to write a negative review.
It might be in your marketing. The guests has expected something that you don't offer. It might be your marketing is appealing to the wrong types of people.
It may have nothing to do with you at all. Something you have no control over. In which case you could use your response to emphasize your policies or a service you offer.
For example, if someone has complained that there were no puppets within walking distance, you could say something like there were no points within walking distance, but we do offer a choice of platters for guests to enjoy in their room, or it's possible to get the bus chain taxi, to avoid using the car.
We're always happy to help guests make arrangements. I would never mention any compensation or for dinner review. It may just open the flood gates people booking and complaining just to get a freebie.
Now, if it's one of those vindictive reviews, there's not reviews. As I mentioned at the start, don't get into a counter attack.
I would correct any major damaging in accuracies, but I wouldn't say something along the lines of, we had to throw you out the woman who overstayed her welcome when she was staying with us and had to ask to leave.
I didn't comment about that at all. And in my view response, I just didn't feel it was appropriate to talk about the situation.
Think step eight is to be honest with yourself. As I said, it's easy to get defensive when faced with negative feedback, but try and take a step back and look at it with neutralize.
Did something actually go wrong or do you need to be doing something differently? The way you run your business? For example, if you have no purpose within walking distance, is that absolutely clear on your website and other marketing?
A bit of honesty in the review will be looked on favorably by future guests. For example, we're very sorry. You didn't have enough hot water for shower.
We'd had a power cut that week and have forgotten to reset the timers. So now on we'll be checking the hot water time of before each new guest arrival step nine.
I think this is a really important step before you post your response, send it to someone who is in the BNB business, but not directly involved with your business.
And the reason I say this is quite often, you might have a couple of who's in the business. One writes the review response in the other reads that you're both emotionally involved in that business.
And it's really difficult to take that emotion out of your review. I know when I wrote a response review, I get someone else at my business review as well.
I know all the theory about writing a good response review, but I still get somebody else to look it over for me.
I think it's important to have someone who is in the BNB business or has been in the BNB business, but not in your business.
And that's where the BB community that I manage comes in really useful. But I think it's also important that you get someone who is going to be honest with you.
And it's not just going to look at your review and say, yeah, that's great when they're probably thinking, oh, wouldn't know, that's you need, someone need to ask someone to be absolutely honest and say what you're expecting from them in terms of them reviewing your response.
So step 10 is supposed to his books. We read your response for that final time check. Is it positive? Is it constructive?
Is it the sort of thing that your ideal guest is going to enjoy reading? And it's going to make them more likely to want to come and stay at your BNB.
So I hope you found that useful, mindful too, of how I respond to negative reviews and how I've helped. Lots of other bean burners respond to their negative reviews.
If you're interested in working with me for that, I have an online course how to set up a mock it, you Airbnb, if you already run a BNB and would like more support with your marketing and to join family supportive community, then I had the BB marketing membership go along to BNB academy.co.uk.
Thank you very much for listening. I look forward to seeing you next time.