TripAdvisor Tips: Take the Good with the Bad

TripAdvisor Tips: Take the Good with the Bad

Receiving a negative review on TripAdvisor isn’t normally the highlight of a hotel owner’s day. But if you’re a great hotel, you won’t get them very often, although you can turn them into a positive experience with the right mindset.

Negative feedback isn’t the end of the world, and remember that no one else is going to take it as hard as you as the hotel owner or manager. Consider negative feedback as two things: a great way to improve your hotel and a important reputation-builder.

An opportunity to improve

After you’ve calmed down, take a look at the feedback. Is it actually reasonable? Does the reviewer have a point? If they’ve left a decent review, it’ll include exactly what they were unhappy about and this is where you can garner some important feedback.

Remember, most people who are frustrated or unhappy tend not to bother leaving bad reviews; they simply don’t come back.

So treat a bad review as that once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to respond to what people *really* think of you. First of all, establish if the feedback describes a one-off situation, or an ongoing problem. A one-off problem can simply be apologised for, but an ongoing problem may need to be investigated on your end.


When looking at the actual cause of the situation that led to the negative review, a helpful trick is to continuously ask "Why" until you get to the root of the problem.

However, often you will find the actual root cause of the problem is not obvious. Take a review about cold soup being served during an a la carte service. Here are just some of the potential causes and their solutions:

  • One of the line chefs did not microwave or boil the soup for long enough.
  • The soup bowl was not pre-heated.
  • The line chef was slow in taking the dish to the pass.
  • The chef was slow to call for service to take the plate to the table.
  • The service staff were slow to serve the food from the pass.
  • The heat lamps at the pass were not switched on. 
  • The microwave is faulty.... and so on.

Determining the root cause of the bad review, and the real reason for it is essential.

Actually following that up and organising a new procedure, policy, method, new equipment to prevent that negative review in the future is the positive outcome of that bad review. It also the hardest part, and requires patience and absolute commitment to improving the guest experience.


Do not overlook what you might personally consider petty or small complaints.

Most guests will not leave a bad review for one isolated or minor bad point. The long, ranting 1 star reviews that have the most potential for reputation damage usually consist of multiple small problems, that in the eye of the customer just prove their point that you deserver one star!

So always treat every negative comment as being important, even if you personally think its overblown.

An opportunity to build your reputation

Because potential guests at your hotel will often check out your TripAdvisor rating and see negative feedback, it’s important to respond to this feedback.

By responding in a professional and courteous way to negative feedback, you are showing yet-to-be-guests that you care about resolving issues, that you are completely professional and want your guests to have a great experience at your hotel.

In this way, responding to negative feedback should be considered a response as much for the original reviewer as for everyone else who visits the page.

When you respond, always consider that you want to appease the original responder but you also want to prove to your new guests that you are engaged with social platforms, and will do as much as you can to make guests happy.