By James Kennedy, Assurance & Marketing Program Director

Now, more than ever before due to the pandemic, travelers are ultra-discriminating with cleanliness, especially at hotels. Often, if a guest is unsatisfied with a stay, he or she will voice frustrations in an online review, whether you’re informed about the issue or not. Here are some strategies for responding to negative reviews about cleanliness:

  1. Start with a positive opening response. Always be polite and professional, just as you would be face-to-face.
  2. Immediately address the guest’s concerns, personalize what he or she was dissatisfied with, and offer a sincere apology.
  3. Be honest about mistakes that were made, but do not take responsibility for things that were not your fault.
  4. Promise future action steps for a quick resolution.
  5. Always end on a positive note.
  6. Show that you’re a real person by signing off with your name or initials. This helps you come across as more authentic.

Another key factor is to re-emphasize your daily cleaning policies. Sharing a few simple practices can reassure your guests that you’re committed to cleanliness and maintaining a quality hotel:

  1. Publish cleaning logs for public areas, such as the front desk, lobby, breakfast area and public restrooms.
  2. Post an in-room checklist and tent cards that emphasize your enhanced cleaning guidelines to ensure guest safety.
  3. Consider certifying your entire staff in sanitation. You can check with your state’s department of health for training resources or look into an industry-specific training program, such as the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).
  4. Use EPA-approved products. This assures guests the products you are using will keep them safe and healthy.
  5. Share photos on social media. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are ideal channels to keep your guests informed about your cleaning practices. Take photos of disinfectants you are currently using and post on these social media channels. This shows transparency about your updated cleaning policies.

All these items, when implemented, show that you provide great customer service during challenging times with an ongoing emphasis on the safety of each of your hotel guests.