'Contain guest complaints before they go global'

Hotels must deal with guest grumbles onsite to limit bad press online

Ayman al Deik, Laurent Chaudet, Lothar Quarz and Jean Pierre Simon
Ayman al Deik, Laurent Chaudet, Lothar Quarz and Jean Pierre Simon

Hoteliers have expressed the need to take more precautions to stop bad reviews going online and affecting business negatively.

In a panel discussion at the Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate held yesterday (September 24) in Dubai, industry experts said that negative reviews can be dealt with by line staff before they are posted online.

“If there is a problem, you need to go about it the right way,” said Jean Pierre Simon, regional general manager – Northern UAE, Coral Beach Resort. However, he added that to do this effectively, hotels must know their guests better, and “the empowerment needs to be improved for line staff in the UAE” to deal with them.

Ritz-Carlton DIFC general manager Lother Quarz agreed, saying: “65% of guests who had a bad experience at your hotel would move to the competition, and 27% would not intend to come back.”

“It’s really important to ensure training for employees and make sure there is open communication there with guests,” Quarz added. “There’s no point sending a bottle of red wine up to their room if they don’t like red wine.”

“[You need to] act immediately when guests are in the hotel, as soon as possible to try to rectify,” Simon added. “They can give you a very bad reputation very fast.”

“Make sure the team is visible, especially in a resort, so that they can take that complaint, rather than them going straight to put it online. If it’s contained within the hotel, it’s alright, as soon as it gets onto booking.com or TripAdvisor, then it becomes a big problem,” Simon continued.

However, Pullman Mall of the Emirates general manager Laurent Chaudet said that sometimes a complaint can’t be contained, adding: “People in the hotel room are on the internet. You need to monitor the situation within the hotel. They can take a photo in their room and it can be online instantly and give you a bad reputation.”

 

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