Best Practices for Handling Online Reviews & Gifts for Your Guests




We are offering your guests prizes when they write reviews on the website!!

We worked with innkeepers including Yvonne Martin of the White Oak Inn to create this reward incentive.
Your guests get a complimentary Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate from us when they review inns on In fact, every 10th reviewer will receive a complimentary Buy-One-Night-Get-One-Night-Free Certificate. In addition to the free certificate, (retail value is $19.95)  one guest will receive a $200 gift certificate from  Guests must have been to the inn they are reviewing.
Simply share this opportunity with your guest list. Nine times out of 10 they will  create a review about your inn!! You will receive the Reviews you Deserve which will get you more guests!!
1. Every 10th reviewer gets a Free Night Certificate  provided by
2. One couple gets $200 in gift certificates - divided up anyway they want - ($10,  $100 certificates to give as gifts, etc.)
Prizes will help to motivate your guests to spend 3-5 minutes writing a great review about their stay. 
You can tell guests this weekend about their chance to win Free Nights and Gift Certificates by printing out the letter below and putting on your letterhead OR by emailing the letter to your guest list.
How Your Inn Will Benefit:
1. Your guests will be reminded of their wonderful stay and may book again.
2. Most of the reviews they post will be about you!
3. They also will be reminded to send their friends and relatives your way.
4. If it's your guest who wins the $500 gift certificate for their review about your inn, we will send YOU 10 B&B books to give away (or sell) to your future guests. 
Sample Letter
Dear Guest,
We received a note from that we thought you would be most interested in. That's because they are offering prizes to inn goers who send in comments about their B&B travels. All you have to do is go to their site, look up an inn you have stayed at and write a review.
Every 10th review they receive at will be a winner. They will send you (if you are one of the winners) a Free Night Certificate that you can use at any of 1400 inns. Every 50th Reviewer will receive a copy of Amazon's  best-selliing bed and breakfast book, Bed & Breakfast and Country Inns, the 22nd edition. This book retails for $24.95. In addition, one inn goer will receive a gift certificate for $500. We are hoping you will win! 
How to Make a Review on
2. Use the search box on the left to find your inns
3. When you find the inn click on "write a review" or "read reviews" and begin writing!
Thanks so much for being a fan of bed and breakfasts and small inns of America!!
Only those who have received the joy from an inn can explain it. That's why is asking for your review. 



September 13, 2010

Deborah Sakach

Dear Deborah,

The ________  staff would like to thank you for choosing us for your stay in San Clemente.  
We hope your time was pleasant and that you remember us when booking your next visit.  
You may print out this email and use it as a $25.00 coupon for use on a future stay or give it as a gift to your friends or family.  
We appreciate your patronage and hope to see you again!  

Casa Tropicana Boutique Beachfront Inn  
Write a review! Let your fingers do the talking and tell us what you think. Please click here and express your expert opinion.  



Best Practices for Handlilng Online Reviews

Reviews have rapidly changed how people make reservations. We can learn from marketing companies that service hotels with sizeable resources and how they are dealing with reviews. This article is inpired by Market Metrix, one such service. "The pace of this change has certainly caught many hotels off guard. A recent survey conducted by Market Metrix and TripAdvisor found that 85% of hotels have no guidelines for monitoring, responding to or acting on guest reviews. Perhaps this lack of direction explains why, according to TripAdvisor, only 4% of negative reviews are responded to!"

We think that innkeepers of bed and breakfast inns surely do a much better job. "Consumers say when a company responds to a review, it puts the company in a favorable light (Compete Inc., 2007). If properties don’t respond, the dynamic of negative feedback can build into a huge wave of consumer defection."

To assist individual inns in developing their own approach to handling online reviews, here are some ideas inspired by Market Metrix to create  guidelines based on industry “best practices”:



Hotels need to establish a process for tracking new reviews. This begins with assigning one person at your property to monitor online review sites and have accountability to follow up on all reviews. This person should: 

1.Sign up for emails, alerts and RSS feeds to know when new reviews and scores have changed.

2. Monitor the review sites frequently, depending on how often your hotel receives reviews.

3. Make sure your hotel is listed on these sites and that your photos, videos and descriptions are up-to-date, accurate and complementary.


Management must clearly establish the hotel’s response policy. Ideally, hotels should respond to all reviews within 24 hours in a personal and professional manner. This demonstrates a hotel’s commitment to listening and acting on guest feedback. If a response is not possible within 24 hours, respond to all negative reviews first.

  • If needed, forward negative comments to the appropriate person for assistance in responding and to let them know there is an issue in their department. Determine if and when the GM should be alerted.
  • If a review is suspected to be fraudulent, immediately contact the review site to dispute it. If justified, the review will be removed.
  • Respond to a negative review by thanking the guest then apologizing and offering a solution or by stating how you took care of addressing the guests concerns
  • Use every response whether to a good or negative review to reinforce your property's intention to meet and exceed guest expectations

Use Review Widgets

Display positive reviews on your site to show off positive experiences of other guests. When you use review widgets this keeps comments dynamic and fresh and it also encourage guests to write reviews - fewer reviews imply a less popular hotel. Encourage guests verbally at check out, on receipts and in communications or emails sent to guests. Satified and pleased guests enjoy taking a few moments to share their experience.

More people than ever before are reading lodging reviews prior to booking. Inns that embrace online reviews and take actions can increase their business. Online reviews can help you connect with your customers, find out what they really want and promote your hotel. This will lead to higher levels of service and confidence in your brand.

Analyze, Maximize and Improve

User reviews expose the truth and B&Bs are now challenged with maintaining high standards and meeting the expectations of customers who have done a significant amount of research before they travel. Guest reviews also can uncover opportunities for improvement, driving satisfaction and loyalty, and even reduce operating costs. Each review should be thoroughly evaluated. Analyze them to understand trends versus prior periods, identify performance gaps versus relevant competitors, uncover scoring differences among key customer groups. Review feedback should be combined with your regular guest feedback program to get a full 360.

Based on this analysis, action plans should be created to take advantage of knowing what means the most to your guests and to address issues, gaps and unfavorable trends.