The Positive Sandwich Method For Responding to Online Reviews And How to Move Beyond That!

November 26, 2019
Sandwich Review Response

There is no denying the fact that reviews play an important role in determining a hotel’s reputation across OTA websites. But how a hotelier responds to these reviews is even more important in estimating the quality of the business that a hotel is doing.

“85% of users feel that a thoughtful and appropriate response to a bad review will improve their impression of the hotel, and 65% of respondents agree that they are more likely to book a hotel that responds to online reviews, compared with one that doesn’t."

While it is pretty easy to respond to positive reviews, negative reviews can be a bit challenging to tackle. How you respond to the negative reviews is a bold act in itself as it demonstrates to the customers that you do not shun criticism and accept it constructively. How to respond to the negative reviews is a question in itself. So the answer to this may vary as it is multi-faceted in nature.

Again, there is a scenario where we often get Online Reviews expressing mixed sentiments and emotions. In fact, even a five-star or full-star rating review will have mixed sentiments hidden within it.

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Laura

“Loved the stay! The property was immaculate and the room had a fridge and microwave. However, the staff at the front desk was rude and cared less about our existence. Nonetheless, I will visit again!”

 

 

Mixed reviews should not be underestimated as they contain within themselves the power to convey certain unflattering things about your property to the guests looking to book with you which, in turn, might affect a customer’s booking decision. Hence replying to the mixed reviews is extremely important as it allows the customers to clarify your side of the story and flash the positive things about your property.

Mixed reviews are often complimentary. In fact, it is your chance to depict your property as positively as possible through your response. But how to deal with the negative part in it?

We will take the above instance again to illustrate how you should respond to a mixed review:

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Laura


“Loved the stay! The property was immaculate and the room had a fridge and microwave. However, the staff at the front desk was rude and cared less about our existence. Nonetheless, I will visit again!”

 

Your response,

Dear Laura,

Thank you for posting a review of your recent stay. We are glad to learn that you had a wonderful time and found the room immaculate. However, we apologize if our personnel failed to leave a positive impression on you. This is very unlike us, and we will definitely discuss this matter with our team We ensure you that this will not be repeated. Again, we are excited to hear that you also liked our room amenities. We look forward to the pleasure of hosting you once more!

Best wishes,                                                                                            Arnold World Hotel,                                                                         Customer Care Executive

So basically this was just a simple example, to begin with, and of course, there are many more to come if you just scroll down. But what is this technique of responding to the mixed reviews called? Does it even have a name?

The answer is YES. In hotel industry, especially in the field of review management, this technique of putting the negative comment between the positive ones is termed as the “Positive Sandwich Response Formula or Method” whereby the positive remarks act as the two units or loaves of bread to contain within it the stuffing of a potentially negative aspect of the review.

Sandwich Method

What are the Tips and Tricks For Drafting a Response to the Mixed Reviews?

In order to acquaint you better with the mixed reviews and responses on the same, we have picked an example here:

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Verified traveler

“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.

 

In this review, three aspects have been highlighted:

Location (positive), Noise (negative) and Value (positive)

That being said, it is now time to plunge headlong into the process:

1) Address the Guest with a ‘Thank You’ 

Opening with a thank you even for the negative response is quite winsome. It can readily pacify (at least to some extent) a disgruntled customer for even the blatantly negative and thumbs-down reviews. So thank the guest for writing to you.

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Jennifer Smith


“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.”

Your response,

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for posting a review of your latest stay. We are glad that you found the location convenient and enjoyed the parking facility. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you faced as a result of the noise. We wish you had brought this to our notice earlier as this would have helped us in finding a better alternative, perhaps a more peaceful room for you. But please note that we are always here to help, if there is ever any issue with the room or any other aspect of the service. Again, we thank you for appreciating the overall location and value. Please do not hesitate to call us if you ever happen to be in the area again.We look forward to hosting you again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

Other Ways of Thanking the Guest Could Be:

• We appreciate your taking the time to write to us about your recent stay.
• Thanking you for sparing a moment to write to us.
• Thank you for your spectacular/stellar/supreme/outstanding (adj.) response.
• Thank you so much for your valuable feedback.
• Thank you for writing to us about your recent stay.
• Thank you for giving us the latest impressions of your stay with us.
• Many thanks for letting us know your thoughts about us.

2) Highlight the First Positive Aspect (s)
After thanking the guest, you can dive into tackling the positive part as this will help personalize your response by making the guests feel that you care about their overall feedback and do not overlook it just because you are too focused on solving the negative.

Confused? We will take the example in point 1 again to show you what we mean:

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Jennifer Smith


“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.”

Your response,

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for posting a review of your latest stay. We are glad that you found the location convenient and enjoyed the parking facility. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you faced as a result of the noise. We wish you had brought this to our notice earlier as this would have helped us in finding a better alternative, perhaps a more peaceful room for you. But please note that we are always here to help, if there is ever any issue with the room or any other aspect of the service. Again, we thank you for appreciating the overall location and value. Please do not hesitate to call us if you ever happen to be in the area again.We look forward to hosting you again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

3) Address the Negative

After you are done with the first positive statement, now is the time to tackle the negative. In case of two positive statements/sentiments and one negative, the negative will be followed by one positive. In the case of three positive statements and one negative, the negative will be followed by two positives. But in any case, the negative statements, no matter how many in number, will always be in between. In fact, you can balance it on your own by keeping in mind that it is negative which will be stuffed by keeping the positives at the extreme.

Using the same example:

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Jennifer Smith


“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.”

Your response,

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for posting a review of your latest stay. We are glad that you found the location convenient and enjoyed the parking facility. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you faced as a result of the noise. We wish you had brought this to our notice earlier as this would have helped us in finding a better alternative, perhaps a more peaceful room for you. But please note that we are always here to help, if there is ever any issue with the room or any other aspect of the service. Again, we thank you for appreciating the overall location and value. Please do not hesitate to call us if you ever happen to be in the area again.We look forward to hosting you again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

[Note: If the negative has a solution that could be possibly implemented in the future, it is advisable to mention it as well in the review response right after addressing the negative statement. This will help strengthen customer trust! But once again, be careful not to overdo it by making false promises.]

4) Show a Resolution to Take the Necessary & Possible Action While Addressing the Negative

Responding to the negative reviews alone isn’t enough. One has to show a resolution to do something about the negative. So take the negative aspect seriously such that it does not appear merely as a passing-mention. Brood over it and think of how could a particular problem that the guest is facing be solved. In short, your resolution should carry some sincerity or promise for the focus on future action.

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Jennifer Smith


“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.”

Your response,

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for posting a review of your latest stay. We are glad that you found the location convenient and enjoyed the parking facility. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you faced as a result of the noise. We wish you had brought this to our notice earlier as this would have helped us in finding a better alternative, perhaps a more peaceful room for you. But please note that we are always here to help, if there is ever any issue with the room or any other aspect of the service. Again, we thank you for appreciating the overall location and value. Please do not hesitate to call us if you ever happen to be in the area again.We look forward to hosting you again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

5) Come Back to the Positive (s)
After you have finished handling the negative remark, it is time to revert to the next positive (s). This will help finish the sandwich method as your last positive statement would once again reflect the bright and promising aspects of your property and overall service.

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Jennifer Smith


“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.”

Your response,

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for posting a review of your latest stay. We are glad that you found the location convenient and enjoyed the parking facility. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you faced as a result of the noise.We wish you had brought this to our notice earlier as this would have helped us in finding a better alternative, perhaps a more peaceful room for you. But please note that we are always here to help, if there is ever any issue with the room or any other aspect of the service. Again, we thank you for appreciating the overall location and value. Please do not hesitate to call us if you ever happen to be in the area again.We look forward to hosting you again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

6) A Welcoming Closing Statement

This is the part where you are showing the guests that you really look forward to their next visit by hoping to enlarge and enhance their experience. In other words, wonderful closing statements make the guests feel special about the fact that you are excited to welcome them again.

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Jennifer Smith


“Conveniently located and walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Availability of parking in the lot and street parking. Walls are a bit thin so it’s possible to hear guests in the adjacent rooms. Overall, decent and reasonable place to stay for the price.”

Your response,

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you so much for posting a review of your latest stay. We are glad that you found the location convenient and enjoyed the parking facility. However, we apologize for the inconvenience you faced as a result of the noise. We wish you had brought this to our notice earlier as this would have helped us in finding a better alternative, perhaps a more peaceful room for you. But please note that we are always here to help, if there is ever any issue with the room or any other aspect of the service. Again, we thank you for appreciating the overall location and value. Please do not hesitate to call us if you ever happen to be in the area again.We look forward to hosting you again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

Ingredients for Positive Sandwich Method

Ingredients for Sandwich Review Response

We have compiled a few more examples of mixed reviews with their responses by using the Positive Sandwich Formula:

For instance,

Rating: 3 out of 5
By: Alida Fernandes


“The room looked very nice and was a good size. The floor, bathroom and sheets all looked clear. The bathroom had a very odd smell to it so we had to keep the fan on the whole time but that is the only complaint about the room. The breakfast offerings were fairly poor so we never ate at the hotel.”

Your response,

Dear Ms. Fernandes,

Thank you so much for writing to us about your recent stay. We are glad that you liked the room and found it nice and spacious. Also, we are sorry for the unpleasant odor in the bathroom and poor breakfast offerings. We will definitely try to improve in both the cases so as to provide you with an enhanced experience in the future. Again, we are extremely excited to hear that you found the property and room immaculate. We look forward to the pleasure of hosting you once more!

 

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

For instance,

Rough Outside, Pleasant Inside

Rating: 7.1 out of 10
By: Rian Jacobs


“The room was equipped with a very comfortable oversized king, matched a big flat screen at the foot of the bed. Overall the room was VERY clean, quite neat, and the updated fittings and fixtures throughout were all noticed and made a big difference.
The parking area, lift lobby and room access halls was in disrepair and not clean or well maintained. The shower didn’t get hot, no matter how long you ran it – just got warm. The check-in process was a bit interrupted – understandable as the manager was dealing with priority repairs to the lift, but a little frustrating to get no guidance on where to go, how long to wait, etc.”

Your response,

Dear Mr. Jacobs,

Thank you for your balanced response. We are glad that you found the room well-equipped with comfortable beds and updated amenities. However, we are sorry for the issue with cleanliness. We emphasize a lot on it and we will definitely ask our housekeeping to be more particular about this in the future. Again, we are sorry if the shower was not hot enough. We believe it might have been some problem and we will ask our team to look into it. We are also sorry for the disruption in the check-in process. But we thank you for your cooperation! Surely, we seek solace in the fact that you found the room well-kept and immaculate. We look forward to having us here with us again!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

For instance,

Fabulous

Rating: 8.8 out of 10
By: Kalissa


“From other reviews it seems that they’ve done some major renovations. The room and bathrooms were modern with ample space to include a lounge chair. Reception were very friendly, who enabled us to check in early and also accommodating when we wanted to add on another night! Location is close to restaurants and not too far in an Uber for tourist locations!
The location has lots of people on the streets, homeless and on drugs, so for two young girls we did not feel very safe to walk, so Uber’s are a must!! The pillows are also quite flat and not super comfortable.”

Your response,

Dear Kalissa,

We thank you for letting us know your thoughts about us! We are glad that you found everything in order and liked the staff service. Again, we are happy to learn that the location worked well for you. However, we are sorry about the pillows and the homeless on the streets. We apologize that you felt a little insecure as a result of this. But let us assure you that the homeless here are generally harmless. Yet, we do not believe in comprising on security. We will discuss your review with the management and take the necessary steps to doubly ensure the safety and well-being of our customers. Many thanks for appreciating our modern rooms and bathrooms. We hope that you will continue to visit us!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

For instance,

Peaceful   

Rating: 5 out of 5
By: Susanna


“It was a great stay, but the bathroom floor had some kind of dirt that felt like tiny rocks. Everything was good.”

Your response,

Hi Susanna,

We always strive to give our valued guests a wonderful experience, so thank you so much for your comments. We are glad that you had a wonderful stay. However, we are sorry for the dirt in the bathroom. We will definitely ask our housekeeping crew to be more particular about cleanliness the next time. Again, we are extremely delighted to learn that you liked possibly everything about us. On behalf of our entire staff, we thank you for choosing to stay with us. We look forward to your next visit!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

For instance,

Rating: 5.0
By: A. Olson


“I had to make a last minute reservation for 2 nights due to an issue with another hotel. They were super helpful and friendly, and remembered me when I came in later that evening. My room had a microwave and fridge that had plenty of room for a couple of days’ worth of food. Really the only thing that I feel could be improved is that the shower took quite a while to heat up. All in all, great location, super friendly staff, very comfortable room!”

Your response,

Dear Mr. Olson,

Thank you for writing to us! We are glad that you booked with us and found our staff extremely helpful and responsive. Again, we are pleased to hear that you liked the room amenities and food. Also, we have noted your suggestion regarding the shower and will see what can be done about that!. Thank you for appreciating our location, rooms, and value offered. We are looking forward to welcoming you again!

 

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Customer Care Executive 

Benefits of Using the Positive Sandwich Formula for Review Responses

• It helps to highlight the positives.

• This technique is a tactful one and helps to respond to negative reviews without really emphasizing them. Somewhat like killing two birds with one stone!

• It helps prevent the customer’s decision from swaying in the negative direction.

• It aids in seeking and identifying brand enthusiasts who later can be turned into promoters for your business.

• It speaks volumes about the quality of your business by showing that you do not shirk from responding to even the negative reviews or negative sections in the review.

• It helps to adopt a somewhat balanced approach when it comes to responding to online reviews.

• It also gives you an honest and balanced opinion of the customer on what improvements could be made.

Sentiments for Positive Sandwich Method for Reviews

• • •

Although the traditional positive sandwich formula comes with a lot of benefits, it surely should not be used in excess.By no means are we suggesting that PSF is an all-time approach which can be used freely for responding to all the online reviews. All we are saying is that it is one of the strategies which can be implemented for responding to some reviews. However, a proper control has to be exercised while using this formula to avoid the responses from coming across as canned and robotic.

Still sweating over drafting accurate responses to your reviews?

With GuestTouch, you can have a team of expert writers curating a perfect response to all your reviews. And guess what? We believe in adding a personal touch to all the responses for an enhanced guest experience

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