How to Respond to Hotel Reviews Regarding Cleanliness During COVID-19 [Use Cases]

Imagine a dirty house where everything is cluttered; bed sheets are stained, bathroom ceiling has a fat mold, the walls literally reek, the floor is sticky, three-four hair strands are resting peacefully and having a picnic on the mushy surface of the cushions and pillows…

…..And oh, don’t forget a week’s left-over pizza in the microwave!

In the wake of COVID-19, guests have become all the more apprehensive and conscious regarding the overall cleanliness and hygiene, especially while planning a stay. Bad housekeeping service is sure to impact your overall reputation and is going to give rise to a lot of negative hotel reviews regarding cleanliness if you don’t address the issue at the earliest.
Not just this, but there is yet another issue that has emerged from the online reviews in addition to the overall cleanliness. It centers around the perception of how the property is cleaned, how it smells, whether or not there is enforcement in terms of mask and gloves wearing or using sanitizers, etc.

Guess what?

Some guests might not even feel like expressing their cleanliness concerns outright. Instead, they might take to online reviews to express their dissatisfaction. Hence, it is crucial to make sure that you do not miss the mark here!

And, what if the mark has been missed?

Despite being known for cleanliness, a property can still get negative hotel reviews regarding cleanliness from its guests. Writing a well-crafted response to cleanliness reviews might be a little challenging, but with specific strategies and etiquettes, you can handle this mammoth task with care:

“78% of hotel guests believe cleanliness is the most important factor affecting their choice of where to stay.”!”

So, in this article, we bring you a few ways in which you can respond to the cleanliness related hotel guest reviews during COVID-19 like a pro:

Responding to the Common Hotel Reviews Regarding Cleanliness

#1 Realize that Responding to a Negative Review is Important

Studies have shown that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Yet, another study has revealed that 79% of adults would avoid a hotel with a dirty restroom.

“71% of guests are more likely to walk out upon seeing a dirty bedsheet.”

In other words, a negative review related to cleanliness has the power to negatively influence even the prospective customers looking to book with you. But you can still save the game and swing the tide in your favor by responding politely to the review and helping the guests address their concerns to an authority who is willing to lend them a listening ear.
By responding to a cleanliness issue, you are taking charge of things that went wrong when it came to rendering a seamless service to your guests.

Even if the guests might exaggerate the situation a bit, it is still important to respond to that review. Take it as an opportunity to learn and educate them about how this doesn’t define your brand and is more of a rare or uncommon instance, along with the promise that their next stay would be better. It is essential for the hotels to keep learning and improving, especially if the comments received are authentic and in cases where the mishaps did happen!

Basic etiquette while responding to hotel reviews regarding cleanliness:

• Open with a thank you to the reviewer for taking the time to draft their review. In other words, show gratitude for the feedback.
• Apologize instantly for the dissatisfaction caused.
• Avoid using defensive language.
• Acknowledge their concerns.
• If any discrepancies, educate them in a manner that is polite and professional.
• Outline the measures taken to resolve this concern.
• If need be, invite for a discussion of the issue offline through private communication.
• End it on a positive note and apologetically with the assurance that their next stay would be better.

A basic example that incorporates all the above principles is as follows:

For instance,

Cleanliness was a joke!
Rating: 2/10
By: Ronald

“Not the usual stay, Our room wasn’t that clean.”

Your response,

Dear Ronald,

We are very sorry to hear that you were so disappointed with your stay at our hotel. Our aim is to provide a clean, comfortable and pleasant place to stay, and we sincerely apologize that our hospitality and attention to details left something to be desired on this occasion – this is very unlike us. At our hotel, we take upkeep and cleanliness very seriously, and your room should always feel fresh and clean. Our staff generally does a great job when it comes to maintaining our facility and preparing the rooms for upcoming guests, so it is strange that this happened. We extend our heartfelt apologies for not achieving our goal of providing you with a top-notch stay, but we appreciate you staying with us on this visit, and we sincerely hope that you will give us another chance to restore your faith in our hotel and hospitality.

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#2 Acknowledge Before You Investigate

“65% of guests are likely to walk out owing to a smelly room.”

There are times when guests might overstate their cleanliness-related issues, and when this happens, learn to acknowledge their concerns before you jump into cross-examining them. Realize that the reviewer’s experience was not up to par, and there is a need to put things or maybe, the perspective in place.
Acknowledging helps maintain a professional tone, thereby saving you from coming across as overly defensive about anything. Hence recognizing the problem in the first place is the key to woo your customers even when it comes to the general negative reviews.

For instance,

Rating: 4/10
By: Kendrick

“Stayed there for three days but didn’t receive housekeeping service. Not even once, during the said duration!”

Your response,

Hi Kendrick,

It was a pleasure hosting you on your recent visit. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. It is true that the global outbreak has put us all in a tough spot, as we constantly strive to adapt to the “new” normal. For us, it is all the more important to work on a balance between our responsibility to ensure cleanliness and at the same time, to provide our guests with a safe and “contactless” stay. Hence, we are making room cleaning available during the stay “by request” only. Our website reflects all the latest guidelines and measures which we’ve implemented in the wake of COVID-19 to put our guests at ease. Your concern totally makes sense, but we also request your cooperation in this regard. We also assure you that once things turn around, and when it is safe for us to do it, we will return to our normal operating procedures. Until then, these are the changes that we have adopted to ensure the well-being and safety of our visitors. We hope that you’ll give us another chance to make it up to you. Please feel free to write to us, in case of further questions and assistance. Our team will be happy to assist you!”

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

Responding to the Common Hotel Reviews Regarding Cleanliness

#3 Provide Guests the Assurance that You’ll Be Taking the Necessary Steps to Resolve the Issue

You have the freedom to take your guests into confidence when it comes to discussing the possible solution to be implemented to combat the problem. Inform them that you’ll be conducting a thorough investigation by reassessing the entire cleaning procedure for preventing the issue from cropping up again, and taking away from the seamless guest experience.

For instance,

I don’t trust them!
Rating: 2/10
By: Valerie

“During these Covid times, felt pretty unsafe to stay there, the housekeeping staff did not disinfect some common surfaces in the room”

Your response,

Hi Valerie,

Thank you for sharing your much-valued feedback with us. We’re extremely gutted to learn that you did not have a positive experience! This is an uncommon instance as the vast majority of our guests trust us with their stay and enjoy their experience with us to the fullest. It is evident that something wasn’t right in the way you had been treated, and as your review goes, we’re extremely alarmed to hear that you felt cleanliness wasn’t up to par. Our attention to detail is usually exceptional but we apologize profusely for missing the mark this time! We treat cleanliness as one of our highest priorities, especially amid such a global outbreak where guests are all the more concerned about their overall well-being and safety. Taking a cue from your review, we will embark on taking a series of steps that will help resolve this concern of yours. Firstly, we’ll be conducting a reassessment of the entire cleaning regime and overall procedure by coordinating well with our housekeeping crew to ensure that more attention is paid to the overall cleanliness. Starting this week, we will also be paying close attention to the disinfectants and overall products used during the cleaning sessions by appointing a special team for supervising the whole process. We hope to achieve the best results by adopting these measures. We are extremely sorry for letting you down this time! But we have it in us to improve and we request you to give us another chance to earn back your business!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

#4 Reiterate Your Cleaning Policies and Procedures

Just because you’re getting one negative review on improper cleanliness does not mean that you should dismiss it. A single negative review can also impact your overall score. But again, there is a particular way of handling it. Notably, in the hotel reviews regarding cleanliness where the concern seems to have been exaggerated, acknowledge it and apologize for the inconvenience, and follow it up with a reiteration. Confused?
Educating the guests by reiterating your cleaning procedures and policies is the best way of highlighting the fact that this one case of dirt and dust was an exception amidst so many positive reviews on cleanliness with cleaning procedures in place. It is an excellent way of putting even the prospects at rest, knowing that you are not compromising on cleanliness in any way, at least not deliberately.
Doing above would help assuage or alleviate the guests’ fears. Mention briefly in your reviews about how you have been conducting hourly checks, disinfecting and sanitizing the area, or keeping a room vacant for about 24 hours before the next check-in, etc.

For instance,

Not coming back!
Rating: 3/10
By: Jonathan Atkinson

“Carpets are full of dust as if those have not been washed since the inauguration day of the property.”

Your response,

Dear Mr. Atkinson,

Thank you for sharing your recent experience with us. We truly regret the inconvenience caused to you and under no circumstances, we want our guests to feel as if we are compromising on any aspect of our service. In the wake of COVID-19, our team has been working relentlessly to provide our guests with a stay where cleanliness and hygiene have become the primary area of focus. That being said, we have also refined and upgraded our inventory of cleaning products by incorporating tools to ensure that our cleaning procedures leave nothing to be desired. Simultaneously, our special team of staff members is also conducting an hourly check on the cleanliness status in rooms to provide a safe and hassle-free stay to our guests. It is all the more important for us to work on a balance between our responsibility to be clean and at the same time, providing our guests with a safe and “contactless” stay. Hence, we are making room cleaning available during the stay “by request” only. Alternatively, we are making provisions for placing a lot of cleaning materials in the rooms to allow guests to clean as they go, and when they please. But we’re truly very sorry to hear that you faced this. Had we known about that, we’d have gladly taken care of this right away, Nevertheless, we’ll surely communicate your feedback to our housekeeping team and going forward, we expect more scrutiny about our facilities’ cleanliness and your overall well- being. We would love it if you would come back to stay with us again – we have no doubt that the next time you would have the wonderful experience that the vast majority of our guests have.

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team

Responding to the Common Hotel Reviews Regarding Cleanliness

#5 Communicate the Feedback to Your Staff

Whether you do this before or after, it will surely help bring about the necessary changes. In cases where the feedback is discussed with the staff beforehand, there have been times when the latter has been able to provide considerable clarification and insights. Based on the input from the staff, the response writer can draft an accurate reply to the review, helping the reviewer know even your side of the story.
Again, communicating the feedback after responding to a review can also help the staff gain insights regarding the overall improvements to be made. This is, in a way, an added bonus to your overall janitorial procedure. Based on the above, you can improve the quality of reviews you’ll receive later, which will hopefully be more about praising the cleanliness, and less about the lack of it.

For instance,

Worst experience!
Rating: 3/10
By: Sierra

“Good service but the room cleanliness seemed compromised even though we are in the middle of the corona crisis”

Your response,

Hi Sierra,

Thank you for providing us your feedback. Whilst we are glad that you liked the overall service and our hospitality, we’re extremely sorry that your experience with us was not up to par. Upkeep and cleanliness are very important to us, and we want our guests to have a top-notch stay with us. Our room service team is generally very attentive to guests’ needs and we prepare the room thoroughly for upcoming guests. This is very unlike us. Nevertheless, we will communicate your feedback to our housekeeping team. Once again, we apologize profusely for dropping the ball this time. But consider our first as last by allowing us another opportunity to host you flawlessly in the future. With this, we hope to see you again in the soonest time!

Best Regards,
Arnold World Hotel
Anne, Guest Relations Team


There is a need for sanitization in everything that the hospitality industry thinks and does. Hotel guests have always valued cleanliness. Hence there is no doubt that the cleanliness concern, especially, during such a global threat, is all the more pervasive on the part of the travelers. Pandemic or no pandemic, cleanliness is of paramount importance when booking hotels! It is all the more important for the hoteliers now to advance cleaning protocols, from an observational level to a practical level with steps that are instant and effective in minimizing the risk of transmission in every way possible. In short, reform is needed to make the job of housekeeping a more immersive experience.

• • •

Your Online Presence And Reviews Impact Your Bottom Line!

And especially more, during such tough times!

We, at GuestTouch, understand hoteliers’ need to continue providing a seamless experience to their guests even amid such unprecedented times. We help hotels get reviews easily, manage reviews on the go, and respond to reviews professionally across search and OTAs to stand out and drive bookings consistently. With GuestTouch, stand out and instill confidence in travelers, researching their next stay, with hand-crafted, personalized responses to your online reviews.

Remember, we are all in this together!

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