The benefits of building a strong online review profile are irrefutable\u2026Online reviews not only provide a unique opportunity to foster guest relationships post check-out, but have also been proven to deliver higher profits to accommodation providers. We discussed this in more depth in a recent blog article\u00a0on the benefits of getting online customer reviews for your business. Now, we would like to explain how to respond to Google reviews and the benefits of responding to the reviews your property receives.\r\n\r\nReviews, responses and Google\r\nIt\u2019s rare for Google to openly discuss aspects of their ranking algorithm, but perhaps in an effort to support small business, they have revealed that local search rankings are dependent on reviews &amp; owner responses (among other things). The Google My Business help centre explicitly states that managing and responding to reviews will help to improve your ranking position in local search results. Google believes that \u201cresponding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback they leave about your business.\u201d\r\n\r\nFurther supporting Google\u2019s high-regard for reviews, a recent update to the knowledge panel displayed in local search results now sees a collation of reviews from a variety of sources, not just those from within the Google platform. Consequently, all reviews that your guests post on TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Agoda, Hotels.com etc., are all viewable from the local search results page. This includes your responses (or lack thereof), making it very easy for future travellers and potential guests to make a judgement about how committed you are to customer service (or not). It can be a bit of minefield however, to find the 'correct' response so when considering how to respond to Google reviews, the first thing to do is to approach it with a cool head!\r\n\r\nConverting \u2018lookers to bookers\u2019 with review responses\r\nAccording to TripAdvisor, there is a direct relationship between responding to reviews and increased hotel occupancy rates. In fact, a recent study showed that businesses which responded to at least half of their reviews, grew their bookings \u201cat more than twice the rate of [businesses] who ignored their reviews\u201d. Another study that analysed Yelp leads, also revealed a positive correlation between responses to reviews and a business\u2019s ability to achieve incremental revenue.\r\n\r\nShowcasing your guest reviews and your responses to those reviews on your website will greatly influence the likelihood of your web users converting from \u2018lookers to bookers\u2019. Lucky for you, TrustYou has the tools to allow you to do this effortlessly. Connecting with the TrustYou platform via HiRUM Anywhere will provide your \u2018lookers\u2019 with all the information they need to make a booking without navigating away from your site.\r\n\r\nBest practices for how to respond to Google reviews:\r\nRespond promptly: By responding to a customer review in a timely manner, it indicates to the potential guest that you pay attention to your customers and value their feedback. By showing that you care about their experience, it will leave a lasting positive impression on them.\r\nThank them: Whether the feedback received by the guest is negative or positive, always start by stating your appreciation to the guest who has taken the time to write a review and share their experience online. For example, \u2018Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience online\u2019 or \u2018Thank you for your comments, we appreciate your time.\u2019\r\nAddress complaints: By addressing any complaints, this reassures the reviewer that their review/feedback is taken seriously and shows you are willing to resolve their complaint. You can address a complaint by simply saying \u2018Your feedback is important to us and we will use it to look at areas for improvement in our hotel/resort\u2019, and then continue to state the steps you will take to resolve the issue.\r\nBe professional and polite: This is extremely important when writing your response as it will be displayed as \u2018from the owner\u2019 and visible to everyone with internet access. Viewers of the reviews will see this as a direct reflection of your business and its brand, so when considering how to respond to Google reviews make sure it conveys values you are proud to uphold.\r\nAll in all, it\u2019s very difficult to win an argument with a frustrated customer, but that shouldn\u2019t be your end goal. When considering how to respond to Google reviews on your hotel, remember that it is all about showing future potential guests (who may be browsing through your reviews) that you are committed to customer service. By following the tips above you will display a genuine concern for your guests and increase your likelihood of turning \u2018lookers into bookers\u2019.\r\n\r\nWe understand that life as a property manager is very busy, and sometimes you might not have time to respond to guest reviews. That\u2019s where our HiRUM Marketing team can help! We will manage your Google reviews for you, responding to positive reviews and helping you respond appropriately to negative reviews. If you\u2019d like more information about our HiRUM Marketing Reach Program\u00a0click here\u00a0or email us at\firstname.lastname@example.org.