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Business owners responding to online reviews can improve booking levels, a study found.

Personalised responses from accommodation and restaurant owners or senior management can lead to better customer reviews and better repeat booking levels, a new survey has found.

The poll of 23,292 travellers and diners across 12 markets including Australia was conducted by Ipsos Mori in partnership with TripAdvisor and delivered a number of primary findings. Among these was a greater likelihood in 79% of respondents to book a hotel or restaurant if queries or complaints from others were responded to personally by an owner or manager. The study showed 84% of those polled believed personalised, polite and respectful engagement with aggrieved customers can lead to an otherwise negative review becoming more balanced and less damaging.

In addition, more than half of potential new customers said they were more likely to select a hotel or restaurant if online reviews showed a strong engagement rate by management with other customers.

The study was conducted by TripAdvisor to highlight its suite of free Management Response tools available on its website, which gives accommodation and restaurant owners an opportunity to respond once to all reviews, both good and bad, once they have claimed their listing.

New customers can be claimed through polite responses to online reviews.

TripAdvisor Senior Manager Industry Relations, Fabrizio Orlando, said the survey results clearly showed the importance of managing online reviews.

“If an owner responds to a review, whether that review is positive or negative, it makes a real difference to a traveller’s perception of a property, and can have huge effects on increased room bookings and table reservations.”

Regarding negative reviews, two-thirds of respondents (67%) said they considered it helpful and balanced to see an owner or senior manager provide some context, an apology attempt and an explanation into the specific circumstances in the wake of a negative review post.

Nearly nine out of ten respondents said the politeness of an owner or manager in responding to reviews greatly improved their impression of a business.