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If you have been in business for any length of time, then you have probably encountered situations where the descriptive content of a customer’s review contradicts the numerical score or star rating.

Generally speaking, if the content is negative and the star rating is high, the review is best left alone since it does not impact your overall average. The problem arises when the narrative of your review is positive but the star rating is low.

If you don’t have a high number of reviews, such a review could tremendously impact your lead generation and buyer perception. Today we will explore how to tackle this problem on your TripAdvisor profile. These tips are transferable for most categories in the travel and hospitality segments and can be very useful to small or new-to-the-market businesses that are disproportionally impacted by this scenario.

Will TripAdvisor Remove the Review?

When an online review has a discrepant star rating and you (the business owner) escalate to TripAdvisor, you stand little to no chance of getting the review removed. In order for a review to remain online, it simply has to meet minimum standards of family friendliness, written by an actual visitor, relevance, originality, and non-commerciality. If these standards are met, then the review is most likely to be approved for publication by the moderators even if the star rating does not match the review content. As a general rule of thumb, unless the review violates any of the conditionals mentioned above and explained here, the review is likely to stick.

(Check out: “TripAdvisor to Let Renovated Hotels Delete Old, Outdated Reviews”)

Can I Request for the Reviewer to Edit?

As a business owner or manager, TripAdvisor frowns upon your usage of the private messaging feature to contact a reviewer. Private message via TripAdvisor is therefore not an option when reaching out to one of your customers to request an edit.

However, if your business relationships are such that you can quickly identify the reviewer’s transaction and you happen to have contact information in your database, then you may want to resort to contacting your customer privately, requesting a removal and resubmission, which is the only option available to edit a review that has already been published. Should you opt to take this route, make sure your E-mail is extremely cordial and clear as to the nature of your request. You may want to provide a direct link to the Contact Us form for TripAdvisor, to further facilitate the process for the reviewer.

(Check out: “Requesting Online Reviews but Having Trouble Collecting E-mail Addresses? Here are 4 Secrets Restaurateurs Use”)

What Can I Do If I’m Unable to Contact the Reviewer?

If you are unable to privately contact the reviewer or the reviewer is unwilling or unable to request an edit, then you may want to consider posting a response to the review that covers your gratitude for the kind and encouraging words while also addressing the star-rating discrepancy.

The goal of your response is dual: You are thanking your customer for his or her review while providing reassurance to future customers. Try to tackle the star-rating discrepancy in the first paragraph, as most shoppers tend to scan instead of fully reading the reviews and review responses.

How Do We Move Forward?

The impact of a once-off discrepant review has a direct correlation to your review volume. The more reviews you have, the less a discrepant review will impact your overall average. The best palliative and preventative medicine is a long-term strategy designed to increase your online engagement. Become familiar with ways to get more and better reviews across all review sites. A strong online reputation profile will afford your business leeway for instances when your reviewers make an honest mistake.

Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.