Are customer reviews important?

Are customer reviews important?

People who travel to new places are constantly scared of making the wrong choice about where to go and what to do. There is also a risk factor that comes with their decisions and, in their attempt to mitigate such risk, they reach for the peace of mind that comes from customer reviews. Nowadays there are so many options that people want to make sure they find the one that fits their specifications the most. 90% of customer’s decisions are influenced by online reviews, so there is no doubt that customer reviews are a significant factor in the purchase process.

For small/new businesses, reviews will put them on the map for any future potential customers. You may be the best option for your market, but if nobody else has backed up your claims then you have little credibility. Reviews can be used as free marketing in order to promote your services as there is better way to do so than by word of mouth (so to speak). Reviews are not only helpful to the future potential customers but also to the service provider itself. The comments can help the operator see what they’re getting right vs what needs to be improved. This way they can use a third person’s point of view about their products in order to make changes and become the best within their market. It gives them the chance to stand out from competition in various aspects like: price, experience, inclusions, location, reputation, other.

Power of Social Proof

There is also the power of social proof to keep in mind. People claim they want to take the “road less travelled”, but when it comes to tours and activities there is something to be said about the struggle of finding a balance between not wanting to fall into a tourist-trap while also ensuring they will have a great experience. For example, when you want to try out a new restaurant you do some research about the recommended places. Now if, when you get there, the restaurant is empty, you will then start questioning if you made the right call. Subconsciously, your mind is looking for what is referred to as social proof. On the other hand, if said restaurant was overflowing with people then you automatically assume the place was a great choice.
Recent studies show that seven out of 10 customers will write a review as long as they are asked to do so. This is why it is crucial to establish a post-activity email plan, in which emails prompting the customers to leave a review will be sent a couple of days after the activity was consumed. Keep in mind that the first five reviews for a product have the biggest impact when it comes to convincing other potential clients that the service in question is the best they will find.

It is a fact that not all reviews are going to be exclusively positive, but do not worry, research found that 82% of shoppers seek out negative reviews. Customers can become skeptical when all the reviews they come across are “too positive”. Negative reviews can give some credibility to the service as well. Allowing some negative reviews is normal as long as they are monitored and acknowledged by the service supplier.

The Power of Responding and How to do so (yes, even for bad reviews)

By responding to reviews, the reviewers will know that you value the time they took to provide their feedback. They will be encouraged to return because of the continued attention they have been provided. For potential clients, seeing that you have responded to previous reviews will show them that the company’s constantly looking to grow and improve and that they value their costumer’s opinions. When responding to reviews, first make sure to thank the reviewer for taking their time to share their feedback about their experience. Then, mention any positive comment they included in their review and how you value their opinion. After that you should address their specific situation, if there was a bad experience, and further explain why that happened. Make sure to reassure them that actions have been taken into place in order to better that situation as soon as possible. To conclude, invite them back in order to make it up to them. Incentivize them to stay in touch or reach out and include email for further inquiries.

Incentives

In order to ensure that word spreads through the reviews it would be helpful to incentivize your customers to write about their experience. These incentives could come as coupons or discounts for future bookings. This way, you ensure that the people who are the most motivated about sharing how their experience went are actual customers. This will also add on to the positive experience they have already had when their booking was consumed as they are given the attention they deserve even after their experience with your company is over.

Breakdown of the Most Popular Review Platforms

Now that we’ve established the importance of writing the reviews, here’s a quick rundown of the different platforms along with their pros and cons. This will help guide your focus to the site that you find could be of most help to your company.

Google Reviews

Pros
  • Displayed higher on the search results
  • Advanced review algorithm
  • Unbiased treatment of reviews
  • Fastest growth rate for number of reviews (278%)
  • Asks people to leave a review based on their location
Cons
  • Less reviews per month
  • Anyone can suggest an edit to your company information, so it is important to respond to change requests

TripAdvisor

Pros
  • Highest average number of new reviews each year per business (47.5)
  • Has option to book directly from the site
Cons
  • Questionable controls for fake reviews, easy to beat their algorithm
  • No verification of the users who are commenting, they are not allowed to claim that their reviews are real or trustworthy
  • It is more common for customers to review when they had a negative experience

Yelp

Pros
  • Great exposure due to the high amount of users per month
  • Paid advertising for a higher placement on search results
Cons
  • Paid advertising has long-term contracts
  • Filtered reviews, could be hiding good reviews and focusing on the negative ones
  • Scandal brought on by Billion Dollar Bully film and its claims

Customers

Praise good service overall, if you had a great experience and you have the opportunity to make this company grow then you should go ahead and do it. Another thing to consider is that there are more people out there who are looking for a great experience like yours and would miss out on the opportunity if you don’t share your experience!
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