Did you know that 70% of people depend on online reviews before they make buying decisions? Isn’t that a huge chunk of your audience?
Just imagine how many of your target customers might be in that 70%! This proves that online reviews are something you cannot ignore.
The figures get even more exciting here:
People rely on fresh and recent reviews of companies and services in order to develop solid trust. Of course, it goes without saying that the reviews would have to be positive. But when customers are expressing their views, you have no control over what they write, which is why it is equally important to give their requirements top priority.
Online reviews are almost like personal recommendations; it is that way for at least 9 out of 10 people, and these reviews dictate their buying decision.
This is especially true in the travel industry as people want to check out what others experiences are before they decide to go on a holiday. They make their decisions regarding their travel destination, places to visit, hotels to stay at and food to eat based on the experience of others who’ve taken a similar holiday.
Now that we’ve established the importance of reviews for your travel company, here are some ways you can get clients to leave online reviews for your travel business.
You have a Facebook page already, don’t you? Well, you can use it to promote your travel website and include testimonials from people. Facebook has introduced a tab that says “Share Reviews”, so whenever a customer visits your page, they can write reviews about your travel service and share it.
Hundreds and thousands of people would then read this review. This is a definite way to improve your travel business.
LinkedIn is a great resource and one of the best social media platforms to help grow your network. If you are running a travel company with many employees, then you can encourage all of them to be active on LinkedIn. Even if you ask for recommendations from customers, most of them would readily give you one.
3. Personal Requests
If you want a review of your company and its services, then ask for one. It’s that simple — plain and direct. You can always rely on platforms like Trip Advisor to get these reviews. As said earlier, the fresher the better.
People can comment on not just your services, but about the destination and the experiences they had as well. That’s exactly what people would want to read, and it is not that hard a task at all.
If your service was good, people will naturally write positive reviews about it without any prompting. Or you can request politely, with something like — “We are glad to have served you. Would you also leave us your feedback about our company, if you don’t mind?”
There is always the possibility that you might get a negative review. In that case, reach out to the customer, apologize and offer them something attractive to compensate for their bad experience. You need to go out of the way to support them and help them have a better experience next time. This might in turn lead to a positive review at a later date.
4. Reviews on Familiar Sites
When you are asking for reviews from your customers, make sure it is on sites that they are familiar with. That way they don’t have to create an account or log in separately. As this saves them time, they would most likely respond to your request.
You will have to do your homework as well. Keep a spreadsheet on the different reviews you are getting on different platforms because that would give you a better picture of how your services are rated. You can thank customers for their reviews and provide compensation or offer clarifications wherever they are required.
This would only improve the value of your services. Trust is very important in the travel business and this is one way in which you can help generate it.
5. Testimonials on Your Website
It is important to have plenty of reviews on your website because that would only increase the credibility of your service. You can have a dedicated web page for client testimonials and even feature some of them on your website’s home page.
Include photos and videos of your clients along with their testimonials to make it more authentic. Facilitate tools like photo uploading, live micro blogging and live check-ins on your website to make it easy for your clients to share their experiences.
Yelp is the ideal platform to tap into when you are running a service-based business. Though its demographics suggest that most of the people are in the age group of 25–34, you are still able to target a healthy chunk of consumers who are likely to travel. Yelp is currently available in over 30 countries such as USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, etc.
It is true that Yelp doesn’t encourage the practice of leaving reviews openly, so most of the reviews have to be self-induced and you are not to offer incentives to customers who give reviews. Even if Yelp doesn’t allow direct solicitation, you can still put a Yelp badge on your website and this would be instantly updated whenever somebody leaves a review about your company. However, using Yelp for getting online reviews is tricky because it could backfire anytime.
7. Google+ Local
If you want to get plenty of online reviews for your travel company, Google+Local has the potential to tap into your local customers. Listing your company on Google+Local is free and when your customers post reviews, it will be visible when relevant searches are made.
However, there is one downside to this. Only Google account holders will be able to leave a review here. But you can hold comfort in the fact that these reviews would be visible across various Google products.
Similarly, when you see great testimonials on Yelp, Google Places, CitySearch and Merchant Circle, make sure those are shared on the testimonial page of your website as well.
8. Respond to Feedback
A vacation is supposed to be one of the most memorable events in a person’s life, and when they choose a travel company, they will do it with utmost care. They will go through all the recent reviews before they decide whether to contact you. So when they post any queries, respond to them promptly.
Similarly, if you see a customer seeking clarification, ensure that’s its followed through. Disgruntled consumers are likely to give negative feedback. The trick is to convince them that their problems, however small or big, are important to you.
9. Team Up with Influencers
While bad reputation can do massive damage to your company’s reputation, good reviews can bring more in customers. Team up with reputed travel bloggers and businesses and get their recommendations. This will go a long way in boosting your company in the eyes of potential clients.
It goes without saying that providing excellent customer experience is the trick to getting good reviews. If you want people to leave you good reviews, you must make sure they have memorable trips, even if you have to go the extra mile. People are always attracted to reviews and it would leave a deep impact on their minds.
Get ready to take your business to the next level. Lots of free resources, worksheets and eBooks to help you get started.