Every business in every industry will face positive reviews or negative reviews. Customer service is at the core of any hospitality business - tour operators and activity providers included. Ever heard of the old saying: “The customer is always right”? You could say it’s in a way an admission that customer service is the heart and soul of the tour industry. It’s common knowledge that good customer service equals more returning customers, which means spending less on marketing the product. So, there are indeed many reasons to try increasing positive reviews.
The Numbers Concerning Positive Reviews
Statistics and findings from researches are always helpful if you want to get the big picture. So, let’s take a look at the key 'takeaways' from Online Review Survey Research 2016 (Bright Local):
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they're asked to
- 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
- 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
- 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
- 74% of consumers say that reviews make them trust a local business more
- 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important
You’re going to skyrocket your tour and activity business with these tips on how to increase positive reviews!
1. Make it as Easy as Possible for Them to Post a Review
You have to be aware of the fact that very few customers are going to go out of their way to find out where to submit a review or rate your business. No matter how great your tour business might be. Therefore, make it as easy as possible for customers to share their experience by sending them a direct link to your profile page on major review sites or encouraging the customer to rate your company on Facebook. You can send your customers a post-visit email encouraging them to take action. In addition, even hand out postcards or business cards that list URLs to review sites as customers leave. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly.
2. Send Post Trip Emails – a Personalized Follow-Up
Sending your guests a thank you email for joining you on a trip is essential. Your customers need to know that their feedback is important. This way you can ask them to review your tour company, whether it’s on platforms like TripAdvisor, or on your Facebook page.
Orioly makes it easy for you to automate this process using the post-trip email feature. Once activated, Orioly will automatically send an email to each passenger after their trip. You have the ability to edit and customize this email to best suit your tour company's needs. It’s also a great opportunity to ask your guests to contact you directly if they had any problems or were not satisfied with their experience. This will allow you to turn a potentially negative review into a positive one.
Furthermore, your customers will be less likely to forget about you when you follow up with a phone call or a handwritten letter. This opens up the line of communication and adds a personal touch to the entire experience, which is a great tactic for you.
3. Offer Incentives to Post a Review or Organize a Contest
We are not talking about bribing your customers to post a review. It’s important to understand a difference between that and encouraging more customers to share their feedback.
This could be, for example, in exchange for a discount on a future visit as a way to show your appreciation for their efforts. Promote the fact that you extend a discount to all customers that take the time to complete a short survey after their visit, or rate your business on Facebook.
Another type of incentive may come in a way of a contest. Encourage customers to submit a review as their entry form for a contest to win a gift card or gift certificate. Also, for example, tickets for one of your experiences, or an exclusive package you are offering for the season.
4. Interact on Social Media and Share Reviews
Tour operators that maintain a positive social media presence may be able to garner more reviews and customer feedback than those who do not. A report by Syncapse reveals Facebook fans tend to “spend more, engage more, advocate more, and be more loyal," which is why it's imperative for tour businesses to invest time in social media activities on some level.
You could simply quickly follow up to all comments posted on your Facebook page. Or respond to all reviews – which is crucial. This will show your customers that you're more than willing to communicate and interact with them—an important element of great customer service.
The importance of being active on social media is something we’ve written about already. Read more in our article Tour Providers’ Social Media Goals – Connecting With Travelers. Social media opens up the door to recognition and helps generate more business for your tour and activity company.
The great thing about platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is that you can easily promote rave reviews about your tour business and tag the customer who wrote it. Customers who see how other reviewers are treated—whether that's in the form of promoting video testimonials on a dedicated section of your website or promoting a customer's comments on Facebook and Twitter—may help you with increasing your positive ws.
5. Go Above and Beyond With Your Customer Service – Involve Your Staff and Upgrades
This should be a no-brainer.
First impressions and final impressions are going to leave a lasting effect on your customers. How your staff welcomes visitors as they settle in for their tour and activity and how the customers feel when they leave your tour will be some of the most memorable interactions your customer will have outside of the actual experience.
Make sure your tour guides understand that customer reviews have a direct impact on the amount of work they get. Train your guides to mention to customers that they would appreciate feedback in the form of reviews. Make sure to discuss reviews as a team, acknowledge good reviews, and use negative reviews as a tool for improvement.
Leave customers with a token of your appreciation in the form of a thank you card, a gift bag, or any other type of tangible souvenir to leave a lasting impression. More tips on rewarding your customers and leaving lasting impressions: Superb Way to Double Travelers’ Loyalty? Reward Them. These small gestures will help a customer feel more welcome and connected to your company—and may generate a positive review, which means you’re closer to your goal.
Also, whether you offer any type of adventure with the option to add on extra time or upgrade to a better experience, you could on occasion offer complimentary upgrades. Consider how many customers will be spreading the word about free upgrades they received when booking their tour. Or how thrilled they are that they received a free gift or souvenir upon departure. These things may be just what it takes to set your company apart from other tour and activity operators in the area. Thereby, generating some positive feedback in the form of positive reviews and high ratings.
6. Make Sure Your Checkout Process is Easy
A tour or activity provider may focus mainly on delivering amazing experiences for customers and introducing them to a new activity. But don't forget the importance of the customer service experience before your visitor even gets there.
When you use an online booking software to coordinate reservations online, you want to make sure customers are going through a seamless checkout process. Monetate reports on how 75 percent of online shopping cart purchases are abandoned. And according to HubSpot, this could be because your checkout process is too complicated or appears insecure. Other reasons include a checkout flow process that is too lengthy and technical difficulties with the shopping cart.
So, if you can present a seamless checkout process for your customers, you can not only secure a booking but increase your positive comments. It could really be something that many of your customers will be willing to share in their reviews.
7. Remain Professional – Even With the Negative Reviews and Learn From Them
It’s impossible to expect that all of your customers are going to be happy customers. Some tour operators are more than eager to hide negative reviews under the rug, but it's not going to help. In fact, it’s more likely to hurt. Learning how to handle negative reviews effectively, however, can open up the door for more positive reviews since customers will see that you'll go out of your way to rectify a seemingly difficult situation.
Sometimes the best approach is to turn the comment around by apologizing sincerely and then highlighting what you do right.
You might initially think that negative reviews are bad for your tour company, but they’re not.
Negative reviews make the good reviews more authentic. Once there aren’t too many of them of course. Anything you post publicly that shows a casual visitor that you take care of your customers can improve your online image.
Responding shows travelers and potential customers that you genuinely value their feedback. And that you're eager to provide the best, most enjoyable experience.
Embracing reviews – good or bad – helps you make beneficial operational improvements. Was there an issue with timing? Do you need to make the ticket booking process more efficient?
Remember, your best judges are your customers! So, take their feedback with an open mind to improve your tour and attract more good attention down the road.
8. Refrain From Shortcuts – Like Fake Reviews
Like all things in social media and user-generated content, your reviews are something that needs to be managed and grown over time. It means you need to constantly pay attention.
Strive to continually increase positive reviews over time, and always make sure you respond to your most recent reviews.
Posting fake reviews, using organized boosting techniques, or posting fake reviews on your competitors’ sites are all actions that will jeopardize your credibility and the image of your tour company. Trust us, it would not be in your best interest to do any of those activities.
Instead, use all of the possibilities mentioned before and steadily, but successfully increase your positive reviews.
Reach out to us if you’d appreciate some help! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us or share it right here.
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