Reviews are one of the defining factors of a company’s reputation, and as such are can make or break a traveler’s decision on whether or not to book with your company. Consumers read an average of 10 reviews before they feel able to trust a local business (BrightLocal), making reviews a powerful tool to help market your business and encourage customers to choose you over your competitors. Whether you’re a small or large tour and activity operator, every business needs to have a strategy for requesting, monitoring, and responding to reviews. This checklist breaks down the steps of review management so you can easily get started.
Make sure you have a profile on all the
major review platforms, including Google My Business, Facebook and Tripadvisor.
Check that your profiles have complete and consistent NAP data (Name, Address, and Phone number) as well as your website URL, photos and videos of your tours, hours of operation, and anything else that potential customers would need to know. NAP consistency can either help to grow your business or to serve as a barrier to discovery.
Choose a review acquisition strategy that works well for your business. For example, you can:
canned messages or automated marketing emails to reach out to your customers right after their experience to request a review, including links to your review platforms. Luckily, when customers book through FareHarbor, you already have their email address, so you don't have to ask them to sign up for a mailing list before or after their tour.
For customers who book in person or over the phone, ask them to sign up for your mailing list so you can reach out afterward and request a review.
Put up signage in your physical location that reminds customers how helpful reviews are to local businesses.
Give your tour guides specific messaging. and talking points that they can incorporate during the tour to ask people for reviews and tell them how much it means to your business to get their feedback. Approach the request from the point of view that all review, good or bad, help to make the company and future tours better.
Invite local bloggers, influencers and other industry professionals to join your tours and leave a review. This can create exposure for your business and help you reach new audiences. Be sure you don't create any pressure to leave you a positive review, and instead just focus on giving them the excellent service you provide to all your customers and let them share their honest experience with your company.
Keep your review acquisition strategy active at all times to ensure reviews are consistently coming in. Not only are fresh and recent reviews important to both search engines and customers, but you want to avoid getting a rush of reviews all at once followed by a period with no reviews. This pattern often raises a red flag for search engines by making it appear as though the reviews were purchased or solicited with an incentive. All your reviews should be real reviews left by real customers, without an incentive attached.
Replying to Reviews
Decide who in your company is responsible for monitoring and replying to reviews. Successful review management must to be done regularly, so set up a weekly time to work on it and monitor your review platforms daily to make sure you catch any urgent matters, such as negative reviews that need to be addressed in a timely manner.
Respond to both positive and negative reviews following
these guidelines, ensuring that you connect with customers in a thoughtful manner and demonstrate that your company cares about their experience.
Resist the urge to be defensive when replying to a negative review. Remember that potential customers will be looking at your reviews to decide whether they want to do business with you, so it's important to address all concerns with respect and tact.
Make sure to reply to positive reviews. Your customer took the time to leave you a glowing review, so take the time to recognize them with a big thank you! To add a personal touch, if possible mention something funny or interesting that happened on their specific tour.
This might seem like a no-brainer - but share your reviews! Positive reviews are only beneficial to your business if people can see them! When promoting your company with reviews say something like "Over 100 5-star reviews" to get people's attention.
Make sure you include a testimonial section on your website showcasing your customer reviews and share positive feedback on other marketing materials as appropriate -- for example, if you're sending an email to promote a specific tour, include a glowing review of that tour that will encourage others to book.
Share testimonials on social media and other channels. If possible record video testimonials from actual clients after real tours and post to social in real time.
Monitor your competitors' reviews to get an idea of the competition in your industry. You can find out what your business offers that competitors don't, what competitors do well that you could replicate, and other valuable information. You can even go on a competitor's tour and give them your email address to get an idea of how they handle review acquisition and management.
Reviews are all about trust, so the most important thing is to be transparent and use all reviews as an opportunity to communicate with your customers and demonstrate the values of your business. Local businesses rely on reviews to get better exposure for SEO and bring in customers who are looking for the best-rated activities in their hometown or the place they’re visiting, so make sure you make review management a regular part of your operations. For more tips, head over to our reputation management guides.