People increasingly turn to online reviews to help them during the decision-making process, which means reviews play a critical role for many businesses and this is especially true in the holiday and leisure industry. But why do online reviews really matter, which review sites should you be using, how should you approach review requests and what happens when you get a bad review? Read on to find out more.
Why reviews matter
People look to reviews as a way of guiding their decision-making process. When you’re weighing up two similar options for examples a total lack of reviews for one could easily swing the decision towards the option that looks more attractive thanks to positive reviews.
Research by HubSpot found that 60% of consumers believed customer reviews were either trustworthy or very trustworthy. The same survey found that when people were asked to provide feedback, 68% were willing to do so.
Not only are reviews important as they influence behaviour, but they also play a role in SEO (search engine optimisation) and are one of the many hundreds of ranking factors that Google looks to when determining how trust-worthy and authoritative your website is.
Reviews are also great to include in marketing campaigns, from your emails through to social media, shouting about what other guests have said about their stay builds trust and is a great way to capture attention.
How to ask for reviews from guests
But before deciding on which review platform to actively focus on, it’s worth considering the following;
- Does the platform allow you to respond to reviews without the need to pay?
- Is the platform a licensed Google Review Partner?
- Is it possible to integrate reviews into your own site and if so, will you need to pay for this functionality?
Once you’ve decided on a review platform you want to focus on, make sure you generate a link that guests can use that takes them straight to the page they need to write their review.
You might want to request reviews by doing one of the following;
- Send guests an email a few days after their stay thanking them for staying with you, asking them to take a moment to leave a quick review. A formal email invitation also helps to ensure you’re adhering to Google best practice, necessary for seller star ratings to be shown in search results.
- You might want to run an email campaign, where you email all of your guests from the last few months to request a review.
- You could make it less formal and simply ask guests when they leave to go online to leave you a review (though this puts the onus on them and might feel like too much hard work)
- You could pop a little postcard or flyer in the post asking for a review, thanking them for their stay, and you could even include a small discount code for a return booking.
Don’t be afraid of occasional bad reviews
Many businesses shy away from online reviews as they are worried that they won’t fare too well, so before actively embracing online reviews and requesting them from guests, make sure you are confident in your service offering and processes, however, a bad review is actually something to embrace…
This might sound counter-intuitive, but a bad review here and there is probably a good thing! Seeing only 5-star reviews and ratings of ‘excellent’ can actually set off alarm bells, making your reviews seem less trustworthy.
The odd negative review makes all the reviews overall, more believable. Responding to negative reviews, in particular, is super important, so make sure you address any points raised and get your side of the story out, in a calm and professional manner and use it as a chance to show how great your customer service is!
Which online review platforms do we recommend?
It depends on your particular business and on what platforms you’re currently using, but generally, we recommend reviews.io or Google Reviews.
Google Reviews makes it super quick and easy for people to leave reviews and you can post a response too, all for free, but you can’t pull them into your website easily. All you need to do is get your Google My Business listing set up and verified and you can then start actively requesting reviews from your guests.
Reviews.io is a licensed Google review partner which means that Google uses its review data when aggregating things like Google Seller ratings and in its organic search results. You can sign up for free and you’ll be given a link that you can share with guests to allow them to write you a review.
Need some help with review marketing?
If you’re not sure how to go about online reviews and need a helping hand to get things set up and a review strategy in place then please get in touch. Let’s have a talk about your goals and how we can help you achieve them.