Ignoring review websites because of the risk of negative reviews is a poor and dangerous path for the tourism operator to take. If you are confident of your product and service you should embrace travel reviews as a key strategy for attracting new bookings. If you are not confident then serious questions need to be asked about your business fullstop – fix the issues and then go for great reviews.
Here are some tips on how to use travel reviews as a marketing strategy:
- Pick one or two key review websites to focus on. Ensure you are listed on the site and then link to your listing from your own website. For New Zealand tourism operators I recommend sites like TripAdvisor and Rankers. TripAdvisor Reviews are also fed through automatically to appear on your business Google Map listing.
- Invite your guests to leave a review. Both TripAdvisor and Rankers provide free “widgets” to place on your website that show your current reviews and ratings plus invite people to write a review. You can also make it standard practise to email your customers with a link to write review.
- Promote your Reviews on your Website. You should have a Reviews page on your website showing a selection of your best reviews with a link to the review on the travel website. This provides credibility and trust that your reviews are authentic.
- Respond to reviews. Particularly if there are some negative comments. Always show you are happy to get feedback and have dealt with any issues identified, this is by far better than just ignoring it.
- Regularly search online for user content. Visit key travel review sites regularly and use websites like Technorati that help you to scour the internet for blog comments, photos or videos posted about your business. Travellers love showing off about their travels so there is a good chance they have posted photos on popular sites like Flickr or videos on sites like YouTube.
Check out this article from Hotelmarketing.com that offers some best practice guidelines for managing online reviews.