Over the past few years, 5 star reviews have become worth their weight in gold. With sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor growing in popularity, reviews have become even more important to the success and profitability of businesses. Not only that, customers see the importance of reviews when choosing to book an activity or tour. Tripadvisor found that 80% of travelers read at least 6-12 reviews prior to making a booking and 53% won’t even commit to making a booking or reservation until reading at least one review. Stats like these show why not only having but effectively showcasing reviews is crucial to bringing in new customers. See some of the other reasons you should consider highlighting your reviews.

Online Reviews are the New Word of Mouth

While a recommendation from a familiar source like a friend or family is always key, online reviews are becoming almost equally important. As social media usage has skyrocketed and online review sites have become more popular, people are now turning to reviews as a trusted form of social proof. In a recent study from BrightLocal, 79% of people said that they trust reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. This shows that though word of mouth is still a great way to improve your reputation and grow your business, online reviews are becoming just as important.

It’s also worth noting that online reviews will reach more people and help influence a greater number of potential customers than word of mouth. Customers are much more likely to turn to the internet before asking for word of mouth recommendations when inquiring about a business. That’s why you should showcase your reviews on every possible platform. Highlight them on your website with the Reviews Widget and sign up for sites like Tripadvisor, Viator or GetYourGuide to bring in more reviews. A personal recommendation will always be key, but it’s clear online reviews have carved out their importance in the industry and are here to stay.

To Boost Revenue, Aim for Quality and Quantity

Even though 5 star reviews look great from afar, it’s a common misconception that having only perfect reviews generates more revenue. A study conducted by Womply on small businesses discovered that having an average rating of 5 stars doesn’t directly translate to an increase in revenue. Small businesses that fall within the 3.5 to 4.5 star range are in fact the ones that see the most revenue. Even more shocking is that businesses with a 5 star average actually earn less than 1 to 1.5 star businesses.

It’s important to note this difference since it’s expected to have customers that leave lower rated reviews and customers won’t always leave 100% satisfied. The same study also found that the quantity of reviews is the most important factor for many. Businesses with greater than the average number of reviews earned 82% more revenue than those with less than the average review. This shows that though it’s important to get 5 star ratings, it’s even more important to get a review from every customer.

Boost the amount of reviews by ensuring you collect emails from every guest, not just the person booking - Peek’s SmartReviews+ feature collects emails from waiver signatures and sends out an automated request after the activity. Another great way to generate reviews is through asking the customer directly at the end of the activity, placing QR codes and signage up around your office, or incentivizing your guides with rewards.

Address Every Negative Review - They Matter Just as Much as Great Ones

Not every review will be 5 stars and you’re bound to have some reviews from unhappy customers who weren’t satisfied with their experience. In the past, it was common to ignore these reviews as outliers and try to hide them altogether. However, this isn’t the case as most customers actually seek out negative reviews. Let's be honest, we’ve all filtered reviews to look at the worst of the worst experiences. They exist and shouldn’t be ignored. While a 1 star review may seem problematic, customers actually spend five times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews and see an 85% increase in conversion rate. This is because negative reviews make your business more credible and near perfect ratings can appear suspicious to customers. Use this to your advantage by responding to negative reviews quickly.

Replying to reviews - good or bad - leads to better ratings. Be transparent about your mistakes, offer a solution and even show your concern by providing an incentive such as a discount. If you don’t have time to get to those bad reviews, enlist the help of SmartReviews+ to automatically follow up with low-rated reviews

Covid Has Made Reviews Even More Essential

2020 was a year to forget for the travel industry with many struggling due to the global pandemic. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot to learn from with the tourism industry adapting to this difficult situation. For one, customers want a greater focus on health and safety precautions taken by a business. 23% of people said they chose a different business if the other didn’t follow health measures, and 17% wrote negative reviews of businesses that didn’t follow the necessary Covid-19 health measures. The Reviews Widget showcases the most up-to-date reviews on your website so potential customers don’t have to search different review sites for comments on safety protocols.

Customers want to feel safe when choosing a business now more than ever and aren’t afraid to speak up when the health and safety of a business are not up to standards. Share your protocols with customers through clearly stating them in the booking flow or on your website. This will let customers know you’re serious about keeping them safe before and after the activity to put them at ease when booking.

If you’re interested in showcasing reviews on your website, reach out to support@peek.com to get the Reviews Widget on your page in only 5 minutes!

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