Consumers search for, read, and trust reviews – especially those ready to buy. The Local Consumer Review Survey showed that 88% of consumers trust customer testimonials. Today, people don’t just tell their friends or family either. They go online. They use social media, review sites, and even “rant” sites. Regardless of if you request it, know about it, or capture it, your customers are talking about their experience.
Using customer reviews is an effective marketing strategy. Businesses should make getting online reviews a part of their business process. When signing customers up for your tour, let them know that at the end of the tour, you would like to get testimonies. They will be more prepared and be more enthused to say yes.
How to get Reviews?
The best way to get the ball rolling is asking customers for feedback. Because customers use reviews to make decisions, they know how important they are to your business. Without asking, a customer is less likely to look for ways to leave a review. Make it easy for them, and just ask!
2. Conduct a survey
One way to collect reviews is to conduct a survey after the customer has finished the tour. Many companies use surveys. It is an opportunity to collect demographics or other information. But surveys can ask many different kinds of questions. Your tour company can use surveys to simply ask, “How did you enjoy your tour?”
3. Reach out to those already talking about you
Chances are they are already customers online talking about you (also see #6). Be active on social media; and when someone leaves a comment about their experience with your tour company, reply! On Facebook, this can keep comments near the top of your page. There is also a Review section available on Facebook pages that your business can use. Retweet positive mention on Twitter and thank them.
You can also search on search engines, social media, and services like Social Mention to find people talking about your company. Reach out to these people and ask their permission to link or display their reviews on your company’s website.
4. Ask for video testimonials
This can be the most powerful way to ask for testimonials. Consumers trust video testimonials even more than written ones. There are also endless possibilities with video marketing testimonials– so we made a whole other post about it.
Some quick examples are to request short, filmed testimonials as soon as customers finish their tour – when they are still feeling excited. Your company could even take video before, during and after with a phone or tablet to capture fun moments on your tours and how your customers react to them. Then upload the videos to your website and social media channels providing you with a great deal of marketing content.
5. Activate “comments” on your website
Most websites have the ability to let people leave comments on certain pages. Set your tour company’s website up to allow comments on pages such as tour descriptions and booking pages. This can let visitors leave comments about their experience. But don’t fret, this feature can be set so to notify you first and be approved before it appears on your site.
6. List on online directories
Sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp see monthly web traffic in the 10s and even 100s of millions. Advice, reviews, testimonials, suggestions, whichever way you look at it, consumers use these sites to make many different kinds of buying decisions. And anyone can add a listing and leave a review on these sites. Your business may already be listed.
If you haven’t done so already, search for your tour company on these sites and “Claim” them. This will allow you to add descriptions, photos, links to your website and booking page. Claiming your listing will also give you some control over your reviews. You can respond to good and poor reviews should you have any. And send happy customers there to leave positive reviews and push the poor reviews down.
There are many other directory and review sites to consider such as Angie’s List, Google Places and Yahoo Local. Do a search and ask around to find out where might be important for your business to list on.
7. Offer incentives
Sometimes even the happiest of customers need some incentive to stop and take the time to provide a review. Offering something shows appreciation. You could offer a discount, host a contest/giveaway – you could even offer a coffee voucher in exchange for a review.
Your business may already have an incentive program that can be adapted easily to capture more reviews.
8. Your local Destination Marketing Organization (DMO)
Contact your DMO and ask if they collect testimonials. They may survey guests in their info centers or after they return from their tours. You can also ask the DMO if they are willing to post or share reviews with your customers. DMO’s are often hungry for content and it is their mandate to support touring and travel in the destination. Keep in mind you will likely need to be a member of the tourism organization.
Don’t forget about responding to positive reviews and knowing how to respond to negative reviews. Make sure that your profiles on these directories are setup to notify you of reviews. This way you will be able to see them right away and respond to them. If you have a poor review – don’t panic! This is a great opportunity for your business to show it is run by humans and that you care. Respond quickly, and, if you can find a solution, offer it.
There are many ways to collect valuable reviews for your tour company. As always, every company is different and requires a different mix of these suggestions. Try to follow up with anyone that leaves a testimonial or review with a thank you. Remember, nearly 9 out of 10 consumers are looking for and reading reviews about your company. Make sure they can find them!