The top travel review sites for tour operators

By Breanna Carey

Business TipsBusiness Tips

A hand scrolling on a tablet

This probably isn’t the first time the top travel review sites have come to mind. After two years of pandemic-induced travel pause, you might be curious about what guests seek when researching their next trip and where they’re looking.  

Whether you’re an established or brand new experience provider, here are the review sites you should cultivate a presence that will help when requesting guest reviews.

And when it comes to the best travel review sites, not only do you need to get reviews, you need to sandwich the tasks that lead to guests leaving reviews altogether. 

Why invest in travel review websites

Some of the best travel review websites rely on travelers sharing their perspectives to help determine tour business rankings.

To maximize your reach, it helps to know which sites to list your business, and thankfully, you only need to be active on a few to do well.

One important element to remember is that you do not have to be everywhere. Instead, you can focus your efforts on one or two review sites you enjoy using, you’ll be better off than spreading yourself thin. 

It starts with knowing how to ask for customer feedback by email. And then, once a guest posts something — learn how to acknowledge it and what to say when leaving a reply to customer positive feedback and also, how to respond to a bad Google review.

Cultivating a strategy for asking for and managing reviews can go a long way in helping your business stand out to travelers and encourage them to book with you.

How to be strategic about reviews 

When looking at where you might want to spend a bit of time, consider some of the more popular travel review sites.

For instance, Tripadvisor might attract a different audience than Google. Still, there’s no harm in being in multiple places to make it easier for those who might be looking for ideas and quick tidbits on what to expect. 

Adding guest reviews directly onto your website and sharing them on social media helps prospective visitors learn what previous guests think of your business. 

While out on tour or wrapping up an experience, mention to guests how helpful it is for them to share a review. Ask them to think about what stands out to them, how the guide makes the experience memorable and whether they would return again.

Being casual yet friendly and direct helps point guests in the right direction, takes some pressure off, and makes guests feel like their insight is appreciated and helpful.

Look for opportunities to become more inclusive 

Make a point to ask families, older travelers and guests with mobility limitations for their feedback to learn whether your tour business did enough to make them feel taken care of.

With more travel options, if you have the capacity to invite more people to experience what you have to offer, try to. Plus, you’ll enjoy the benefit of opening up your tours and activities to new audiences. 

What are the best travel review websites

Many travel review sites are geared toward people looking to book hotels, flights and vacation packages. 

But, as a tour operator, you’ll want guests to leave reviews on sites that also work for your tour and activity business. Of course, it’s even better to focus on websites where you already have a travel business listing. Below are some of the top travel review sites for experience providers.

Google My Business 

google business profile

Google’s platform populates your tour business information when you appear in users’ search results.

Your listing will display your tour business address, phone number, hours of operation and reviews. This online search giant helps experience providers attract reservations from travelers searching for things to do nearby. 

Higher ratings from reviews will increase the chances of people clicking through to your profile. Plus, the benefit for your guests is that they don’t need an account to share a review. Make sure you respond to good and bad reviews within a few days of receipt to gain momentum from Google.

Implementing a policy of a quick response time goes across the board for the top travel review sites. Ideally, if you have a few canned messages at the ready, you can tailor them to reflect a specific guest’s review and save yourself a ton of time in drafting each reply from scratch.

Tripadvisor 

tripadvisor logo

TripAdvisor touts itself to be the world’s largest travel site — while also being a top travel review website. It boasts 570 million reviews for 7.3+ million listings and attracts over 473 million unique monthly active users. Those are some big numbers! 

When thinking about how to get more reviews on Tripadvisor, consider what guests are looking for when they head to the platform. First, images are helpful for guests to have a better sense of what something is like from a traveler’s perspective.

Detailed reviews help travelers decide where to stay, how to travel, activities to book and where to eat. Plus, it’s worthwhile to earn how to improve your TripAdvisor ranking and increase the chances of being seen by more prospective guests.

Since Tripadvisor ranks listings based on quantity, quality, and recency of reviews, it’s in your best interest to direct people to this platform shortly after their experience.

Contributors rate a business on a 5-star scale and can leave a detailed review. Then, fellow Tripadvisor users can vote whether a review was helpful. 

How to Sign Up: Register your business here

Cost to Join: Free to sign up on Tripadvisor. Additional charges apply for a Viator listing, where guests can book through Tripadvisor. 

Expedia Local Expert

Expedia Local Expert Logo

Expedia is an online travel site where you can list your tours and activities. Guests search for activities, lodging, and vacation packages. Their site receives 90 million unique visitors and 1.2 billion monthly site page views.

Expedia verifies each review, and listings are filtered based on popularity. This factors into their 5-star rating system, impacting how listings are shown. Guests can also vote if they would recommend an experience to others.

How to Sign Up: Sign your business up here and explore their FAQ

Cost to Join: estimated costs vary depending on your business

Facebook

facebook logo

A Facebook Business page lets you connect with travelers and increase your online sales. 

It’s also another great place to collect reviews since users have the option to like your page, share with their friends and rate your business by saying “yes”, which they would recommend. 

Previously, Facebook had a five-star rating system and prompted the reviewer to leave comments, but has adopted a recommend or not model since 2020.  Use your page to increase your Facebook recommendations by making it a hub for traveler photos. Guests will be inclined to check the page once they get home and reminisce the memories they created— and hopefully share them with others.

How to Sign Up: Set up your business page here

Cost to Join: Free

Viator

Viator Logo

Viator is another online travel agent and marketplace where travelers can book and rate tours, activities and other experiences. TripAdvisor recently purchased the OTA, which means it will gain access to their 350 million unique visitors per month.

Viator only allows verified users to leave reviews to ensure quality. Guests rate their experience on a 5-star scale and are encouraged to leave comments. Viator lists search results based on popularity.

How to Sign Up: Fill out Viator’s form and learn more here.
Cost to Join: Signing up is free, and they charge a commission on successful sales.

Reviews on Online Travel Agent websites

While OTA’s may not be your typical review site, high ratings can increase your bookings if you sell tours, activities, experiences, etc. on their marketplace. 

When deciding which travel review site is best, focus on platforms you already use to make it easier to integrate into your workflow. You can request and remind your guests to leave reviews. But ultimately, they will only post something on a site that’s easy to use and already in their wheelhouse. 

And when it comes to asking for reviews, the best thing to do is make it incredibly simple for customers. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to get guests to sign up for a new account just to leave a review of your tour business — and they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to share what makes you an amazing company.

Instead, focus on what benefits guests get from sharing reviews. If you can inspire guests to share their feedback because of the extra effort you put in, it’ll contribute to more positive booking experiences for future visitors.

And you can also remind travelers where to leave reviews by displaying platform icons on your website and including hyperlinks in your emails.

Final thoughts 

While on tour, have guides mention how helpful it is for guests to share their experiences. We’re all busy, so the best time to request reviews is when what you’re asking about is still fresh in their minds.  

People appreciate straightforward guidance. And if you can make it seem like they can give you something in exchange for a delightful experience, it’s a mutually beneficial ask that feels good on both sides. 

Over time, you’ll build momentum, gain trust from prospective travelers and enjoy repeat guests. All while receiving reviews reinforcing why you do what you do as you continue to grow your tour business.

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