When it’s time to book a local tour, travelers start where most of us do—the internet. They’re excited about their vacation and research to fill their itinerary with fun local activities. Tour company websites dazzle potential customers with bright imagery and rich storytelling. But the key driver affecting a customer’s decision to book comes down to one thing: online reviews.
As a tour company, a healthy stockpile of positive reviews is great for business. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as a recommendation from a friend. Customers will travel to you from around the globe, so they want to be sure they sign up to do business with a credible and trustworthy company. Implementing a powerful strategy to collect and leverage reviews is one of the most effective ways to give customers confidence, and increase travel bookings for your tour company.
Major trends influencing tour company reviews
Search engines heavily prioritize local businesses when ranking search results, and good reviews are one of the ways their systems weigh the value and quality of your offering. Every review helps build your online presence and increases your business’s visibility. That’s because the first three listings of a Google search get 60% of all clicks. It’s crucial that your tour company occupies one of these three slots to get the visibility and traffic you need to succeed. Here’s how tour companies like yours can implement a review system to increase their search engine ranking and compete in a saturated industry.
How can you generate more reviews for your tour company?
The first step is simple yet sometimes hard to do: ask for a review. Many companies shy away from requesting reviews because they feel pushy, or they worry about what customers will say. Luckily, customers are often times more than happy to share their thoughts—you just have to ask.
That being said, you need to make the review process as easy as possible for customers. A complicated, long process decreases the likelihood that customers will submit a review; it may even annoy them. Fortunately, popular travel sources like Google My Business and TripAdvisor have made this process very easy.
In order to collect more reviews, you must create a Google My Business or TripAdvisor listing. This centralized hub of your key information is where customers leave reviews of their experience. These listings also help customers find your business; they pop up when customers perform local searches like “Boston walking tours” or “San Diego kayak trips.”
Your listing should display your location, website, hours of operation, and contact information. You should also upload high-quality photos of the experiences you provide. Including images helps you stand out from the competition and gives customers a look into what they can expect when they visit you. In fact, Google My Business listings packed with fun, exciting images receive 35% more click-throughs than businesses with empty image galleries.
Once you’ve completed your profile, you can easily begin asking for reviews from customers. Both Google My Business and TripAdvisor provide you with a link you can use to invite fans to write reviews. Here are three easy ways you can use your review link to capture new business and drive an increase in tour bookings.
1. Include your link in a thank you email
Do you send a thank you email to travelers once they’ve completed your tour? Immediately after a customer completes your tour is the best time to solicit feedback. They’re energized by their exciting experience and are most likely to remember the compelling details that will encourage additional bookings. Take advantage of this moment of peak excitement and include your review link in your thank you email. You can even include an incentive in your review request like a discount on each customer’s next booking. This will serve you two-fold as a review generator and customer retention strategy.
2. Display a link on your website
You should include a URL to your reviews page in the footer of your website. This is the best place to include your review link, as customers won’t have to hunt through Contact or About Us pages to find it. The easier you make it for people to leave reviews, the more likely they will be to do so.
3. Leverage an online review system like Podium
Manual processes for capturing reviews can bog down your marketing and/or customer service teams. A platform like Podium Reviews can ease the process by automating many of the steps. An automated process racks up 5-star reviews rapidly by deploying a review link via text message, so it’s right at the fingertips of your loving fans. Better yet, if you’re not sure how to phrase your review request, Podium has a variety of convenient templates to choose from.
If you’ve wondered how your competitors maintain a top three slot on your Google search terms, reviews are part of that puzzle. Give this facet of your digital marketing strategy the attention it deserves to help increase your visibility in search engine queries. The higher you rank, the more likely interested customers will find you and book with your company. So what are you waiting for? Start asking for reviews today so you can improve your SEO and expand your customer base.