Whether you run a hotel, restaurant, resort, rental property, or entertainment center, you already understand the fierce competition and unique pressures of this sector.
Additionally, with the changing expectations and demands from customers, individual establishments in this industry need all the help available to enable them to thrive and continue gaining their customers’ trust.
One way they can gain both customer trust and patronage is to collect and display customer testimonials. Businesses can make the biggest impact on potential customers by including their testimonials in strategic places on websites – where they matter the most.
However, although collecting and displaying testimonials can maximize your online visibility and marketing efforts, there’s a method to making them work for you.
A winning testimonial requires more than just putting some text or a nice-looking video together. Specific elements are necessary for an effective testimonial.
Let’s briefly compare two customer testimonials for a hotel to see why one is effective and the other one could use some improvement:
Guest 1 says –
“I love this hotel! I never want to stay anywhere else! I’m so glad I found this place and I’ll definitely be back in the future!”
Unfortunately, although the above testimonial sounds like the guest actually had a positive experience, it doesn’t quite give your audience any solid information about their experience.
In addition, it says nothing specific about how your services work. On the other hand,
let’s look at what guest 2 had to say –
“Even though we checked in much earlier than planned, the rooms were clean and incredibly cozy, and the staff was accommodating. They put in extra effort to make our stay enjoyable. I will definitely be staying there again whenever I’m in New York.”
Comparing both of these testimonials, it’s clear that the second one will likely get the desired results and engagement, as opposed to the first one. Furthermore, testimonial number 2 used wording that made it sound even more credible.
There are some specific methods for collecting the best testimonials. See our resources and templates:
Now, let’s dive into a few ways that you can use testimonials in any category of the hospitality business.
While every business continually seeks new customers to thrive, keeping current customers happy is a big win as well. Testimonials help to secure customer retention.
Guess what happens when they suddenly come across a testimonial from your company? When a customer hasn’t been in touch with your brand for a while? – It immediately serves as a reminder of how great your services were the last time – and why they should continue to use your services.
Unfortunately, companies will often make the mistake of de-emphasizing the relationship with their current customers when they’re looking to acquire more business and sales,
However, note that the best kind of customers is those that use your services not just once, but again and again. Well-structured and detailed testimonials will help to boost customer retention.
An awesome case study of a company that did the above successfully can be seen in this video from Westgate Resort and Casinos.
Focusing on customer retention via testimonials and instant feedback will help you build a lasting relationship with your customers.
If you were driving past a new hotel and you saw a poster that said: “we have the best accommodation in the state” would that be enough motivation to convince you to spend some days there?
However, if you asked around and an acquaintance mentioned that they had stayed there and thoroughly enjoyed the services, you’d most likely rethink and try the place out.
That’s because hearing that social proof from your acquaintance has built some level of trust in that particular company.
You were able to ask that acquaintance-specific questions and got answers that very likely addressed your concerns. Hearing from someone that you know will always be more authentic than the advertising copy some marketing people put on a poster.
No matter how convincing an advert sounds, it’s paid for and intended to convince you. That’s not the case with your social circles.
Real people aren’t paid to praise a product or service. That’s why prospective customers tend to trust the opinions of past customers. Seeing testimonials from happy previous customers is very likely to turn visitors into hot leads or even customers.
Customer testimonials are a piece of evidence that a hospitality business is delivering certain standards toward and meeting the expectations of its customers. This further indicates that your company is versatile and may be able to satisfy its own unique needs as well.
The fact is, potential consumers, don’t know you. They are basically taking a risk when they spend their money buying your service.
When they come to your website and see all the advertising copy that sounds like every other company out there, what guarantee do they have that everything written on your website is truthful.
If they can find just one testimonial from a past or current customer in addition to your ad copy, that testimonial can impact their trust and buying decision positively. Up to 72% of customers confirm this.
Word of mouth (through testimonials) is even more powerful when your audience considers that the testimonials are given by real people with no profit or hidden agenda tied to their recommendations.
While it can be beneficial to persist when trying to sell a product or service, it quickly becomes annoying.
At some point, all of us have probably encountered a seller that simply refuses to quit. Annoying salespeople aside, people generally dislike being sold to by complete strangers.
Because testimonials focus on the benefits to someone just like them, they stand out to prospects as unbiased accounts of how well your services work.
Essentially, consumers’ attention span is getting shorter, and no one wants to see another impersonal-sounding and formulaic sales pitch. Especially if they recently had a poor experience after trusting what seemed like a fantastic-sounding advert.
Instead of publishing more and more perfectly crafted ads, hospitality companies can utilize testimonials to reach their audience without sounding like pushy salespeople.
In testimonials, your customers use simple everyday words to subtly sell your services on your behalf. These testimonials help you to get their attention first, before launching into glowing descriptions of your services.
People respond better when a testimonial is from someone that has experienced the same things as them. Thus, hospitality companies can use testimonials to connect with their targeted audience.
For example, imagine that you once dined at a restaurant with substandard maintenance. If you see a video testimonial about another restaurant where the customer mentions impeccable restaurant maintenance, that video would immediately grab your attention.
If they further proceed to describe how this new restaurant eliminated the exact discomfort that you faced previously, the chances you’ll want to check things out in this new place are high. When the reviews and opinions are positive chances of both trying the place and leaving a tip in your tip jars are high.
Testimonials can also help you speak to a particular kind of clientele.
If you are a hotelier and your company’s main target audience is an older, more established clientele, try to get testimonials from as many of your current guests that fit this description.
This approach can work with a much younger crowd as well – it can work with any demographic group.
Did you know that up to 43% of consumers use social media to research new brands or products?
With the continuous proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, companies that ignore social media stand the risk of losing out on its immense benefits.
Similar to how testimonials help to build trust, posting testimonials on your social media outlets can get your business dramatically higher visibility and engagement rates.
As a start, active social media management on your part can encourage and enable satisfied customers to tell your prospects what your business has done for them.
Additionally, they’re also telling your prospects what you can now do for them as well. This will save you some of the work and expense of more traditional advertising.
Again, social media engagement works like a prompt and a direct conversation between you and your prospects. There’s no middleman, misinterpretation, or stringent rules to adhere to.
What matters most is responsiveness, transparency, and honesty on your part.
One way to catapult your social media presence to the next level is with user-generated content like testimonials, reviews, and recommendations.
This exchange demonstrates the magic and sheer power of social media interaction.
Interestingly, unlike in decades past, your customers don’t need sophisticated audiovisual equipment to capture their testimonials – a modern, internet-enabled smartphone is usually adequate.
Not only does this save you a lot of time, but it also makes it easy for your happy customers to share their testimonials online with a few clicks in whatever format works best for them (video, text, or audio).
If you’re not leveraging social media in this way yet, you’re leaving money on the table and missing out on a significant audience.
In every industry out there, an active social media presence has become a proven foundation to build deeper customer relationships, convert leads, and form long-term relationships.
Another angle to social media engagement is that it can help your business secure loyal brand ambassadors who’ll talk about your services enthusiastically.
There’s so much noise out there in the business world.
As you endeavor to get your services in front of prospects, so do other hospitality companies. Yet, your business can stand out from the competition and simplify the buyers’ decision-making process by using testimonials.
These testimonials can empower them to relate to the pain points of your other customers. Thus, they can see that your offer is the best solution for them.
Once prospects can consistently trust you, they’ll be confident and more inclined to invest in your product or services. When you win customers this way, the chances are higher that they will keep coming back again and again.
When you want to start collecting customer testimonials, Trustmary is your trusted companion.
This article was written in cooperation with Limble CMMS.
Trustmary is the most effective way to convert more sales by improving digital trust.