It is not enough to just post nice branded photos and write the perfect description for your hotel. Everyone will read your reviews before booking a stay. Some might even go through your online reviews with a fine-tooth comb. Therefore, having authentic reviews from customers is crucial in getting those bookings to fly in. The CEO of Tridea, Marko Filenius, and Trustmary’s Junior Growth Marketer, Chadi El Husseini, go over the importance of reviews in the travel industry. This article summarizes the main points discussed in the podcast, but you can listen to the whole thing and watch the webinar recording from the links below.
Marko Filenius is the CEO of Tridea. In addition to running Tridea, he is an IT professional that has almost 30 years of experience under his belt. Before working with the travel industry, he worked in several industries including media, telecommunication, and retail.
Filenius is passionate about running Tridea, which is a software company based in Jyväskylä, Finland. The company’s aim is to provide business owners and managers with the crucial information they need to make better decisions.
They have built a tool called BisLenz, which is essentially a digital analytics and reporting service. In other words, it is a business intelligence tool. It helps businesses develop their customer experience by bringing all of their customer experience data to one place.
– Tridea uses APIs to import the data, so we can ensure that the data is as accurate as it is in the original source, Filenius explains.
Thanks to Filenius’ wide experience both in digital environments and many industries, he is very aware of the importance of having online reviews in the travel industry.
Now that the COVID-19 crisis is cooling down, and people have started to travel again, having raving reviews on your hotel or Airbnb is absolutely critical in getting it booked.
You only need to think about the way you book your holidays to understand the importance of having recent customer reviews and an overall good star rating.
If you are planning a trip, you go online and start finding dozens of options to choose from starting from flights, accommodation, and activities once you get there. They all promise to be the best and highlight their best aspects with branded pictures and awesome-sounding descriptions.
Those things lure you in, but then you look for something you can rely on – customer reviews. Filenius recently had a family vacation in Spain where he was once again reminded of how important customer reviews are
– There are so many alternatives to choose from in terms of accommodation. They all promised the time of our lives, but I wanted to know what the places were really like, so I read the reviews, Filenius states.
He found two aspects important: The contents of the reviews and that there were reviews available in the first place. Not having any reviews can often be seen as suspicious.
– Not having any reviews raises questions: Is this such a new establishment that there are no reviews yet or whether they needed to list this as a new place since its reviews were so bad, he goes on.
Filenius emphasized that the quantity and quality of the reviews matter greatly in the travel industry. They function as the voice of the customer and increase trust in the service provider.
Simply put, reviews are relatable content for the person planning to travel to that same destination. Potential visitors want to know whether the place is as promised or if the rooms are messy, breakfast is not up to standards, and the pools are out of order.
As there are many third-party platforms people can use to leave you a review, you need to stay active on all of them. These can range from Google and Yelp reviews to Tripadvisor reviews, to name a few.
– Responding to each review is very important. A simple thank you can go a long way, Filenius says.
Here are three tips from Filenius on how to respond to customer reviews:
Just by following these simple steps, you can see a huge impact on your bookings.
Filenius described a concrete case, where he himself booked a cottage when he saw that the owner had responded to a review complaining about the place not having enough beds.
– The owner replied to the review by thanking them for the feedback and said they had fixed the issue by bringing in another couch to sleep on. It convinced me that there were, in fact, enough beds for us to sleep in. And so I booked it for us, Filenius says.
– At the end of the day, you are engaging with your customers by answering their reviews. This will show any potential customers that you care about your customers.
As there are so many sources you can have reviews on, it is recommended to have a review managing software in use. They are great for staying on top of all of the online reviews you have.
Thanks to the pure abundance of travel destinations and accommodations online, people can feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of alternatives.
It is not uncommon to filter, for example, hotel search results with star ratings. Filenius sees that third-party sites, such as Booking.com and Expedia, play a huge role in what consumers choose to book. Furthermore, they can be hard to get traffic from, if you are a small business owner.
– Smaller companies can struggle a lot with the basics. That is problematic both for these smaller businesses and the consumers as well, because technology might prevent small companies to get to the top of the search results, Fileniues clarifies.
He also mentions that consumers tend to use multiple channels when they share and look for travel experiences nowadays. The customer journey might not be as straightforward as you first might think.
– People might first read a blog post, scroll posts from a specific location on social media, and only then go to a third-party booking site or even directly to the hotel’s own website, he explains the process.
Filenius also mentions that specific groups of people might share their travel experiences within closed online communities.
This type of social proof in form of digital word of mouth is worth its weight in gold, but it is out of your control.
People have different interests regarding their holidays, so they tend to look for reviews that they can relate to. More importantly, they want to see authentic reviews they can actually trust.
– I think consumers can spot fake reviews easily, Filenius says.
Filenius also thinks that all companies should put emphasis on getting feedback and reviews on a daily basis. It should be an integral part of their processes, as they help companies to improve their business and to get in more business as well.
It is not enough to just say you are best, but to get your customers to do that for you.
Listen to the podcast:
Watch the whole webinar:
Here are the summaries of previous social proof podcasts done in English: