There is no denying that the tourism industry has taken a hit during the past year. Many people refrained from travelling and opted to stay in compliance with government advisories and as a way to keep themselves safe. These measures are great for protecting public health, but it definitely has an impact on the economy.
Tourism has been particularly affected because of the limited movement and reduced spending power of potential customers. Because of this, business owners like you should be taking much-needed steps in order to get a share of the pie. Reviews can help you get your business going. Read on to know how these can help.
The Current State of the Tourism Industry
The pandemic caused a lot of trouble for the tourism sector in 2020. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, there is a significant drop in international tourism revenues with a loss of $1.3 trillion. Countries dependent on travel, like the Maldives and the Bahamas, also saw a tremendous decrease (-67% and -78%, respectively). The public health crisis also affected the jobs of those working in travel and tourism.
In the United States, the total spending decreased to $679 billion (42%) compared to 2019 figures. The economy also saw a cumulative loss of $492 billion from March to December 2020. Plus, it caused tax revenue losses amounting to $64 billion.
The good news is that traveling and tour has the potential to see an improvement this year because of the vaccine rollout. In fact, just this July, travel spending has amounted to $98.5 billion, which shows an improvement compared to earlier months in 2021. A good portion of the population (77%) is more willing to travel.
As the willingness to travel holds fast, tourism businesses may see an increase in their sales. One problem that may arise is that many of these businesses may want to cash in on this impending revival.
The Importance of Reviews
Given the information above, tourism business owners may need to step up their marketing game in order to have a chance at increasing their sales. This is where reviews, a vital aspect of digital marketing, come in.
For customers, reading glowing reviews about a tourism business they are considering is always a great thing. Look at it this way: when looking for a new restaurant, for example, you look for ones that get positive feedback. You probably read through reviews looking for things you find important. Say you want superb service, a laid-back ambiance, and of course, good food. You might also sift through comments in the resto’s social media accounts to know more.
Now, imagine reading a review saying that the place is unsanitary. Perhaps, you found a comment saying that the food is so-so. You might want to look for other restaurants to go to.
In short, reviews can help give you some perspective. Your customers are likely to be looking for similar sources of information. These are first-hand accounts from customers who actually availed of your offerings. These play a huge role in convincing casual visitors to pay for your tourism service, thus increasing your sales.
Moreover, reviews are an integral part of your online reputation. They can influence how your target market sees your business. Marketers use reviews to manage the online reputation of their clients.
How Tourism Businesses Can Increase Reviews
The thing is only a handful of customers tend to leave ratings, let alone detailed reviews. As a tourism business owner, you want to increase the number of reviews you receive. Here are some of the best practices that can help you get more reviews for your business.
Get More Sales
It goes without saying that you need to get more sales in order to get more reviews. The question here is how do you get more sales? Your digital marketing strategy can be the key, especially as online platforms are your main avenues for now.
One thing every business should focus on is their website content and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. There are a few ways your customers can find out about your business: through paid ads, recommendations, and through web searching,
Paid advertisement is a great way to start and so are recommendations from friends or influencers. However, you should remember that most people start looking for tourism businesses by doing a web search. If they want to travel to Las Vegas, they will probably search for “Las Vegas tour packages” or “Las Vegas tours.” You want to make sure that your website appears when they do so.
SEO can help you achieve this goal. Optimizing your website to be readable, navigable, and accessible is the first step. Then, you want to include these keywords in your pages to make sure that they are found, indexed, and associated by Google’s algorithm with related queries. Including them in metadata and other content is also a great practice.
Highlight the Importance of Reviews
As a business owner, you know that reviews are important in raking in more customers. Customers probably know this, as well, which is why they look for feedback from other customers when making decisions. However, they do not realize how big of an impact it has on the business, which is why some of them fail to make sure to leave reviews.
You want to further highlight the importance of reviews even before they avail of your services. There are several ways to do this. One of the best ones is to have a section at your website’s homepage showing off glowing reviews from customers. This includes real names along with their comments. Seeing this immediately shows off the reputation you have among customers, which can influence your target market’s perspective.
Placing a rating section on the page for a specific service could help. For example, if you offer tour packages, you might want to place reviews and ratings at the bottom of the page, which prospective clients can check out.
Connect Other Platforms
You want to make sure that your customers have other resources to look for more feedback. They might want to look beyond your website and check out what people say about you on social media. They probably want to look at what people say in the comments section. Plus, this can give them an overview of how you interact with your audience.
You should make it easier for them by connecting other platforms on your website so they can simply click on the links.
Don’t Be Shy to Follow Up
Given that many customers do not leave reviews, you want to make sure that they are made aware of the fact that it is important to you. Prompting them to leave a rating is a good thing. You can try sending a follow-up message or email saying, “Enjoyed your tour? Leave us a review!”
Aside from simply soliciting feedback, you can also try a more customer-centric approach. You can say feedback matters to help make improvements in your service. This is a good way to show how important reviews are to you. There are different ways to follow up and you do not have to be shy about it.
Give them a Reason to Leave Good Reviews
The reason people leave feedback is that they have something to tell other potential customers. Often, they want to say something bad to warn others about their bad experience because that is a compelling reason to leave reviews.
It is important that you give them a reason to leave positive ratings by making sure that the service is superb, flawless, and as good as it can be. Most of the time, people who have great experiences want to express their gratitude by letting other people know how good the service was.
Many people are more inclined to leave reviews when offered an incentive. Say, you already sent follow-up emails to prompt them to rate your service but it failed to garner results. For your next attempt, why not include a reward of some sort?
You might want to offer a small discount or perk for customers who go out of their way to leave ratings and comments. This creates a two-way street in which both parties and benefit. Plus, you are increasing the chances of reviewers becoming repeat customers.
Respond to Reviews Accordingly
Lastly, your reputation rests not only on what customers say about you but also on how your business interacts with people on the internet. You want to make sure that you respond appropriately and on-brand in order to maintain good perception and strengthen your brand.
Your best bet is to respond to both good and bad reviews. For positive ratings, thanking them for their patronage and mentioning a reward is a great way. For negative ratings, responding graciously, acknowledging the situation, promising to improve the service, and offering compensation can bring them back to you.
It may take the tourism industry to nurse its health back to pre-pandemic levels. You can start your business’ recovery by implementing the right digital marketing strategies and getting more reviews with these simple techniques.