If you’re in the travel and tourism industry, you know the deal: Customers will often blame you for everything that goes wrong during their vacation and rarely thank you when everything goes right. So how can you manage your online reputation?
Listings and reviews are modern versions of word-of-mouth advertising. Most people will check out your business online well before they pick up the phone. Travel listings and travel reviews can make or break how you promote your tourism business online.
In order to gain new customers, it’s crucial to set aside time to claim and manage online listings and reviews. Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses can follow the best practices of marketing professionals to make sure they present themselves in the best light online.
First, you’ll want to claim your listings on the top sites for your industry. Make sure that you include all the necessary information to help people find your business. Then, it’s important to frequently monitor your reviews so you can respond professionally to both negative and positive comments. Finally, to get more positive reviews, you can develop a program to encourage happy customers to share their thoughts online.
By properly managing your listings and learning how to respond to online travel reviews, you’ll be able to grow your business and become a leader in your tourism niche.
Claiming your online profiles
As a travel and tourism business owner, it’s imperative you make sure that all the information listed on review and directory sites is accurate. In order to do this, you must first claim your business profile.
If your business is already listed on a review site, it’s likely because one of your customers did it for you. Often, these customers inadvertently leave out crucial details or accidentally provide inaccurate information. If you don’t claim your business, anyone can post anything about you.
Start by claiming the most important profiles on the most popular listing sites: Google Business Profile, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Facebook.
Google Business Profile
If someone searches for your business on Google, a section appears on the right-hand side of the results page with your company’s information. The information in this search card is pulled from your Google Business profile, and it can be a powerful (and free) method of organic advertising. So make sure to claim, add, or update your Google Business Profile.
When it comes to the travel industry, Yelp is also a popular listing and review site. You’ll want to claim your business profile on Yelp so you have the power to update and correct any information already provided. Claiming your listing also allows you to respond to customer questions and reviews. You can add or claim your listing directly from the search page.
Not only does Tripadvisor gather in-depth opinions about places and activities, it also serves as a way for visitors to learn about businesses in the travel and tourism industry. Many customer leads can come from claiming and maintaining your listing here.
Social media also plays an important part in reaching new customers. If one of your satisfied customers is able to mention you on their Facebook page, you can reach all of their friends for free. To take advantage of this, you must first have a Facebook Business page. Either claim an existing profile for your business or create one. You can create a business page directly from your personal page.
When you claim or create your business page, you’ll also be able to initiate paid advertising campaigns to reach even more people who can benefit from your services.
What to include in a listing
Think of online listings as more robust versions of phone book listings. At the very least, you’ll want to include:
- Correct spelling of your business name
- Your phone number
- Your address
- Accurate business hours, updated any time your schedule changes
But that’s really just the beginning. Next, you’ll want to add:
- Photos of your offered experiences
- A logo, if you have one
- Links to your travel website
- Links to your social media pages
All complete? Keep going. List all the services you provide and add videos of experiences you help book. Fill out the listing completely so your future customers can make informed decisions when they’re considering what tourism company to work with. Don’t forget to double-check your spelling!
While each listing site may be set up differently, you’ll want to stay consistent when claiming and updating your information. Copy-and-paste your business description so there is no confusion for people using more than one site for their research.
Responding to reviews
Once you’ve claimed and properly updated all of your business listings, you’re ready for the most important task: responding to reviews. It’s imperative that you respond to every online review, good or bad. And you need to do it as quickly as possible.
Marketing professionals recommend scheduling time every week to search your listings for new reviews. Consider this outreach work as a way to demonstrate the professional, positive, and friendly values of your business.
If the review is positive, you can simply thank the person for their business and kind words. Tell them you look forward to serving their travel needs again.
If the review is negative, take the high road. This means acknowledging their concerns and apologizing that they were dissatisfied. Perhaps there is a valid reason, which you can explain in the reply. Never make excuses. Offer to further discuss their concerns offline by providing a name and direct phone number they can contact.
While you may not satisfy an unhappy customer, especially if they are blaming your business for something out of your control, you can use the opportunity to show future customers that you care about them and strive to do your best — even in challenging situations.
How to get more positive reviews
It may be part of human nature that people tend to write more reviews when there’s a problem than when everything goes as planned. And yet, those positive experiences are what you want to share with people who are considering giving you their business.
In order to gather more positive reviews, all you have to do is ask. Place signs in your office and add notes on your website requesting customers log on to one of the listing pages you’ve claimed and leave a review.
Add a note on your receipts asking for reviews. Verbally ask satisfied customers when wrapping up business with them. Many email marketing platforms also offer the ability to send automated emails asking customers for reviews after using your travel services.
For an incentive, consider offering a small discount off their next service with you. If they’re happy with your service, many customers will happily spend five minutes helping you grow your business.
Make reviews and listings part of your marketing plan
Managing your listings and reviews should be a regular part of marketing your travel or tourism company. Modern consumers are more likely to trust the reviews of strangers over expensive ads. Still, ads can be an important part of getting noticed. It’s best to have a mix of organic (another word for unpaid) and paid marketing campaigns to grow your business.
Along with scheduling time to manage your online presence, you’ll want to plan other digital marketing efforts. You should certainly have a mobile-friendly, well-designed travel website. You might also consider publishing a regular travel blog to generate articles that can then be posted on your social media pages.
For more ideas about how to stand out from the competition in the tourism industry, check out our free guide to travel and tourism marketing, called The Download. It’s full of best practices and data-driven advice for the best ways to market your travel business online.