By Zach Lazarri
Quality reviews from your guests create a booking machine. Use these tips to increase positive reviews across the board.
It’s no secret that customer reviews are critical for driving new business. Statistics show that even mediocre or poor reviews drive more business than no reviews. Ultimately, building a review system that makes it easy for customers to structure, write and submit a positive review will increase the number of reviews showing overall while driving high quality feedback that engages and helps convert new leads.
If you want a five star rating, empower your customer base to share their best experiences through a review process that requires only a few minutes of their time.
Why Reviews Matter
Think about the last time you went on vacation or even the last time you considering eating at a new restaurant. Unless you had a personal recommendation, you were likely scanning business listings and checking reviews. We all do this simply because it makes sense and is an easy way to guide decisions.
Other people are seeking the same level of service and the same experience as you on their trip and their reviews are a reflection of what was actually received. Even a mediocre review can go a long ways to understanding a business when the business owner or manager actually responds to that review and explains what went wrong. Business owners that are proactive on their reviews show that they care about the customer experience and take customer satisfaction seriously.
Whether the customer is looking for a local mechanic or an exotic fishing guide, they will rely on reviews to make their final decision.
5 Steps to Spike Positive Reviews and Drive Bookings
So we know reviews are critical but as a business owner, how do you generate positive reviews with any level of consistency? It’s not as difficult as you think. Customers are happy to give reviews, you simply need to ask and make it easy. If you don’t give them guidance, it’ll simply slip through the cracks.
Start with the Service - Before you expect a slough of positive reviews, you must deliver a high level experience. In many cases, outfitters have been delivering great experiences for years and simply need to catch up in the digital space to attract new business. This is a best case scenario as your loyal base is usually ready to help out. Starting fresh doesn’t hurt either. Always focus on improving and creating a service that people naturally want to review.
Ask Your Existing Clients - Utilize your existing client base to generate reviews. Repeat customers are especially value. They can review the business and let everyone know they’ve been a customer for years because of the great experience. Send out an email to your list and even call the customers you know personally and trust to ask for a review. A few great reviews go a long ways towards booking new business.
Build Templates and Forms - Some customers are willing to review but they aren’t sure what to say. Guide them along with a template or a form on your website. Details play well on review boards. How was the lodging, service and food? Everyone wants to know about the fishing or hunting experience but telling them about the great cooking and comfortable accommodations also helps drive bookings.
Follow Up - It’s not uncommon for a customer to have good intentions but simply forget to submit their review. Shoot them a reminder email or two if needed to help motivate and get their review live.
Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews - You don’t have to respond to every positive review but it doesn’t hurt to say thanks and let people know you enjoyed hosting them at your operation, especially if they have the potential to book again. Respond to every negative review with an explanation. Always be respectful and honest while responding to negative reviews and demonstrate that you are fixing or have already fixed the problem.
Creating and Leveraging Templates
Templates make it extremely easy for your customer to write a review. You can go wild customizing templates but ultimately, they must conform to one or more review sites. Plain text templates that are easy to copy and paste are ideal. Make your template a simple series of questions or directives. The trick here is to make this easy and not be overbearing. An intensive survey style template is less likely to be completed.
Ask questions like:
Questions like this are easy to answer, are somewhat open ended and they don’t really open a window to write anything disappointing like, “I didn’t see the size or quality of animals expected…”
Don’t have time to build a custom template? You can use our Eagle Review template that is tested and proven.
Build an automated, seamless system
Collect an email for every customer you book and put them on your list. A business operating on a low customer base with a high value should consider personally emailing each customer after their trip. Give them a week to travel home and settle back into their routine. Send a thank you email and ask them directly for a review. Add your templated questions and encourage them to use it if desired.
Businesses operating on volume still should collect every email but automating the review request and follow up ensures each customer receives a well timed reminder. Simple schedule and automated campaign to send out one week or so after you input the email address with a sequence of follow ups to remind them about the review opportunities. Many mail server programs offer these automations and make it simple to create and execute semi-custom email campaigns.
Study Other Reviews
One good way to build your templates and setup a review program is by studying existing reviews on Eagle Review. Study the reviews, responses and do your research in general to see what looks good. Driving similiar reviews will help you convert customers. It also means you are competing with the best reviewed businesses around and elevates your game. Study other listings and reviews here.