Did you know, only 22% of people who write an online review will do so without being asked? Yet, in the tourism industry, where choices are abundant, reviews tip the scale when deciding which tours and activities to book. As a tour operator, collecting reviews has become imperative to gain future guests’ trust and confidence. A study by marketing agency TrustYou in conjunction with NYU revealed that 95% of respondents read reviews before booking travel experiences (PhocusWire), with leisure travelers spending an average of 30 minutes reading reviews before booking. These figures support an even larger scale, with 85% of all consumers reading up to 10 reviews before they feel that they can trust a business (Search Engine Land, 2014).
Understanding the importance of reviews is one thing, but how do you increase reviews as a tour operator? Here are some tips inspired and recommended by tour operators around the globe:
Tap into the five senses
Hear me out - human beings are sensory beings, meaning we take in information using the five senses. When it comes to making a connection, encouraging a guest to leave a review, it can be beneficial to implement at least a few different purposes in your approach. Some guests may connect with a verbal (auditory) reminder at the end of a tour, while others may connect more with a physical card or object they take away. A slogan, jingle, or rhyme could do the trick, or perhaps a polaroid photo sticker you add to a card mentioning review details. For the visual folk, those follow-up emails might count the most. Requesting customer reviews for tours is an area to get creative, think outside the box, and consider creating a layered approach to review reminders.
Make it easy
Remember, leaving a review is an extension of the guest’s experience - it’s imperative to make it as effortless as possible. Including specific information about where to go review, including links, and even asking for detailed feedback can be helpful. On the other hand, people don’t want to think too hard, especially since the entire purpose of their tour or activity was to escape their reality for a short time.
Many tour operators also choose to use automated services as follow-up reminders through booking systems (like Junglebee), TripAdvisor Express, WhatsApp, and more. These services can be a great time saver for your business and ensure the guests are directed to the right place to leave their reviews. However, they can also come across as impersonal to some. For some operators, such as private tours and charters, sometimes taking the extra few minutes to edit an email template in a personalized way is a more sure-fire solution. Overall, having a good understanding of your customer base and company resources will be necessary to decide to use automation or personalization in a follow-up for reviews.
Experiment with Timing
Timing is everything, so they say! The same goes for when to send your requests for reviews - is sooner always better? Or is it best to wait? If so, how long? When polling tour operators on their ideal timing regarding follow-up emails for reviews, we had a large variety of responses from as soon as the tour finishes to one week later. Some argued people have short memories and therefore the day after the tour is best. Others like to give their guests some time to get back home before getting in touch. If you work with a transportation or taxi service, it may be valuable to ask them to remind the guests to leave a review on their way back - some might even do it during the drive. Regardless of the initial timing you stick with, it is worth considering a second follow-up either via the same or a different method.
Offer a digital bonus.
If you view the follow-up and review process as the next chapter of the guest’s experience with you, it can be valuable to take the opportunity to form another connection with them. For example, sending a beneficial or meaningful digital takeaway, such as a freebie (think a local guide), photos of the guests, photos of sights visited during their tour, or even a discount code for future bookings. Again, it creates a positive impact that can tip the urge to review in your favor.
Overall, the key to increasing reviews for your tour or activity company comes down to your willingness to experiment and constantly improve, understanding your customer base, and being consistent. With 2021 data from Condor Ferries showing that 80% of customers who get asked to leave a review will do so, there is good reason to put in the effort to find what works for your company.
To find out more about the tour booking system, Junglebee, and its customizable automated follow-up feature, schedule a 30-minute discovery call with our team or read more about Junglebee's tour booking software and features.