How to Market your 5 Star Reputation for More Direct Bookings
I don’t think anyone can deny that the last couple of years have been very unusual, but I believe that one of the huge victims of what’s been happening has been TRUST. Trust in our governments, institutions and each other.
Even if you’ve only been in this business a short while, the chances are you already have some 5 star reviews that you can put to work for you, to help build and maintain your reputation and your trust.
They make a huge difference to the number of enquiries you receive and the bookings you secure.
When you get a 5 star review, it’s really a lovely feeling, but you should be using your 5 star reviews to promote yourself to build trust and attract new bookings.
Are you leaving them languishing on third party platforms?
Or are you pro-actively using them to spread the word about your property and using them to actively generate fresh enquiries and bookings?
In this article, we’re going to look at how you can easily do this, but first…
Here are some ‘revenue-killing’ problems with the way you’re displaying reviews… (If you’re displaying them at all!)
Which of these revenue killers can you identify on your website?
- All reviews are only on one page.
- No review verification – The decline in consumer trust is partly down to the increase in fake reviews… you need a simple way to show that your guest reviews are genuine.
- Not mobile friendly – This is a huge problem, as many sites are so unfriendly to view on mobile that site visitors just bounce off… if that includes your reviews, they’re wasted
- Static, i.e. not updated – 65.7% of buyers find reviews very valuable when they were written within the past three months. But… only 11% if the reviews are 12 months old.
- No directory icon – People want to know they can trust the source of your reviews. But if they don’t carry an official sign of being verified, how can viewers really trust them?
- No call to action – Your website visitors are busy, distracted and often undecided. But if you invite them to take the next step – e.g. to call or book now – they are far more likely to do so
So how many of those six ‘revenue killers’ are losing you enquiries, bookings and revenue?
What can you do instead?
- Consider adding a widget to your website to automatically display reviews. If you cannot add a widget to your site, make sure you add the review site’s logo and a link to their site from your homepage.
- Ensure you reply with thanks / comments on all new reviews.
- Be careful how you reply to any negative reviews or criticisms. They aren’t the be all and end all, but it can be hard. If you feel the need to reply but are finding it hard to take the high road, write your reply without sending it and sleep on it. Remember that whatever you reply with will be online forever.
- Share any exceptional reviews on social media. Ideally use a screenshot of the actual review to give credibility.
- Add a call to action or share at the bottom of your reviews to encourage others to do the same.
- Keep on top of your reviews to ensure you get new reviews on the top. Old reviews have less impact as quality might have dropped since the last review.
Adding a widget to your website:
One of the best ways to get those 5 star reviews working for you is to have a “widget” on your website that displays your reviews on every page.
Firstly, remember to check with your web design/web development software, as you might be able to get a free one, or you might choose a paid option.
If you are using wordpress, there are a number of WordPress widgets that will automatically display your reviews on your website.
Type “wordpress review plugin” into Google for a collection, we’ve picked two:
- https://elfsight.com/widgets/reviews/ – A collection of widgets connecting to specific review platforms, e.g. Google, Trip Advisor. There is a free version available
- https://www.trustindex.io/ – Pricing from $65 per month, this *review management platform connects all platforms to a single widget.
Wix has the MyReviews App and Squarespace has the Product Review Option.
*Review management systems: Reviews can come in from various sources so it can become quite cumbersome.
If you struggle to stay on top of things, check out some different management tools.
Top review sites:
According to Forbes, a survey by CivicScience found that the top hotel review sites were ranked as follows for most trusted:
- Tripadvisor (24%)
- Google (9%)
- Trivago (8%)
- Booking.com (5%)
- Facebook (1%)
Surprisingly, 53% of those surveyed said ‘None of the above’. This is because people find it hard to believe what they read online when it comes to reviews.
But this doesn’t mean you should give up on asking guests to leave reviews; After all, Tripadvisor is used by 463 million people hoping to make the most of their travels each month.