Do customer reviews really matter?
The answer is yes, they do!
With the emergence of online platforms, customers can share their experience with the world in just a few clicks. Nowadays, the reviews are not only found on properties’ websites, but they may also be across the web, from social media to blogs and forums.
There are websites dedicated to customer reviews, such as TripAdvisor and Google my business. All the OTA channels also provide the guests with review platforms which is public to everyone who is looking at your property online. All these sources allow guests to freely give their opinion about the products and services, whether they are positive or negative. These reviews are an asset for any property and can be crucial for the business outreach.
But why are they so important? How can properties use them to their advantage and why should you reply to reviews?
Buying decisions are based on guest reviews. According to sources a high number of consumers across the board, look online for property reviews before making their decision. This already says a lot about the importance of customer reviews and their impact on buying decisions. What matters, even more, is that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from relatives and friends, which is also known as referrals or word of mouth.
Guests wants to relate to the reviewers; they want to hear opinions from people who have experienced the product or service. It is their story or experience which makes the reader feel what they felt.
By having reviews relating to your property, being negative or positive, you will know how to improve as well as the advantages of your property to use when promoting your property.
Search engine algorithms consider the importance of guest reviews. A high number of guest reviews indicates that your property is legitimate and reliable. Your search engine rank will improve if you gain more positive guest reviews. The search engine algorithms are just that, an algorithm used by search engines to rank web pages in their search results. It is a way of measuring the importance of your webpage. The algorithms are set in such a way to believe the worthy of your product or service from people’s opinions. The better your search results, the more potential guests will find your property.
When feedback about a product or service offering is shared on social media, readers may want to look at the brand’s website, in turn increasing the brand’s awareness and visibility.
Feedback on consumer review sites can also impact the number of views of your own site.
Let us take the example of a hotel on TripAdvisor. This site allows travellers to rate hotels they visited, in general, and on different aspects of it (cleanliness, location, value etc.). They can also leave free-form comments. If a hotel is highly rated by travellers, it will appear higher in the ranking of all hotels in the city, leading to TripAdvisor users visiting the hotel’s website first.
It is of utmost importance to respond to all your reviews, positive or negative. This will in turn show the reviewer, future guests, and the algorithms that you are committed to customer satisfaction. Online reviews should be a two-way stream and therefore interacting and engaging with your guests are important. Responding to your negative reviews online can sometimes turn into positive reviews leaving the guests who posted the original review to either remove the review or respond with a positive. Guests want to feel that their opinions matter and they want to be heard. If you do receive a negative review, make sure you take the time to investigate the matter and respond with constructive but sensitive feedback.
According to a study by TripAdvisor, properties who have responded to all their reviews received more reviews and their ratings increased.
To conclude, building and maintaining a review response strategy is a great way for properties to improve their SEO and be found when guests are looking to travel.