In this webinar about how to get 5-star reviews, you will discover:

    • The real reason why most tour companies fail to meet their guests’ expectations
    • How to go about asking for and receiving 5-star reviews
    • Industry secrets to wowing and delighting your guests
    • The TripAdvisor algorithm explained and 3 surprising techniques to climb the rankings
    • The biggest mistake to avoid when responding to your online reviews
      (plus 8 real world best practices from tour companies around the world)

7 Steps to a Steady Stream of 5-star Reviews

Rezdy and Be a Better Guide Workshop

In today’s information age, reviews and feedback are of absolutely paramount importance. For a huge number of people, TripAdvisor is one of the first, if not the first place they look when searching for things to do. If you have a steady stream of 5-star reviews on your TripAdvisor page, you’re going to capture more of the people who are searching around for things to do because they’ll see your activity, see that it’s good and that other people had a good time, and that’s going to make them more inclined towards booking with you.

So how do you go about getting that stream of 5-star reviews flowing?

Step 1: Become a Feedback Fanatic

The ABL (Always Be Learning) approach is beneficial. View feedback as a chance to learn something new from every tour you run. Think about professional athletes – it’s often said that the best players in the NBA are also the ones who work the hardest at being better.

Growth and insights come from three areas: obviously yourself and some self-reflection, co-workers/employers/employees, and most of all your guests. You should be regularly asking for feedback from all three of these groups – after each individual tour if need be.

An example of a good feedback flow from guests is to email them. Ask them ‘would you be comfortable leaving us a 5-star review?’ Option one is ‘Yes, I would love to let people know about my great experience,’ with a link to your TripAdvisor page. Make it as easy as possible for them. Option two is ‘No, but I have feedback to help you make your tour better,’ with a link to a feedback form. You should avoid soliciting feedback in public forums such as TripAdvisor or Facebook because logically you want to avoid people posting negative comments where the whole world can see them. This method lets you still capture the feedback to improve your activity while lessening the chance of negative feedback hurting you.

Step 2: Be Remarkable

Imagine you are driving along through the countryside and there are farms on both sides of the road with cows in the field. They’re just normal cows, nothing really noteworthy about them. Chances are, you won’t pay them much attention. What would then happen if you saw a real, genuine, purple cow? You would probably pull over, take some pictures, talk about it later and show people the pictures.

You want your business to be the purple cow. When we see something that is out of the ordinary or remarkable, we want to share and talk about it. So ask yourself the tough question – is my business actually worth talking about?

Two things that travellers crave are special moments and special people. These are the things they can talk about. To make your activity remarkable, you want to give people access to something they would not normally be able to have, such as unique experiences or the chance to meet unique people – give them the chance to experience genuinely memorable moments that they can talk about. These experiences are the sort of experiences people will leave 5-star reviews about because they get enthusiastic about them.

Step 3: Understand Your Guests’ Expectations

The root cause of a mediocre review is usually that the customer’s expectations were not fulfilled. Either you did not understand their expectations, or their expectations were based on the wrong idea. Expectations are set by many things such as your website, what they have been told by other people, or what other reselling agents might have told them.

So here are the questions to ask:

1. What promises have already been made to my guests?
2. How do I fulfil those promises?

A good place to start is to review ALL communication that you have with your customers. Everything from email correspondence, the information that’s on your website like tour descriptions, travel planners, images and other media, up to phone calls, and existing online reviews. Make sure that you are not over-hyping or over-promising in any of those areas. Unmet expectations will be the biggest barrier to receiving 5-star reviews.

It is also advisable to make a discrete list of things that customers can expect from your tour based on your ideas of what your business is like. This list is useful to share with your guides as a list of things that you know you can deliver on. If there are elements of that list that you are not consistently delivering, either make some changes to the activity to ensure you deliver on them or change your descriptions and communications.

Make sure as well that your pictures are not giving the wrong impression. If you run a brewery tour, for example, and you have photos of a group of people enjoying a beer, people will get the impression that your tour includes the chance for them to taste some beer, and they will likely expect that they won’t have to pay extra for that experience. If it turns out that they do have to pay extra for the tasting, they will feel as if their expectation has not been met.

Shape Expectations

A good way to shape expectations is to have clear and honest communication from the get-go. Making company policies publicly available is a good way to do this. Things like refund and cancellation policies should be available on your website so there are no surprises for your guests. FAQs are another recommended inclusion. Not only does it save you from needing to answer the same questions over and over again, but it shows your customers that you are aware of some concerns they might have and that you have ways to deal with them.

Step 4: Exceed Expectations

Once you have a clear understanding of what your customers’ expectations are, both by reviewing your communications with them and also by shaping them a bit yourself, you need to consider how you can exceed them. People talk abut positive experiences, so if you exceed their expectations, you might not even need to ask them to leave you 5-star reviews.

the ‘Before, During and After’ strategy is a good way to think about exceeding your customers’ expectations. Break down the customer experience into stages of before, during and after the activity and try to anticipate the best-case scenario for them at each stage. That is what you want to aim for.

Wow and Delight Every Step of the Way

Think about delivering value. What can you deliver to your customers that educates, entertains or inspires them? If you run a walking tour of Berlin, for example, don’t just show them a map of where the Wall used to run, but show them where it was, tell them about how the Wall came into existence and the effect it had on people’s lives. Go above and beyond in terms of delivering the information. Share things on your social media feed that enriches your customers’ experience in your city or teaches them something about it they didn’t know. It’s all about delivering that little bit extra so they have that experience they couldn’t have anywhere else.

Step 5: Ask for the Review

It only takes a slightly negative experience to get someone to leave a bad review, but a really positive experience to make them leave a positive review, so if you want to receive a steady stream of 5-star reviews, you either need to consistently deliver the most amazing activity in the world, or you need to ask them. Like we said earlier, asking them in an email is a good way to go about it. Be clear – you are asking them to leave you a review, so make it obvious what you are asking for and make it easy for them to do it.

The Three Most Important Ranking Factors for Online Review Sites

TripAdvisor has three main factors that it uses to rank businesses on their site.

1. Average review score. By far and away the most important metric. Of all the reviews that are left of your business on TripAdvisor, an average score out of 5 stars is calculated and displayed.

2. Quantity of reviews. This is also very important because it speaks to the credibility of your rating. If you have an average score of 5 stars, but it’s from two reviews, it doesn’t look as good as an average rating of, say, 4.2 calculated from 1,000 reviews.

3. Recency of reviews. Recent reviews are weighted more heavily by TripAdvisor’s algorithm when calculating the average. This happens because TripAdvisor is running a business just as much as you are and as such they will reward you for keeping their users active and happy. They want people to be on their site, posting their reviews and providing up-to-date, accurate information because that is what their business depends on.

When a search is made on TripAdvisor, the responses are ranked based on a combination of these three factors. Getting a steady stream of 5-star reviews provides you with a better average, a higher quantity and more recent reviews, which ticks off all three of TripAdvisor’s requirements and means that your business will rank higher on the list.

Using Booking Software to Generate More Reviews

Booking software such as Rezdy gives you the ability to schedule and automate follow-up emails to customers. Since the emails are automated and everyone who attends your activity receives one, you get a steady stream of 5-star reviews coming in.

Everybody wins – TripAdvisor gets more active users on their website which is what they want, and you get a higher ranking on TripAdvisor, which is what you want.

A good idea in your follow-up email is to deliver further value to the customer. This is important because whenever we travel we are constantly being blasted with requests for TripAdvisor reviews. It seems pointless for us to engage with an email that asks us to leave a review for a hotel that already has a million reviews. A way to add value at this stage is to include a link in the email to where any photos you took during the activity have been uploaded, or to include recommendations for other things to do in the area. Be sure to include this information in the subject line of the email so it grabs their attention.

Step 6: Build a Strategic Campaign for Your Reviews

Where should I build my reviews online?

You should try to have a review campaign going for each of your main online forums individually. Which review forum is most important to you? TripAdvisor? Viator? Facebook? If you are asking your customers to leave you a review, ask them to leave it on the one which is most important for you. Every now and then take some time to focus on your other forums, but if you have one particular forum that receives clearly more traffic than all the others, you should focus mostly on that one.

Step 7: Respond to All Reviews

The biggest mistake to avoid when responding to your online reviews is not responding. If you don’t respond to them or you only respond some of the time, you should start responding to all of them. Here’s why:

1. TripAdvisor statistics show that hotels with managers that respond to all reviews have a 24% higher booking rate than those whose managers did not respond. The statistics come from hotels, not tours and activities, but we can safely assume that the principle would be similar.

2. People are less likely to leave a negative or harsh review if they know someone is reading and responding to them. It’s human nature – we don’t like to badmouth someone to their face, so if they can see that someone is responding to all the reviews, they might find a more moderate way to leave their feedback. Responding to all of your reviews doesn’t mean you’ll never get another bad review again, but it does help moderate them.

Eight Rules for Responding to Your Online Reviews

1. Develop a way to monitor your reviews. Either check them yourself each day (or have someone who does), or sign up for review notification services such as reviewtrackers.com. These are good if you have a high volume of reviews coming in each day.

2. Read and follow the guidelines on review sites. If you’re not familiar with them, you could potentially do something that’s considered out of line and you don’t want to be penalized.

3. Respond promptly. This is a habit that should be built into your business. It makes you look conscientious and dedicated if you respond promptly.

4. Say thank you. Regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative, they have taken the time to leave it, so thank them for it.

5. Be original in your reply. Don’t just copy/paste responses to reviews. It’s really obvious when all the reviews are listed together on the page and it shows that you either don’t have the time or don’t have the inclination to respond to reviews.

6. Highlight the positive. If they leave a positive comment, reiterate it in your response. For example, ‘I’m so glad you enjoyed the unique, unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower!’ A bit of shameless self-promotion never goes astray.

7. Address any specific comments that they make. If they give you some constructive feedback, respond to the issues they address.

8. Be polite and professional.

Bonus Tips

It is advisable to avoid using business jargon in your responses. Trying to be super professional all the time can make you come across as dry and lacking personality, especially online where tone of voice does not come across. Write as if you are talking to them face to face.

If you can do it naturally, a pro move is to include SEO keywords in your responses. If getting these words into your response is not possible without making it sound weird, don’t do it, but if you have a bunch of 5-star reviews, try to sneak some of the keywords into your responses. If you can do this, the responses will be indexed by Google and you can make them appear higher up the list of responses and get your business in front of more people.

Respond to as many as possible – good, bad or so-so. It’s not always possible to respond to every single review, but respond to as many as possible and keep your responses short, personal and individually crafted.




get good 5-star reviews




 

Sell your tours on multiple channels

Update your availability across all your channels automatically in one place.


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Join over 30,000 tour and activity professionals on Rezdy

Simon Lenoir, Founder and CEO of Rezdy Online Booking Software
About Simon Lenoir

Simon has over 15 years’ experience as an IT professional. He also has extensive experience in the travel industry from being an around-the-world traveller and managing a dive centre in Southeast Asia for over 3 years. Simon is now dedicated to providing the best online booking solution for tours and activities operators; he is the brains behind Rezdy.Outside office hours Simon is a true activity addict – mountain biking, sailing, swimming, beach volleyball – just to name a few. But most of all he loves diving in Australian waters.

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7 simple steps to quickly get your tour a steady stream of 5-star reviews

, , ,

In this webinar about how to get 5-star reviews, you will discover:

7 Steps to a Steady Stream of 5-star Reviews

Rezdy and Be a Better Guide Workshop

In today’s information age, reviews and feedback are of absolutely paramount importance. For a huge number of people, TripAdvisor is one of the first, if not the first place they look when searching for things to do. If you have a steady stream of 5-star reviews on your TripAdvisor page, you’re going to capture more of the people who are searching around for things to do because they’ll see your activity, see that it’s good and that other people had a good time, and that’s going to make them more inclined towards booking with you.

So how do you go about getting that stream of 5-star reviews flowing?

Step 1: Become a Feedback Fanatic

The ABL (Always Be Learning) approach is beneficial. View feedback as a chance to learn something new from every tour you run. Think about professional athletes – it’s often said that the best players in the NBA are also the ones who work the hardest at being better.

Growth and insights come from three areas: obviously yourself and some self-reflection, co-workers/employers/employees, and most of all your guests. You should be regularly asking for feedback from all three of these groups – after each individual tour if need be.

An example of a good feedback flow from guests is to email them. Ask them ‘would you be comfortable leaving us a 5-star review?’ Option one is ‘Yes, I would love to let people know about my great experience,’ with a link to your TripAdvisor page. Make it as easy as possible for them. Option two is ‘No, but I have feedback to help you make your tour better,’ with a link to a feedback form. You should avoid soliciting feedback in public forums such as TripAdvisor or Facebook because logically you want to avoid people posting negative comments where the whole world can see them. This method lets you still capture the feedback to improve your activity while lessening the chance of negative feedback hurting you.

Step 2: Be Remarkable

Imagine you are driving along through the countryside and there are farms on both sides of the road with cows in the field. They’re just normal cows, nothing really noteworthy about them. Chances are, you won’t pay them much attention. What would then happen if you saw a real, genuine, purple cow? You would probably pull over, take some pictures, talk about it later and show people the pictures.

You want your business to be the purple cow. When we see something that is out of the ordinary or remarkable, we want to share and talk about it. So ask yourself the tough question – is my business actually worth talking about?

Two things that travellers crave are special moments and special people. These are the things they can talk about. To make your activity remarkable, you want to give people access to something they would not normally be able to have, such as unique experiences or the chance to meet unique people – give them the chance to experience genuinely memorable moments that they can talk about. These experiences are the sort of experiences people will leave 5-star reviews about because they get enthusiastic about them.

Step 3: Understand Your Guests’ Expectations

The root cause of a mediocre review is usually that the customer’s expectations were not fulfilled. Either you did not understand their expectations, or their expectations were based on the wrong idea. Expectations are set by many things such as your website, what they have been told by other people, or what other reselling agents might have told them.

So here are the questions to ask:

1. What promises have already been made to my guests?
2. How do I fulfil those promises?

A good place to start is to review ALL communication that you have with your customers. Everything from email correspondence, the information that’s on your website like tour descriptions, travel planners, images and other media, up to phone calls, and existing online reviews. Make sure that you are not over-hyping or over-promising in any of those areas. Unmet expectations will be the biggest barrier to receiving 5-star reviews.

It is also advisable to make a discrete list of things that customers can expect from your tour based on your ideas of what your business is like. This list is useful to share with your guides as a list of things that you know you can deliver on. If there are elements of that list that you are not consistently delivering, either make some changes to the activity to ensure you deliver on them or change your descriptions and communications.

Make sure as well that your pictures are not giving the wrong impression. If you run a brewery tour, for example, and you have photos of a group of people enjoying a beer, people will get the impression that your tour includes the chance for them to taste some beer, and they will likely expect that they won’t have to pay extra for that experience. If it turns out that they do have to pay extra for the tasting, they will feel as if their expectation has not been met.

Shape Expectations

A good way to shape expectations is to have clear and honest communication from the get-go. Making company policies publicly available is a good way to do this. Things like refund and cancellation policies should be available on your website so there are no surprises for your guests. FAQs are another recommended inclusion. Not only does it save you from needing to answer the same questions over and over again, but it shows your customers that you are aware of some concerns they might have and that you have ways to deal with them.

Step 4: Exceed Expectations

Once you have a clear understanding of what your customers’ expectations are, both by reviewing your communications with them and also by shaping them a bit yourself, you need to consider how you can exceed them. People talk abut positive experiences, so if you exceed their expectations, you might not even need to ask them to leave you 5-star reviews.

the ‘Before, During and After’ strategy is a good way to think about exceeding your customers’ expectations. Break down the customer experience into stages of before, during and after the activity and try to anticipate the best-case scenario for them at each stage. That is what you want to aim for.

Wow and Delight Every Step of the Way

Think about delivering value. What can you deliver to your customers that educates, entertains or inspires them? If you run a walking tour of Berlin, for example, don’t just show them a map of where the Wall used to run, but show them where it was, tell them about how the Wall came into existence and the effect it had on people’s lives. Go above and beyond in terms of delivering the information. Share things on your social media feed that enriches your customers’ experience in your city or teaches them something about it they didn’t know. It’s all about delivering that little bit extra so they have that experience they couldn’t have anywhere else.

Step 5: Ask for the Review

It only takes a slightly negative experience to get someone to leave a bad review, but a really positive experience to make them leave a positive review, so if you want to receive a steady stream of 5-star reviews, you either need to consistently deliver the most amazing activity in the world, or you need to ask them. Like we said earlier, asking them in an email is a good way to go about it. Be clear – you are asking them to leave you a review, so make it obvious what you are asking for and make it easy for them to do it.

The Three Most Important Ranking Factors for Online Review Sites

TripAdvisor has three main factors that it uses to rank businesses on their site.

1. Average review score. By far and away the most important metric. Of all the reviews that are left of your business on TripAdvisor, an average score out of 5 stars is calculated and displayed.

2. Quantity of reviews. This is also very important because it speaks to the credibility of your rating. If you have an average score of 5 stars, but it’s from two reviews, it doesn’t look as good as an average rating of, say, 4.2 calculated from 1,000 reviews.

3. Recency of reviews. Recent reviews are weighted more heavily by TripAdvisor’s algorithm when calculating the average. This happens because TripAdvisor is running a business just as much as you are and as such they will reward you for keeping their users active and happy. They want people to be on their site, posting their reviews and providing up-to-date, accurate information because that is what their business depends on.

When a search is made on TripAdvisor, the responses are ranked based on a combination of these three factors. Getting a steady stream of 5-star reviews provides you with a better average, a higher quantity and more recent reviews, which ticks off all three of TripAdvisor’s requirements and means that your business will rank higher on the list.

Using Booking Software to Generate More Reviews

Booking software such as Rezdy gives you the ability to schedule and automate follow-up emails to customers. Since the emails are automated and everyone who attends your activity receives one, you get a steady stream of 5-star reviews coming in.

Everybody wins – TripAdvisor gets more active users on their website which is what they want, and you get a higher ranking on TripAdvisor, which is what you want.

A good idea in your follow-up email is to deliver further value to the customer. This is important because whenever we travel we are constantly being blasted with requests for TripAdvisor reviews. It seems pointless for us to engage with an email that asks us to leave a review for a hotel that already has a million reviews. A way to add value at this stage is to include a link in the email to where any photos you took during the activity have been uploaded, or to include recommendations for other things to do in the area. Be sure to include this information in the subject line of the email so it grabs their attention.

Step 6: Build a Strategic Campaign for Your Reviews

Where should I build my reviews online?

You should try to have a review campaign going for each of your main online forums individually. Which review forum is most important to you? TripAdvisor? Viator? Facebook? If you are asking your customers to leave you a review, ask them to leave it on the one which is most important for you. Every now and then take some time to focus on your other forums, but if you have one particular forum that receives clearly more traffic than all the others, you should focus mostly on that one.

Step 7: Respond to All Reviews

The biggest mistake to avoid when responding to your online reviews is not responding. If you don’t respond to them or you only respond some of the time, you should start responding to all of them. Here’s why:

1. TripAdvisor statistics show that hotels with managers that respond to all reviews have a 24% higher booking rate than those whose managers did not respond. The statistics come from hotels, not tours and activities, but we can safely assume that the principle would be similar.

2. People are less likely to leave a negative or harsh review if they know someone is reading and responding to them. It’s human nature – we don’t like to badmouth someone to their face, so if they can see that someone is responding to all the reviews, they might find a more moderate way to leave their feedback. Responding to all of your reviews doesn’t mean you’ll never get another bad review again, but it does help moderate them.

Eight Rules for Responding to Your Online Reviews

1. Develop a way to monitor your reviews. Either check them yourself each day (or have someone who does), or sign up for review notification services such as reviewtrackers.com. These are good if you have a high volume of reviews coming in each day.

2. Read and follow the guidelines on review sites. If you’re not familiar with them, you could potentially do something that’s considered out of line and you don’t want to be penalized.

3. Respond promptly. This is a habit that should be built into your business. It makes you look conscientious and dedicated if you respond promptly.

4. Say thank you. Regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative, they have taken the time to leave it, so thank them for it.

5. Be original in your reply. Don’t just copy/paste responses to reviews. It’s really obvious when all the reviews are listed together on the page and it shows that you either don’t have the time or don’t have the inclination to respond to reviews.

6. Highlight the positive. If they leave a positive comment, reiterate it in your response. For example, ‘I’m so glad you enjoyed the unique, unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower!’ A bit of shameless self-promotion never goes astray.

7. Address any specific comments that they make. If they give you some constructive feedback, respond to the issues they address.

8. Be polite and professional.

Bonus Tips

It is advisable to avoid using business jargon in your responses. Trying to be super professional all the time can make you come across as dry and lacking personality, especially online where tone of voice does not come across. Write as if you are talking to them face to face.

If you can do it naturally, a pro move is to include SEO keywords in your responses. If getting these words into your response is not possible without making it sound weird, don’t do it, but if you have a bunch of 5-star reviews, try to sneak some of the keywords into your responses. If you can do this, the responses will be indexed by Google and you can make them appear higher up the list of responses and get your business in front of more people.

Respond to as many as possible – good, bad or so-so. It’s not always possible to respond to every single review, but respond to as many as possible and keep your responses short, personal and individually crafted.




get good 5-star reviews




 

Sell your tours on multiple channels

Update your availability across all your channels automatically in one place.