Most online review sites, including BusRates.com, provide the opportunity for companies to reply directly to submitted reviews. This is a public exchange visible to all future customers. A charming dialog between a happy customer and a travel supplier can help to encourage return business, but how should companies handle negative reviews?
Studies show, even if you had an impossible-to-please customer, engaging in conversation can bode well for future clients. According to a Forrester report regarding travel planners, it was revealed that when deciding between 2 hotels, 65% of people say that seeing a management response would sway them to book with the responding hotel.
Granted, a response to a negative review requires some finesse. Andrew Shotland, a contributor for SearchEngineLand.com, shares five tips for responding to customer reviews in order to turn lemons into lemonade. Also check out our round-up of BusRates.com-specific tips for replying to negative reviews that we published last year.
Product and service reviews also populate social networks: 40% of personal travelers and 46% of business travelers take to social media to share travel experiences (Think Insights, Google). Younger travelers who’ve grown accustomed to social media, particularly those aged 30 and under, statistically place a greater emphasis on others’ online evaluations. Of this demographic, 32% say they would not even consider purchasing travel accommodations without referencing others’ opinions.
Keep your feelers out on social networks to find individuals or groups talking about your business. Particularly, ensure you reply to all conversations submitted to your company profiles, as these messages are often public for all curious users. BazaarVoice, a company that provides a technology platform for unifying online product discussion, examined how conversations over social media can affect businesses, as well as how non-responsiveness can be destructive. Read the white paper here, which contrasts how baby boomers and millennials differ in reception to marketing and advertising.
Online reviews, whether positive or negative, help drive conversion and page views. They have been shown to increase loyalty and purchase satisfaction.
For BusRates.com, they help bring new visitors to BusRates.com and encourage them to visit again, funneling more traffic to listed companies. For an example of the permanence and popularity of online reviews, click to enlarge the infographic highlighted above, which summarizes the positive, negative and business role of online reviews.