Let’s look at the fun topic of requesting reviews and communicating with your guests after the tour. Then, we’ll look at how reviews help build trust and loyalty with your audience without spending extra time on marketing and extra money on marketing.
Why are reviews important?
Often, we think that when you want to compete with the competition, you always have to cut on price and margins. However, this graphic from TripAdvisor shows that it isn't necessarily the number one factor we're going to use when choosing tours and that it's crucial to have great reviews.
Asking for reviews.
The first part is planting the seed with your guests while on tour. It can feel cringy asking for reviews, but a happy guest wants to do something for their tour guide. By asking, you're helping your guest out by telling them how to help you.
Explain to your guests why it's important.
Tell your guests if you’re a new business and trying to get up above the competition. Tell your guests if you are a host and incentivised to get reviews. This lets them know what the impact a good review will have and how important it is to your business.
I promise they’ll be happy to help you and leave those reviews.
Set the intention to get five-star reviews.
Then another tip when asking for reviews is to set the intention to get five-star reviews. Even if your guest has had a fantastic time, they might go and put a four or a four and a half star because they still think that's a good rating. So just set that little intention in their mind when you ask for reviews.
“You know you'll get an email after this tour, asking for your five-star review. So, please go ahead and do that. It's really important to me.”
Use that phrase five-star review - That will plant that tiny seed in your guest's minds.
The other thing you can do on your tour is offer resources that you'll share with guests after the trip. For example, you might want to put together a map of restaurants. Or you might have a self-guided tour that goes into a city location that you don't visit during your guided tour.
For example, when you're sitting at lunch and guests bring up where else they can eat in the city. Great time to tell them you've got a guide on restaurants in the city. You'd love to email that through to those who would like to receive that.
The follow-up to ask for reviews.
So then we've set the intention with our guests during the tour. Now, the crucial part is the follow-up and asking for the reviews. So there are two times that we can do this:
- Directly after the tour, when the experience is fresh in your guests' minds, while they're still raving about what a happy time they've had.
- You also can ask again once your guests are home.
Sometimes guests have an excellent, jam-packed travel itinerary and just don't have time to go ahead and leave that review. Or perhaps they’re detoxing from social media and emails while travelling.
So having another reminder once they're home is important to get those guests who haven't left you the review from your first prompt directly after the tour.
Use templates for requesting reviews.
Even when using a template, it's straightforward to personalise. Two easy ways to do this are;
- Personalise it with people's names.
- Personalise place names.
For example, “When we were sitting having lunch at XYZ restaurant, you mentioned that you wanted other recommendations for restaurants in the area”.
By mentioning that restaurant name and the time you were sitting there, you're making it feel very personalised. This might be a conversation with multiple guests and a conversation you always bring up while at lunch. So you're still making that feel very personalised for your guests.
Email, WhatsApp, Social Media
Then the other important thing to remember when sending these requests or these follow-ups is it doesn't necessarily just have to email. You can also request it via WhatsApp or social media.
Keep in mind to use the platform you've already communicated with your guests. If their initial inquiry came through social media or WhatsApp, you've been planning and confirming the tour, and that's where you sent them the tour confirmation. Don't go and send them an email because they might not be looking for that communication.
Again, you can still use templates for WhatsApp or social media messages. You can have them saved on a doc on your computer. And you just copy and paste them into those messages every time, or if you have the option for a paid tool, then using chatbots for automation can be a great way to gather reviews without manual intervention.
Sharing your resources post-tour.
We talked about having something to share, perhaps a restaurant guide. Another nice thing that you can share with your guests when you're requesting their review once their home is to share a recipe for a meal or a cocktail that's local to the area.
It's a great reason to be emailing them.
“Hi, your home now while you're missing, missing Spain, you might love this recipe…”
The important thing is to ask your guest for a review first, ideally in the top section or first message, as you don't want to lose the guests. They get excited that you've shared this resource, and they don't finish reading your message and seeing that you're asking for the review.
Make it easy for your guests.
One of the most important factors when asking for reviews - Is don't just ask your guests please leave me a review or leave a review on TripAdvisor or Facebook etc.
Then your guest has to take the time to go and search for it.
Make sure that they're on the right platform and find where to leave the review: Send the direct your URL so they can just pick the button and start typing their review.
If you think about when you're using Uber or another ride-sharing app, the request for a review pops up directly, and it makes it easy to leave your five-star reviews.
You might be very active on Facebook, your preferred platform. But not all guests will be using Facebook, or you might be most active on TripAdvisor, and that's where you want your reviews. But not everyone will use that platform.
Ensure that you're giving two or three options so your guest can pick the most suitable one for them.
Get into the routine of asking for reviews.
The more that you ask, the higher percentage you’ll get. So set yourself a specific time and set yourself reminders to do this.
When you receive a tour booking, set up an automatic reminder that goes into your calendar the day after and the month after the tour to ask this guest for a view.
You can use Zapier, your CRM, or various tools to set up these reminders.
It’s essential to stick to a routine, not just when it's low season.
How to use social media to keep connected with your guests
Now, let's look at using social media to keep connected with your guests after the tour has happened.
A great way to do it is to mention social media during your tour. But, of course, the easiest way to do that is when you see your guests are busy taking selfies and posting to Instagram and all the various social media channels as they are doing during the tour.
That's a great and appropriate time to mention it to them.
“Hey, while posting, please make sure that you mentioned us on social media at XYZ tours.” Alternatively, if you are taking photos of your tours, you can suggest that guests follow you on social so they see them when uploaded.
It is important to keep in contact after the date with your guests after the tour. It makes it more likely that your guests will remember you when making future recommendations to friends.
Improving your tour with recommendations
Designing content using guest feedback; for example, guests might mention they found it hard to know when toilet stops were and plan as they had children with them - Great! But, again, this is an opportunity to tweak your content and make sure you present that information more clearly in the future.
By allowing them to write a review after the tour, you'll get more honest feedback. And remember, all of this feedback is good.
So, just get started: You can tweak your strategy and change your strategy.
Continued reading from the Global Guide Summit, learn about Merchandising (what does it mean? How to do it well?)
Let’s talk about increasing your revenues and deepening your customer engagement.