With any tourism-based business, it’s no secret that exceptional guest experiences lead to a great business reputation. Perhaps the most important part of building your business’s reputation is collecting online reviews, especially on a tour comparison site like TripAdvisor.
Not only do positive reviews help to promote your brand, but they also drive decision-making for potential guests. And with more competition than ever, glowing and genuine reviews are one of your tour business’s most important resources.
However, it can be tricky to ensure guests share their feedback, no matter how incredible their experience was. And most travelers won’t be compelled to write a review unless they had a truly exceptional or terrible experience.
That’s why your guests should be encouraged to leave reviews throughout different stages of their experience and with a variety of prompts.
Let’s explore three key strategies for getting more online reviews and the many ways you can implement these strategies.
How to Increase Tripadvisor Reviews
You can do three main things to get more tour operator reviews: ask your guests, engage with the traveler community and network with tourism partners.
This will increase your business’s exposure to a wide range of guests and therefore, will increase the chance of receiving online reviews.
Ask your guests for Tripadvisor reviews
The best way to get more online reviews is by asking customers for feedback, directly. Often, travelers will be happy to leave a review if they’ve enjoyed a positive experience.
But when guests don’t post a review, it’s usually because they’ve been busy enjoying their holiday, travelling back home, or aren’t focused on posting about their experience after the fact.
One way to navigate this is to let guests know how valuable their feedback is to you and to ask them for their insight in multiple ways.
Below, you’ll find a handful of effective yet simple ways you can prompt your guests to leave a review:
1. Use a QR code
Putting a QR code on your business card or tour pamphlet can encourage guests to leave a review immediately following their experience.
A QR code creates a direct link on their mobile device and can facilitate a faster response time than if a guest waited to return home before sharing their thoughts.
The convenience of having the link available while the experience is fresh in their mind will provide the best opportunity for genuine feedback. Plus, guests can share the QR code or link with other travellers who may also want to share their own review.
2. Post-experience email communications
Reaching out to your guests after their experience to thank them and ask for feedback is important. Email outreach is key for connecting with your guests. Plus, it provides you with an existing communication channel to prompt them to leave a review.
Write your email templates in a way that feels personal to your quests, keep it concise, and provide a direct link to your TripAdvisor page or website.
Another efficient way to reach out to your guests is through SMS text messages. Since guests often have mobile devices handy, text messages are useful for thanking your guests and asking for a review, ideally with a direct link to your TripAdvisor page or website.
When crafting your post-experience communications, the key to asking your guests for reviews is to make the overall review process as easy as possible while expressing gratitude for their support.
3. Send a ‘thank you’ video
Personalized communication can improve your chances of receiving a review. Add a video to your post-tour emails and guest messages to expand your post-experience check-in.
Create a short (under one minute video) saying thank you, adding something unique that happened during their tour, using guest names if possible, and lastly, asking for a review. And, a personalized touch shows your guests that you truly care about providing an exceptional experience and will encourage them to spend a few minutes sharing their feedback.
To take things further, you can also explore video marketing testimonials, when requesting reviews from your guests. Since consumers tend to trust video testimonials even more than written ones, if this is something you have the capacity to dedicate more time towards it can be worth the additional effort.
4. Conduct a survey
Another great way to receive more tour operator reviews is to give your guests a tour feedback survey. Surveys allow guests to share extra-specific details about what they enjoyed (or didn’t) about their experience.
Why is this? A survey allows your guests to be open and honest for a few reasons. The first is that the survey is between just them and you – no one is within earshot or can see their name on your social media, so they may feel more comfortable being candid.
Guests are more likely to complete the survey on their terms, so they have time to highlight their experience in full detail. Lastly, visitors will have time to further process and assess whether your business provided an experience aligned with their expectations.
And while you can ask guests to leave a review outlining their feedback, it can be easier for both you and your guests to send a survey. They might not know what to say, so by prompting them with questions instead, you will make it quick and simple for them.
Engage with your community
Building a community of former guests, local partners, and travellers interested in your destination is important. Investing time to get to know your network can promote word-of-mouth recommendations, which will increase guest bookings, and, ultimately, lead to more online reviews.
5. Interact on social media
There’s no doubt that social media is an influential tool, available to businesses and consumers alike. Be sure to engage with your community on social media to maximize your reach.
An active presence online can provide past and prospective guests with familiarity and a deeper sense of trust while creating a loyal community. Engaging with your audience online means responding to comments and questions while maintaining a consistent presence.
Not only can your guests share reviews on your social media platforms, but you can link directly to your TripAdvisor page to encourage more guests to share their own insights.
Consider highlighting reviews on your social media pages with an image and quote from guests. This tactic can effectively remind recent guests to write reviews while encouraging visitors to consider booking an experience.
Even if you don’t use it regularly, social media is a powerful tool for requesting and showcasing online reviews.
6. Activate comments on your website
As prevalent as social media is, some guests may not use it or may not think to search for reviews on social channels. Your next best community-building resource is your website.
Consider activating comments on your website to create opportunities to engage your guests directly. From asking questions about the experience to sharing personal feedback, your guests can connect with other guests through your tour business website.
Visitors and prospective guests will see that you are invested in your guests’ experience every step of the way.
7. Offer incentives
An interesting and engaging way to encourage more reviews is by incentivizing review submissions. Offer to share a portion of the tour cost with local charities if your guest leaves a review – many travellers will choose to leave a review if it helps benefit a local cause.
You could also consider partnering with other local tourism or hospitality businesses by offering a discount to a local partner with review submission.
An alternative option is to offer a discount on another one of your tour experiences. No matter how you encourage reviews, your guests will jump at the chance to support local organizations while sharing their feedback.
Take community building further by networking within the tourism industry. Increased familiarity within the travel and tourism industry helps to promote your business and increase trust.
To actively network within the tourism space, take advantage of businesses and products that connect your company to travellers. Some of the most beneficial networking opportunities include:
8. Online directories
Tripadvisor is one of the key tour comparison sites that travellers use when choosing their tourism experiences. From travel advice to testimonials and reviews, tour comparison sites provide travellers with the information they need to make decisions.
If you haven’t done so already, search for your tour company on Tripadvisor and Google and “Claim” your listing. This will allow you to add descriptions, photos, and links to your website and booking page.
Claiming your listing will also give you some control over your reviews. In fact, you may already have reviews waiting for you. And in this case, you can ‘claim’ the page and add more details, including photos, detailed tour descriptions and a link to your website.
Using email to increase your Tripadvisor ranking
There are many ways to improve TripAdvisor ranking. And one of which is utilizing Review Express, a convenient tool that allows you to send review requests to your guests with branded emails.
While this does involve some extra work, you’ll find that implementing this tool enables you to streamline your email communications and ask for reviews directly through the platform. You can learn more about using this helpful tool by checking out TripAdvisor’s Review Express guide.
You can respond to reviews directly on TripAdvisor as well. To do this, ensure that your profile is set up to notify you of reviews. This way, you will be able to see them right away and respond to them promptly. If you have a negative review – don’t panic! Negative reviews provide a great opportunity for your business to show that your top priority is providing incredible experiences. Respond as soon as you are able, with empathy and a solution.
There are many other directory and review sites available to tour operators. We highly recommend reaching out to other local tourism businesses to determine which directories may be relevant to you.
Your local Destination Marketing Organization (DMO)
Many cities have a local Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) responsible for promoting a location as an attractive travel destination to prospective visitors. DMOs are often hungry for content highlighting touring and travel in the destination.
Consider contacting your local DMO to inquire whether they survey guests about their tour experiences or are willing to share some of your reviews with travellers. Cross-promotion can be beneficial and help to position you in front of more visitors. Remember that you will likely need to be a member of the tourism organization.
DMOs are always on the lookout for local, reputable tour operators and are happy to point guests toward great experiences — so make sure you’re one of them.
Of course, consistent effort will pay off by taking action towards increasing your TripAdvisor reviews.
Ensure that any profiles you have in these directories are set up to notify you of new reviews. It’s key to being able to respond promptly. And, if you receive a poor review — don’t panic.
Your response is a brilliant opportunity to show that real people run it and that you care. Respond with empathy, address the facts and aim to offer a solution or way of smoothing things over with the guest who shared their feedback.
Between cultivating a community to networking and choosing a handful of methods from this list above, you’ll be better equipped to encourage guests to leave your tour business online reviews.
Building a strong presence on TripAdvisor takes time, but as you develop your brand, your positive reputation will drive more guests toward your experiences for years to come.
Looking for more helpful tour operator business tips?
Download our guide on managing reviews.
And learn how to earn trust online and increase bookings with social proof.