Why Trust is the New Currency in Travel & Tourism

December 14 2023 – 8 minute read

In the ever-evolving travel industry, consumer trust has emerged as a pivotal currency, more potent and valuable than ever before. This is not a hyperbolic statement but one that’s backed by compelling data from sources like Expedia and VRBO, which reveal a landscape where the power of reviews is monumental.

Consider the fact that 92% of travellers insist on perusing reviews prior to booking. This statistic alone cements the importance of customer feedback in the decision-making process of modern travellers. What’s even more encouraging for travel businesses is that a staggering 80% of these reviews are positive, and a mere 4% are negative. 

The implication is clear: Encouraging guests to leave reviews not only increases the likelihood of positive visibility but also substantially boosts bookings.

A Post-Pandemic Reliance on Reviews

In a recent conversation with James Rock of the Expedia Group, he noted the impact of the pandemic on consumer behaviour to be undeniable, with 40% of travellers now placing more weight on reviews than they did in the pre-COVID era. This shift has seen properties with reviews generating 93% of bookings, a figure that cannot be ignored. The emphasis on quality is evident, as properties rated 4.5 or higher have seen their booking percentages increase from 79% in 2019 to 85%. 

VRBO’s findings further illustrate this trend; properties with more than 20 reviews are responsible for 69% of its revenue. This demonstrates a direct correlation between the quantity of reviews and a property’s financial success.

Whether for a short-term holiday or a business trip, the influence of reviews on booking conversions is equally significant. Listings with just one review enjoy a 40% lift in conversion, which skyrockets to 50% with five or more reviews, and an astonishing 80% with 20 or more reviews. The disparity is stark when comparing listings with zero reviews, which average only 0.4 bookings per year, to those with reviews averaging seven bookings. In essence, having at least one review makes a property 13 times more likely to secure a booking.

How to Generate Positive Reviews

Travel companies aiming to garner positive online reviews must first ensure an exceptional and memorable experience for their clients. This begins with understanding the customer’s journey, from the initial search and booking process to the end of their trip. By streamlining these interactions and providing clear, concise information, companies can set a solid foundation for satisfaction. 

Additionally, personalising the experience, such as through tailored recommendations or thoughtful amenities, can leave a lasting impression. After their stay or trip, following up with customers through personalised emails or messages inviting them to share their experience can not only express appreciation for their business but also encourage them to leave a review.

Moreover, travel companies should implement a proactive strategy for managing and responding to reviews. This includes regularly monitoring feedback across various platforms and addressing any negative comments swiftly and empathetically. By doing so, they demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. 

Companies can also incentivise reviews by offering future booking discounts or entry into contests for those who take the time to provide feedback. However, it’s crucial that these incentives are offered equally for positive and negative reviews to ensure authenticity and trustworthiness in the eyes of prospective customers. With a consistent approach to enhancing service quality and actively engaging with customer feedback, travel companies can significantly increase their chances of receiving positive reviews online.

Good reviews can still be better

A good online review goes beyond mere star ratings; it is an authentic narrative that offers a detailed account of the guest’s experience. The most impactful reviews are those that are comprehensive and specific, covering various aspects of the service or product such as quality, customer service, and value for money. They should be written in a clear and accessible language, allowing potential customers to easily understand the pros and cons. 

Additionally, a constructive review often includes suggestions for improvement, which can be invaluable for businesses looking to enhance their offerings. From an SEO perspective, these reviews are a goldmine. They organically incorporate keywords that potential customers are likely to search for, improving the business’s search engine visibility and driving more traffic to their site.

From the standpoint of search engine optimisation (SEO), reviews are a powerful tool. Search engines like Google value fresh, relevant content, and user-generated reviews provide just that. Regularly updated reviews signal to search engines that the content is current, which can improve the ranking of a business in search results. Moreover, reviews often contain long-tail keywords—specific phrases used by customers when they are closer to a point of purchase. 

These keywords help improve search rankings for niche searches, which are typically associated with higher conversion rates. The SEO benefits extend to local searches as well; reviews can enhance local search engine optimisation, ensuring that a business stands out in its geographic area. Thus, good online reviews not only foster trust and credibility among consumers but also serve as an organic booster to a business’s online presence.

From the stats to the steps, positive online reviews unequivocally underscores why consumer trust is the new currency for travel businesses. Simply put, it’s a form of endorsement that resonates deeply with prospective guests, influencing their choices and, ultimately, their bookings. 

In the digital age, where information is readily accessible and choices are plentiful, travel businesses must aspire to not just accumulate reviews but to foster positive guest experiences that will translate into the positive feedback that drives this new economy of trust. Which leads to the next question, how do you get good reviews?


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