Why are user reviews important?

A vast majority of consumers are influenced by reviews. If you consider you own experience, no doubt you check a review site “just in case” before you finalise the transaction. We’ve all done it, but have you ever wondered why and how you can improve conversion for your business? In this post we’ll share a few tips.

The reason you check reviews is attributed to a concept called “Social Proof”

What is Social Proof?

Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon in which people follow the actions of others in an effort to reflect what is considered correct.  Simply put, Social Proof influences people’s decisions on how they should behave or what they should purchase.

The chart below from Statista.com  shows how important reviews are;

“How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business?”

How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business?


Google has recognised this phenomenon and therefore ranks reviews at the top of their search results. This means that whenever someone searches for your business, reviews are usually at the top of the search results pages, therefore they are vitally important.

What can reviews do for my business?

The most obvious thing they do is enable your business to be found by search engines, so they bring your business to the attention of the consumer. They can also be critical in the decision making process, they enable the consumer to make a value judgement on the following;

  • The accuracy and honesty of the information provided on your Website and Social Media channels
  • The level of service they are likely to receive and your willingness to resolve issues
  • Guest tips to make their experience more enjoyable
  • Perceived value for money

Who are the big players?

We’ve mentioned in a previous post why Google and Facebook reviews are important, but there are other big players. A combination of great Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and Online Travel Agent reviews should satisfy the fussiest of consumers.

Why TripAdvisor?

Why you need to be active on TripAdvisor can be summarised in this simple diagram below (Source)

TripAdvisor reach 2017

It’s all about volume and brand recognition and TripAdvisor has the numbers. Most consumers automatically link travel reviews to TripAdvisor, it’s a one stop shop. It’s easy to use, has online booking capability and a sizeable market share.

So, if you have not yet claimed your TripAdvisor listing we recommend you do here. Our first tip is to get onto TripAdvisor.

Tourism Tribe members can find more information about TripAdvisor here and learn about protecting your online reputation here

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Secondly, we recommend you look the OTAs and what’s being said about your business online especially if you’re already getting bookings from them.

Booking.com, Expedia, Wotif, Webjet, Hotels.com there are many OTAs that are important to your business. They provide customer reviews on their site and actively source them from their customers

Take Booking.com for example

Booking.com reviews 2018

Not only is the review score very obvious, but it is divided into 7 key areas (when you click on it) they are;

  • Staff
  • Location
  • Cleanliness
  • Comfort
  • Value for money
  • Facilities
  • Free wi-fi

These indicators are important even if the consumer doesn’t book through the OTA. They are also worthwhile feedback you can use to improve your business.

If you are new to the industry or unfamiliar with OTAs and how they work you can find more information here

Top Tips

So, in summary, because reviews are vitally important to your business, we consider you actively engage with the following review sites;

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • TripAdvisor
  • OTAs

We recommend you write yourself an online review plan too;

  • Write a plan to be active and engage with the above
  • Incorporate sourcing reviews in your business processes, do not do a monthly request. Have cards at reception, send emails after checkout, SMS a reminder, make it easy for your customers to leave reviews
  • Link your TripAdvisor reviews to your Website and Facebook pages
  • Respond to all reviews with prompt, articulate, caring and informative replies
  • Be consistent in your style and tone of replies and ALWAYS thank the customer for taking the time to leave a review

Learn how to better use Online Reputation Management in your Tourism Business

The Online Reputation learning hub offers tutorials, support articles, webinars and the ability for members to ask a question via our support forum

About fabienne

AvatarFabienne Wintle is Chief Digital Strategist and is an advocate for digital self-sufficiency, having empowered thousands of small businesses with the knowledge and tools required to make a living from tourism. Her special blend of digital know-how, tourism knowledge, coaching skills and a natural gift for communication make her a sought-after consultant, workshop facilitator and speaker.
She lives on Australia's Southern Great Barrier Reef in Agnes Water, Queensland where she volunteers her time to help local businesses use the internet.


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