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More Guests with Online Reviews

Alexander Zaugg, Founder

17. September 2018

In the last few years, the importance of online reviews has been steadily increasing. Guests trust other guests more than ever when making a purchasing decision, for example, reserving a table in a restaurant or a room in a hotel. However, active review management needs resources. Here we’d like to show you how many more guests an investment in online review management will bring you.

First of all, there is no number that works for every restaurant, hotel, or other business, since such factors as location, size, number of competitors, and industry have a large influence and are different for each particular business.

In this article, we’d like to list activities that, based on our experience, can help you achieve your goal. Besides, we provide approximations, so you can measure your marketing expenses better.

We estimate the number of bookings resulting from certain online activities based on both the experience of our customers and on industry leading studies. The values can be different depending on the company and are non-cumulative. Besides, the following factors have already been taken into account:

  • Bookings by new guests
  • More recurring bookings from existing guests/higher spending per visit
  • Eluded bookings due to bad results/online reputation

Essentially, the success of your online strategy is based on two major factors:

1) to be found on the Internet and
2)
to be booked/visited

1a) A Better Google Ranking

According to a study of 100,000 local businesses, it was found that reviews are the most prominent ranking factor in local search. You need to be present on Google and have a lot of new and positive reviews to stand out from the competition.

It has been shown that if you have a good business listing on Google, users will spend more time on it and will be more likely to book with you.

Reviews on other review sites, for example, TripAdvisor, as well as SEO best practices help to further improve your Online Reputation and your ranking.

It is important to choose 2-4 review sites that are relevant to your business and focus on them.

Impact 1a: Very high –> depending on the type of business 2-19 more bookings per month

1b) Conversions Happen Directly in Google (SERP)

Google is constantly investing to make sure that search results become even more relevant and potential guests can make a purchasing decision on the first search engine result page (SERP) without ever visiting your company’s homepage.

The Google My Business entry determines to a large extent what stands in the so-called Knowledge Panel.

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If you look closely at the Knowledge Panel, you’ll see right away how much space it takes on Google’s first page and especially how much content you can actively influence. Use this tool, as it’s for free.

  1. Create Google My Business account and take the first step to improve search engine results (Business information, photos, etc.)
  2. Generate more real and good quality online reviews
  3. Use new features to make your business/brand more prominent:

Impact 1b: High –> depending on the type of business 2-9 more bookings per month

2a) Responding to Reviews

Trust is everything, especially when it comes to guests who don’t know you personally. 4 out of 5 TripAdvisor users said that they trust businesses that respond to their guests’ reviews more. 

Business owners’ responses are an important marketing channel. You can define the content at a very relevant touchpoint. 

New guests see at a glance how they are going to be treated. Besides, you can mention your USPs when responding to positive reviews. So you win new guests, increase the frequency of the existing customers, and improve your Google ranking.

Also, Google recommends responding to reviews – not without reason.

Impact 2a: Medium-high –> depending on the type of business 1-7 more bookings per month

Important: Here we didn’t touch upon the qualitative reasons why you should take your guests seriously also online and improve your business with the help of smart analysis; however, we recommend paying at least as much attention to them.

“Online reviews and responses to them influence the behavior of your potential guests”

2b) More New Positive Reviews

As we have mentioned in point 1a, it’s essential to receive a lot of new positive reviews. It’s relevant not only for your search result but also for your conversion rate.

Guests are interested in the opinions of other guests. For example, by a hotel search, Google suggests showing only hotels with a rating of 4 plus. Besides, guests admitted that they are most likely to book with a business that has a rating between 4.2 and 4.5. 

PPC_for_local_business

Also, Harvard’s study determined that a one-star increase in yelp rating translates to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue.

Impact: Very high –> depending on the type of business 2-19 more bookings per month

Important: Even one negative review found on the first SERP can cost a business as many as 21.9% customers. This value has already been incorporated.

Additionally, you should make it easy for potential guests to actually book your property with a good reservation system

What to do next?

We understand that online marketing activities and online reviews are just a part of success, but they are getting more and more important. Already now 85% of guests trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, it’s a rising trend. 

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The numbers mentioned above are not the same for every business. We help you to make your hotel or restaurant successful online and support you with active review management

If you’d like to assess the first success yourself, take your online reputation score (for example, our reScore) and together with other online marketing activities compare it with your online conversion rate. 

We look forward to your questions, your individual needs, and best practice examples from the local SEO world. 

How good is your business?

We calculate your Online Reputation Score based on your customer feedback.

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About the Author

Alex takes care of our customers as their problem-solver and trouble-shooter. Of course, writing compelling responses is a big part of his work as well and he strives for the best customer experience in every field he works. Therefore he tries always to discover new tactics how to improve our service and the one of our customers.

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