Online reviews are playing a large role when guests are choosing a place where they want to spend their vacation. Nowadays almost every booking portal is showing reviews and you can even filter accommodation by the review score. This is telling us how important guest satisfaction in the booking process is.
Your guests are talking online and not only about prices and destination. They are giving each other advice on which camping spot to pick when staying with a tent or an RV at your camp, which time of year is perfect to visit the camp. They also chat about other good and not so good details about your camp. Those talks, advice or reviews are a gold mine of information, and they can be a good place to start if you want to improve your service.
Over 90% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business. Like it or not, online reviews are a key component to the overall reputation of your business. To improve the level of credibility and to increase customer trust, our team advises you to provide a response to the customer on every review site that has that option available.
Where can I read online reviews of my camp?
So, how to start reading, evaluating, and responding customer reviews? Let’s start with the basics. List your business on Google with a free Business profile so people can find you on search and maps. If you are using social media, like Facebook you are one step closer to be able to receive reviews. On your Facebook page make sure that in the “Settings”, under “Templates and Tabs” you have enabled reviews of your page.
Next step is to check if your camp is listed on different camping and booking portals like TripAdvisor, Camping.info, Avtokampi.si, Pincamp, Booking or Airbnb. Take some time to update all your camps’ profiles with your current contact details, your exact location and try updating photos regularly. Reviews will help you get noticed locally and they can benefit your search engine rankings (SEO and SEM) as well, especially on Google. Choose which of those online channels are crucial for your business and work out a plan how to manage those.
It’s time to improve and be better!
Customers are likely to spend more on a business with “excellent” reviews. Online reviews make an essential part of the decision-making process when guests are scouting for a camp to visit. How to get your key customers to leave good reviews?
Here is one guiding thought when wanting to improve your online guest satisfaction score: Ask yourself how do you want your guests to feel after staying at your camp?
You want your guests to be….
…. Sorry they are leaving
…. Sad that their vacation was short
…. Full of experience
…. Surprised with a stay above their expectations
You can use this to generate "Personas" you want to address. Personas are those potential guests you want to leave comments about your camp on the web. Once you create direct target groups that you will address, you can define how to approach them. Later on, you can expand that circle gradually.
Teamwork is everything!
Once you are ready for the world of the online reviews, it’s time to impress your guest and push them to start posting positive reviews! Prepare a little workshop with your team (sales, marketing, housekeeping, reception) and explain why it is important to increase guest satisfaction and how it can reflect the online reviews. Together with your team you can define some goals and operating procedures for every target group. For example you can create a welcome set for families; maybe fruit basket and colouring book with crayons. It will will be a pleasant surprise for a family who may have just spent the whole day on the road.
Go through your promotional material like price list, map of the camp, catalogue, business cards and include call-to-action to invite and encourage your guest to leave reviews on the important online channels. Motivate your marketing team to use the reviews in their marketing campaigns and on the website of your camp.
Try to work out on a small token of appreciation that will pleasantly surprise your guest on check-in, or during their stay. It can be some welcome refreshments at the front desk, or free bottle of water or local wine on the arrival. Maybe you can bring some complementary croissants for breakfast to their camping pitch after their first night in the camp maybe. Be creative!
Reviews are on their way
The reviews start coming in and you want to keep track of those. Try reading them regularly, maybe once a week and try to reply to all of them even if it’s just a 5* rating with a “great stay” comment. Write down some templates for the answers and thank you messages which you can use when responding the reviews.
Negative reviews, oh no!
Nobody likes reading those, but even if you hate it, read them anyway. Customer feedback is too valuable to just ignore it. Regardless of how critical the review is, leave a polite response. Make a genuine apology and ask follow-up questions to get more details and ensure your guest that you appreciate their feedback. This way, not only you are showing your guest that you care, but you are also building the trust among the potential new guests who might read it.
What about false reviews?
If you come across a false review, it important to address it quickly. Quick respond to notify potential customers and contact the customer support of the page that the review is false. For example, Google My Business gives you the option to flag a review and report a violation if needed.
The more the merrier 😊
Having old reviews may portray your business as outdated. Having only few reviews does not provide a diverse insight into your services. If you want more reviews, offer your guests direct access to these review sites. You can also show the reviews on your website or use them as testimonials. By encouraging positive conversations about your brand and your camp, you can quickly and clearly improve your marketing efforts and increase your sales.
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