Why five-star reviews aren’t always the best for your travel agency

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Why five-star reviews aren’t always the best for your travel agency

Positive customer reviews are one of the best – and cheapest – ways to promote a travel business, but even less-than-perfect reviews can help bring in the bookings.

Hays Travel Social Media Manager Natalie Heatlie believes the odd negative comment can actually make reviews seem more authentic and increase consumer trust.

Speaking at the Hays Independence Group annual conference, Natalie said that a survey by review site Trustpilot revealed that more than three-quarters of consumers are more likely to book with a company with a good star-rating rating.

“Reviews resonate with an audience in a way that your branded content can’t,” said Natalie.

However, she said Trustpilot had also found that potential customers don’t necessarily trust the highest, five-star ratings.

The most trusted rating, according to Trustpilot, is 4.2 stars.

While Natalie urged IG members to ‘aim to deliver an excellent experience’ that clients will want to talk about, she said they shouldn’t not to fret over the odd disappointing review, telling them to ‘take negativity in your stride’.

But agents should always respond to reviews, both positive and negative. “When you take the time to respond to comments, you send a message that you are a business that people want to do business with,” she said.

Natalie advised agents to post positive reviews they receive on their websites, social media pages, blogs and emails. “Allow your customers to tell your story,” she said, citing the examples of Cruise Nation, which embeds feedback from the Feefo review site into his own website, Thorne Travel, which includes customer feedback on its Facebook feed, and Not Just Travel, which posts reviews on its Instagram profile.

Encourage customers to post reviews, especially when they’ve given verbal praise for the service they’ve received, and don’t be afraid to remind them to do so, added Natalie.

Another tip is to ask customers who’ve posted holiday snaps online if you can share them on your own social media sites, especially if they are doing something unique and inspirational, such as an underwater walk in Mauritius. “What is better than having real people validate your service?” added Natalie.

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