This is a guest post by Samantha Scott, Content Director from Stride Travel, the world’s largest search & reviews site for tours and adventure trips..
“Hey let’s try that new restaurant - they say they’re great, and I trust them because they’re a business.” Said no one ever.
“Hey, my friend recommended this place, we should check it out.” Say a lot of people.
Humans are hardwired to take the word of their friends over that of a business entity, and nowhere is this propensity more obvious than the present day.
With the popularity of sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, the word of the “common, regular, person” has become easier to find and is exponentially more powerful. What has been realized as these sources gain popularity, is that users value the third party aspect.
Travelers want reviews
In a research study Stride Travel conducted last year, we found that travelers are a whopping 8 times more likely to trust reviews when they come from a 3rd party site.
While almost all (nine out of ten) travelers surveyed believed online reviews to be of great importance, 45% of them don’t trust reviews on a tour operator's site.
However, 95% of travelers indicated that they were more likely to trust reviews on a third party site.
The value of rating tour companies
For any big money item like a car or a house, doing exhaustive research and reading reviews is an essential part of the process. Similarly, planning extensive multi-day travel, which often includes visits to more than one country, is an investment in more ways than one.
Travelers want to ensure they’re making the right decision, and the confidence in that decision comes largely from peer review sites.
However, the research takes time and there are multiple moving parts to consider like transportation, activities, lodging, and food.
Until recently reviews and ratings for big money travel such as multi-day tours, cruises, and safaris were not easy to find unless they were displayed on the particular tour company's website.
Yet, more and more people are turning to tour companies to help alleviate these pressures and reading reviews from previous travelers helps. It reaffirms people that they're booking their next holiday experience with right tour company and won’t regret investing in the experience.
Businesses that have third party reviews are only helping their credibility - as well as pushing themselves to be more transparent and to run better businesses to earn those coveted 5 stars.
How to gather reviews
So how do you gather these reviews? Therein lies the issue many businesses, particularly smaller ones, come up against. To make it easier, companies like Yelp and TripAdvisor have used a badge system to encourage businesses to display their ratings.
This helps enforce a positive reaction from customers by knowing that real people like them have responded (whether positively or negatively) to this business. It further inspires new customers to lend their voice too.
Sites like Stride Travel help multi-day tour companies display reviews from travelers who have been on their trips. Users who leave reviews on Stride help other travelers decide if they've found the right company for their next holiday adventure.
We see this community of reviewers growing each day and we hope that the information shared enables travelers of all stripes to explore the world with confidence.
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Are you a tour operator looking to add value through real traveler reviews? Stride Travel is easy to join. Tour operators large and small are welcome, as are cruise lines and safari operators. Get in front of new travelers!
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Written by Samantha Scott
Samantha Scott is the Content Director for San Francisco based Stride Travel, the world’s largest search & reviews site for tours and adventure trips. She enjoys nerdy things, travel things, and writing things.