Chicago, Illinois: Guest reviews have become a major selling point for Hotels, Holiday Home and Theme Parks. They are instrumental in driving booking decisions worldwide. In June, TripAdvisor, announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice awards for Amusement Parks and Water Parks. The award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for parks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.
A Traveler Survey conducted by TripAdvisor in November 2015 shows why reviews matter.
96% of TripAdvisor users consider reading reviews important when planning trips and booking hotels.
83% of TripAdvisor users will “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding to book a hotel.
More than half of TripAdvisor users will not book a property that doesn’t have any reviews. And it’s not just hotels: 87% of TripAdvisor users consider reviews important when booking restaurants; 81% say reviews are important when booking attractions.
Visitors like to tell others about their Theme Park holiday experience online. “We always welcome constructive criticism from our guests as well as legitimate suggestions,” says George Frantzis II, the co-owner of Quassy Amusement & Waterpark. Guest review is not always loaded with criticism, sometime it has good suggestions for other guests and the park management. “When the guest experience can be enhanced or improved by something we can do operationally or something as minor a moving another bench to a shaded area, it’s worthy of consideration ” added George.
According to a research published in 2015 by Global Industry Analysts, the international amusement and theme park market is expected to reach $44.3 billion by 2020. Online reviews will be game changer, views and suggestions spread across the various social media platforms will influence new visitors.
Here are some examples of recent research shared by ReviewTrackers:
88 percent of all Internet users read online reviews to determine whether a local business is good or not.
89 percent of all global travelers consider reviews as influential when choosing where to book. Reviews weigh even more heavily than personal recommendations made by family and friends.
4 out of 5 consumers reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews.
A Harvard Business School study by Michael Luca showed that a one-star increase in a business’ Yelp rating can lead to a 9 percent revenue increase
The amount of reviews a park receives online, can directly affect its revenue. So, to preserve the brand image online, is more challenging. Online reviews are an important source of information for new visitors. A perception about the park is created from both offline and online channels. Therefore, it is very necessary to attend every feedback given by the guest.
Chris Campbell, CEO of ReviewTrackers, a Chicago-based startup that provides review harvesting and management software, explains why it is important to monitor and reply these reviews immediately, “Online brand reputation takes time to build, but one of the most effective strategies for business owners is to consistently provide high levels of product and service quality. No one is immune from negative reviews and low ratings, but a major part of every business’ online reputation involves management’s ability to solve customers’ problems, respond to their needs, and deliver positive customer experiences worth raving about.”
Responding to positive reviews is just as important as responding to a negative reviews. Even if a theme park has good facilities and attraction, it can still get negative reviews from some guests, so the best way is to attend them. ” We respond to virtually all positive reviews across the board with personal notes (naming the guest) of “thanks” instead of a canned response. The responses we post are greatly appreciated as many times the guest will send a note back to us as well. Negative reviews certainly vary from someone commenting about bad weather to some other genuine concerns. For guests who had a less-than-optimal experience, we sometimes reach out with a personal phone call in an attempt to resolve the issues that were pointed out, ” said George.
One major challenge is seeing negative reviews and feedback, and not knowing what to do with it or how it could be harnessed to improve the entire organisation, Chris suggests, “bad reviews make you look real and give you an opportunity to prove critics wrong. They remind you to stay competitive. They give you a pretty good idea of where you are and how well your business is doing, so you can find ways to change the online conversation about your business — and change it for the better.”
An immediate alert about a fresh review can help theme parks in brand building exercise online. Guest expect parks to respond to their reviews, but the time frame is a little bit longer than when they reach out to brands on social media. ReviewTrackers found that 52% of customers expect to hear back from brands within 7 days of giving an online review, particularly one that’s negative or critical. Chris argue, “This short time frame highlights the importance of having an alert or notification system in place when new reviews are posted. With it, your business can be more responsive to customers feedback. Beyond recognizing that social media moves fast, your brand also needs to tune into the voice of your customers and pay attention as they look to other review and feedback channels to make themselves heard.”
Technology plays an important role to get the alert of a review generated on internet. ReviewTrackers help to alert park operators about customer review. “ReviewTrackers sends customisable email alerts and review summaries straight to users’ inbox whenever they get a new review. This lets them know immediately about a new five-star rave of their business, or a customer issue that needs to be fixed ASAP, “concluded Chris.
Deepak Tiwari, Business Editor: AmusementParks News Bureau: email@example.com