How do you turn your demanding work and your client’s amazing experience into one of the most effective marketing tools in history?
There is a marketing phenomenon called Social Proof. It comes down to people trusting a product or service, which is trusted by other people, even if they don’t know the other person. What this means is that if you have 26 5-star reviews, and your competitor has 4 reviews in total, you will be seen as the far superior choice.
Getting reviews are crucial, yet so many neglect to make this a core part of their clients’ last few hours at their lodge. The important thing to remember is that even when your clients had a great experience with you, they do not think like a businessman – obviously, they are on vacation. This doesn’t mean that they don’t understand it when reminded.
But how do you do it? For the hunting and lodging industries it is much simpler than you think. Follow these three simple tips for getting more reviews for your company.
1) The most effective way by far: Just Ask in Person
It is that simple. Just ask your clients while they are still at the lodge. This also helps with improving your service in the future. Make it a process.
On the last day of their stay, you as the owner or manager of the operation must go to the client and casually ask them about their experience. If they had an awesome experience, simply follow up with a “Wow, that’s great to hear, would you mind if I asked you to write a review about that?”. Then actually provide them with a way to do so by supplying a computer, or if your camp has WiFi, directly ask them to log into Facebook and find your page.
To motivate them further casually explain how reviews are extremely important to your company. You can spin this a couple of ways. What I have found to be the most effective however is to explain to them that your potential clients are in a different country, and having their fellow citizens write reviews about a company in Africa helps build your credibility.
As you know, most folks who come to Africa are successful entrepreneurs or highly ranked businessman. When you ask them for this, they will immediately realize the importance and worth of it. The fact that they just spent a week with you, and you’ve built an intimate relationship just further ensures that they would want to help you out.
2) Ask via Email
So sometimes they forget. That happens, as I said, they are on vacation.
Luckily, you have effective email campaigns in place and are in constant contact with your clients. If you don’t, you should. (Read more about email campaigns here)
Here is what we always set up for our clients: Once your client leaves your property, immediately go sit at your computer and draft a short email to them – but don’t send it, yet.
Go into depth about how great it was to have them, throw in a special moment that will make them laugh and include a positive remark that one of your staff members made after they left. Then send that email 2 days after they are scheduled to arrive back home. End the email by adding “Oh, and if you don’t mind, please take 30 seconds to write a review on our Facebook page” and link the words to your page.
This does two things. Firstly, you build an extended relationship with the client. They just got back home and reality set in again, then they receive an email from you stating that you miss them, had a wonderful time, and even more importantly the staff enjoyed them so much they are still talking about them 2 days later. Then secondly, building on that point, now that you have an extra special bond asking for that review and providing a link will guarantee that they click it.
3) Make this small yet powerful tool an organisational initiative
This is the most important tip. Everything we just said can be forgotten if management doesn’t show staff how important this is.
Every single person in the organization needs to understand that every second they spend with the client, they are under review. Too often we find that Safari staff get too comfortable with the relaxed atmosphere that they forget the clients are paying a pretty penny to be there.
Staff must tend to the clients every need and understand that on the last day management will always ask the client for their critical opinion and a written review. And then management must follow through with it.
One of the biggest problems Safari companies have, especially when you invest heavily into online marketing, is building credibility. Having ten folds of reviews online from real people with real experiences is by far the most effective way of building that credibility.
And all you had to do was ask.
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