Few can dispute the importance of social proof in the travel industry. When planning their breaks, almost all online holiday planners are influenced by the opinions of other travellers when it comes to choosing where to travel and stay.
While review sites like TripAdvisor are the first port of all call for most, many travellers also visit the hotel’s website to get a feel for the property, learn more and check rates. But although most hotel’s invest a lot of time and energy into managing their reputation on third party review sites, many forget to nurture social proof on their own websites, which could spell lost bookings. After all, if there’s anywhere to demonstrate value and secure consumer trust it’s your own website, where a well placed compliment or two from past guests can be the final push a travel researcher needs to make a purchase decision.
So, how can you make the most of social proof on your hotel’s website? In today’s blog, we’ll look at three ways to get started.
1. Embed Star Ratings And Reviews
As you know, the power of online reviews can’t be over exaggerated. Obviously, the more glowing reviews you can generate the better, but you can maximise their value by integrating them into your property’s website.
TripAdvisor makes this process quick and easy with its widget centre, which allows you to embed a selection of reviews, photos and ratings prominently alongside your website content.
Another form of social proof with substantial influence on online travel researchers is Google’s review stars. These appear beneath a result in the Google SERPs and have been found to generate up to 35% more clicks than results with no star rating. The good news? By integrating guest ratings and feedback into your website, you can get your hotel’s star rating to appear on your property’s Google listing too.
2. Personal Testimonials
Have you received any guest compliments or feedback that you’re particularly proud of? Maximise their social proof factor by showcasing them on your website.
This is particularly effective if you include a photo of the reviewer to add credibility to their comments (with the guest’s permission of course). Consider reaching out to past guests who have praised your property to ask if they’d be happy for you to share their feedback and picture on your site, perhaps with a small reward or discount as an incentive. Often, all it takes is a handful of personal testimonials like this displayed prominently to give travel researchers the confidence to book.
3. Popularity and Scarcity
You know that “20 people are looking at this hotel right now” message that pops up when you’re browsing properties on TripAdvisor? It’s the OTA’s own way of leveraging the power of social proof. This tactic plays into a shopper’s fear of scarcity, increases the perceived value of the rooms and urges them to book before it’s too late.
With a little tweaking, you can use similar technology on your hotel’s website to let browsing guests know that your rooms are sought after by fellow travellers and likely to sell out soon. Put to use in this way, social proof can trigger guests to make a purchase decision at a crucial point in the booking funnel.
The vast majority of your guests will only book their trips after researching the opinions of peers, family members and other travellers. Along the path to booking, many will visit your website. Don’t miss this valuable chance to integrate social proof into your property’s online presence – particularly at this all-important stage of the purchase decision process.