HOW-TO GUIDES

Online Reviews: The Complete Guide to Reputation Management

4 Articles 13th September 2021 8,200 Readers

This one’s for you if…

  • You have local competitors that are always coming top of search results pages.

  • You’ve had a recent one-star review that’s impossible to delete even though it’s not true.

  • You ask all your customers to review you, but no one ever does!

Are you positioned for growth?

If you are still getting a mixed bag of reviews and have a few quality control issues to deal with, remember that employing the techniques in this guide will amplify all your feedback, so ensure you are happy with the quality of your service before you start.

The truth is, elevating your review site placements takes a combination of review volume, quality and consistency. If one of these signals fall short, your rankings will not prosper.

This guide will give you a structured path to increasing your review volume, quality and consistency. We will even tell you how to prevent negative reviews from going public, as all venues get them and they often aren’t a fair representation of your brand.

With that being said, the more resistance you have, the harder converting your online reputation into a growth tool will be. Positive guest experiences are the fuel that we will use to turn your online reputation into a self-perpetuating engine of footfall.

As a prerequisite to growth, you should be comfortable that the experience your venue is providing is exceptional and ready to be experienced by many more people.

All clear for launch? Great, let’s talk shop.

Why your reputation is more important than you think

Social proof in the form of reviews can be a powerful form of currency. Review sites represent a constant flow of high-intent consumers who are looking for venues to visit in either the near or immediate future.

Imagine the journey a customer follows to book a restaurant. By searching online, customers are already showing a clear intent to purchase imminently.

A Customer searching for “best restaurants near me” is actively searching for a recommendation based on the searches that appear and the social proof that’s available in the form of reviews. Not only is the customer seeking a purchase, but have indicated that their purchase will be informed by the results of the search.

Think of the online flow of customers like a waterfall. Each person a drop of water trickling through Google. Each droplet takes a slightly different path to the next. Eventually, they fall to the bottom, where you’re waiting (along with your competitors). Depending on their search, they’ll either fall into your bucket, or a competitor. Your job is to catch as many as possible by having the biggest bucket!

The analogy might be a bit watered down (excuse the pun), but you get the point. When it comes to new customer acquisition, is there a better channel out there?

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  • For every one-star increase that a business gets, they see a 5-9% increase in revenue
  • 88% of consumers filter out venues with a rating of 3 stars or less
  • 85% agree that a thoughtful response to a review will improve their impression of the venue
  • 86% of consumers read reviews for local venues
  • 94% of consumers say a negative online review has convinced them to avoid a business
  • 78% of review page viewers will make a buying decision within 24 hours of visiting a review site

Point proven?

Unlocking the growth a positive reputation has to offer

So, I don’t think you need me to tell you again just how important reviews are for your venues growth.

But what’s the point of this newly acquired (or further strengthened) awareness of the power of reputation if you don’t know how to act on it?

In this how-to guide, we’ll dive deep into the 3 signals I talked about earlier. When these 3 signals align, you will have a self-perpetuating engine of organic footfall (because organic is always tastier, right?).

Volume

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We need to hear the crowds chanting your brand’s name. Volume is a metric that review sites use to know how prominent your brand is in your local market.

If you have a 5-star review but only 34 reviews, a 4-star venue that has 2,000+ reviews is most likely to outrank you on review sites. This is because those sites have a weighting system that gives more limelight to the venues that have been around the block.

The consistency metric is a signal of sustainability, with damaging consequences if you cannot keep it up. Some, less than honest, businesses may pay people to leave reviews, and these often arrive in multiples. Therefore, a steady trickle of reviews is an indication to review sites that your business is real, and your reviewers aren’t fictional.

Our guide will give you a few techniques to incentivise your guests to leave more reviews, without requiring any additional time out of your day.

Quality

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Your reviews need to have high ratings (Who would have thought?). To maintain an upward average rating trajectory, the majority of your new reviews must be 5 stars.

While on its own it isn’t enough to place you comfortably at the top of search results, it is a vanity metric that reflects on your venues brand clout. This is a good sign that your business is well-received and positioned for growth.

To ensure that you are getting high-quality reviews, we will share step-by-step methods to deflect negative reviews from going live and instead focus on resolving them internally to retain the customer.

Consistency

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Let’s say you’ve nailed the first two signals, you have an average rating of 4.5 stars and enough review volume to give your review page some oomph. Time to sit back and relax and let the review pages bring you the business.

Unfortunately, that little scenario is fictional and won’t work. The final piece of the puzzle to keep this engine running smoothly is consistency, if you drop the ball and let your volume or quality decline, you lose the momentum you have built up.

The consistency metric is a signal of sustainability, with damaging consequences if you cannot keep it up. Some, less than honest, businesses may pay people to leave reviews, and these often arrive in multiples. Therefore, a steady trickle of reviews is an indication to review sites that your business is real, and your reviewers aren’t fictional.

We’ll go through some techniques to solve this through ongoing guest engagement that keeps your reputation on a steady incline. No peaks and valleys!

Using WiFi to elevate your venue to 5-star status

Are you one of the 93% of hospitality venues that offer free WiFi to their guests? If the answers yes, let me tell you a story 👇

George walks into Billy’s Bistro, he’s looking for lunch and takes a seat. Naturally, his phone’s out and he’s looking to get connected. It doesn’t take long for him to join “Billy’s Bistro Free WiFi”, where he enters a few details and gets redirected to Billy’s Bistro Instagram. A quick follow and it’s time to eat.

5 hours have passed, George receives a personalised email from Billy’s Bistro asking him to leave his rating. The food was quick, tasty and he’ll be back. It’s a 5-star experience, so that’s what he clicks. He’s asked to leave a full review which is then published to TripAdvisor so that everyone knows what a great lunch George had.

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In this how-to guide, we’ll teach you exactly how to use your WiFi to transform your online reputation by prompting for ratings, deflecting negative feedback and automatically publishing positive reviews.