Tourism Marketing #10: Build Recommendations to Get More Clients©
Tourism Marketing #10: Build Recommendations to Get More Clients

Tourism Marketing #10: Build Recommendations to Get More Clients


How to Capitalise on Reviews of Your Tourism Business

Alright, this series of guides is finally coming to an end. It all started with a simple few tips that were meant to be a single article but as I kept typing, it got out of control. Nevertheless, I hope that this was full of good tips for you. But before I leave you, I would like to close the virtuous circle of sales by maximising your recommendations. So many tourism businesses see clients as a one-off interaction that concludes at check out. Sadly, thinking that way may lead you to miss out on a ton of potential sales! So in this final guide to tourism marketing for New Zealand businesses, I will go over how to get online reviews, deal with complaints and capitalise on positive reviews.

A Note About This Tourism Marketing Guide

If you are just stumbling upon this page randomly or through a search engine, good on you. But before you keep going, you should read the introductory article about this series of tourism marketing guide so you get a bit of context about the tone and the content within it.

This article follows directly from Tourism Marketing #9: Create Your Marketing Budget & Know Where to Spend It.

Tourism Marketing #10: Build Recommendations to Get More Clients©

Dealing with Complaints

Everybody talks to their friends and family about their trip! And you, as a tourism business, can capitalise on that. It is incredibly important that you give each client the best experience possible, not because you don’t want them to complain but because you want them to send their mates. Let’s address the complaints first.

There will always be some people that will find anything to complain about and this vocal minority. Although very annoying, they are actually quite easy to deal with: just give them what they want from the get-go. The reasons for this madness are as follows:

Reason 1: A Happy Customer Talks About Your Company to Three Other People

An unhappy customer talks (in negative terms) about your company to an average of 11 people. The simple cost of regaining those clients would already be huge, but giving in and helping a client get a satisfactory end to what they see as an “ordeal” may very well turn them into somebody talking positively about your business. For instance, when I used to manage retail stores overseas, we were trained to turn complaints into loyalty and I saw with my own eyes how fervently loyal some people become after we handled the simplest issues they had. “No questions asked” is always an impressive customer service trait.

Reason 2: Don’t Let It Eat You Alive

I talk with a lot of tourism business owners and I recently had this very discussion with one of them. They are selling quite big-ticket items and provide a generous warranty option, but once or twice a season there is a client that abuses it. Their reflex, of course, is to try to fight it and explain over and over to the client what is covered and what is not covered by the warranty. It often turns sour over days or weeks of email or phone calls. Throughout my consulting with this client, I kept on hearing about this story and seeing how much this was stressing them. Once all became a bit quieter, I brought up the subject and had a chat with them about the cost in stress, time, energy and reputation that this one client created and we agreed that it would have been about nine times cheaper for them to just give in right away. Suck up that cost, and move on. I’d rather lose $500 now and be sad about it for just an evening than battling over it, losing $250 in the three weeks it takes to solve the issue, and then losing $4,500 worth of business and working hours because that customer has pushed clients away from my business.

Reason 3: Remove the Adversary for the Sake of Everybody

If you are running any kind of group stuff or have a lobby with a loud client, This will taint the experience of everybody else instantly. Seriously, if somebody starts complaining or making a scene, ask them directly and openly what they want and then send them to Gladys at reception to get exactly that while you move on with everybody else.

Reason 4: Avoid Bad Online Reviews

They can be a killer but addressing a bad review quickly and satisfactorily may very well avoid receiving them altogether. If you get a bad review, leave a nice message there thanking your client for their review and letting everybody know that as soon as they asked for whatever resolution they asked for, it was granted to them no questions asked. Wrap up your response with a note on what you did to ensure this would not happen again and “voila”, you’ve got me as your next client, for sure. What a caring tourism business you are!

Tourism Marketing #10: Build Recommendations to Get More Clients©

How to Capitalise on Positive Reviews

Now that you have removed the hassle from dealing with the bad apples, let’s deal with the vast majority of good, nay, great apples out there! I’ve mentioned a few ideas in this series of tourism marketing guides on how to capitalise on visitors’ experiences but I will expand on them a bit more here to give you some ideas of great ways to get more sales out of your existing customers.

Post Photos of the Day on Your Facebook Page

Letting your clients know that pictures of the day will be posted on your Facebook Page is a great way to invite them to interact with your business on social media by tagging them or their friends on the post. It is a very real way to add value to a visit to your page and actually use social media for what it was originally designed and useful for – being social. Throughout the years, I have found this type of Facebook post to be one of the best ways to get consistent engagement. It can even be applied to accommodation providers by showcasing the sunrise or sunset of the day, the chef’s special, or something else.

Give Away Business Cards to Invite Reviews

I love leaving from a tour with something physical, as well as awesome memories. One of the best success stories I have seen for this kind of strategy was from my consultancy with a nature tour. We took stunning photos of the three most commonly seen birds of the tour and printed three runs of business cards each featuring one bird in full colour on one side. On the other side was a very quick fact about that bird as well as call-to-action to “Leave a review for _______ (Get the guide to write his own name) on Facebook or TripAdvisor”. When the guide gave the card, he asked every visitor which bird they wanted to take home and wrote his name with a pen behind each card. People love it!

Send a “Real” and Personal Email to Ask for Feedback

Having partaken in over 400 tours in New Zealand alone (not a fake number, we have video evidence on YouTube), we have received a fair share of emails asking for TripAdvisor reviews but only one sticks out in my mind. Although I don’t know for sure, my money would be on them for the higher review conversion rate out than most. The email was sincere, hoping that we had a good time and telling us that they were a family business and that our visit meant a lot to us. They would absolutely love a chance to improve to make sure that they are still delivering their best possible service for years to come so they could pass down the business to their kids and grandkids, so if we had any feedback, we could email them or leave a TripAdvisor comment. I am not kidding, I left a review on the spot and that’s rare – I tend to procrastinate on this kind of thing.

Other Ideas

From the overdone “get your trip back” campaigns to referrals to discount vouchers and much more, there are, of course, many other ways to capitalise on an existing visit but I feel that the three ideas above are the strongest to get new people to know your business, get online, and book your tourism product so the circle of recommendation starts again.

This wraps up my best tips to market your New Zealand tourism business. It turned out to be way longer than expected and in a form that I did not expect. Needless to say, I am better at tourism marketing plans than article plans, but hey, I feel that there was still quite a bunch of good tips amongst it all, giving you a great starting point to evaluate your marketing performance or to start a tourism business from scratch.

If you have any follow up, I’m never too far. The contact page of our website goes directly to our common inbox, just address it to Robin.

Happy days!

Do You Want to be Featured on NZ Pocket Guide?

Congratulation, you’ve survived 10 incredibly long articles and hopefully, you got a bit of inspiration our of my experience. If you want to get started and get your business to be featured on New Zealand’s largest and most popular travel guide, we’re just a quick email away. Just head to our contact page. Plus, if you mention this article series, we’ll shout you 20% OFF your first year ad campaign – just like that!


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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