Reviews Drive Tourists & Locals Off the Beaten Path
Getting reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor is a critical part of business both in-store and online. Positive online reviews can help shape a tourist’s itinerary or drive new options for locals. Newbies in an unfamiliar city need guidance on top eats and things to do. For locals, reviews open up options and highlight companies that may be a bit further, but worth the drive. And for local companies it gives a new, cost effective platform to increase visibility and drive new business from outside the radius of their normal customers.
When in Rome, do as the people on Yelp and TripAdvisor do.
Reviews are a looking glass into experiences and have a direct influence- on the popularity of a location which attracts people whether or not it’s on the main tourist strip. For tourists, this means you can enjoy the city like a local no matter where you go. For me, that means taking an Uber an extra 8 mins to a 4.8 star rated taco joint over the 2.5 star rated one across the street from my hotel. I end up in a locals only spot, eating the best tacos of my life (true story)! When you add Uber to the “internet of everything”, the world becomes an even smaller place. For the taco joint it means competing outside of their neighborhood for a larger share of traffic. Being positioned out of the “tourist zone” is no longer the challenge it once was. The bottom line is that reviews drive tourists and locals outside of their comfort zone. What once was reserved for the locals is now open to anyone. No more tourist traps or national franchise monopolies
Locals will drive for 5 stars.
Tourists aren’t the only ones reading online reviews. As a local, having moved to a new city recently, I have relied on reviews for nearly everything I have done from my moving company, dry cleaners, local pizza spot, to local services like a locksmith and HVAC company. Today, being the “only game in town” is no longer a viable business model. As more and more shopping and research is done online, the -playing field of competition widens. Locals now have more options and are willing to drive further or call– 5 star rated companies. The more reliant locals are on reviews the more dependent companies will become on increasing their number of reviews.
Putting reviews to work.
By managing and engaging with reviews, a company can really magnify their values and strengths. The customer’s voice, formerly known as word of mouth, is by far the biggest magnet for new foot traffic no matter the location. Putting reviews to work for you starts with simply asking people to leave a review. Not only will that message reach their close circle of friends but for the business it opens up that positive experience to a larger audience. It’s not all about the number of reviews; positive, frequent and recent reviews is a beacon of a healthy business. Secondly, it’s important that local companies take the time to show it cares by responding to reviews, good as well as bad. Responses can help soften the blow of bad reviews and show other readers that -a company is really listening and taking action. No matter how customers find the company, they will still use reviews to confirm what’s been advertised. Sometimes reviews are the extra push people need to make the purchase or validate their decision. Attracting review-focused consumers will likely add to the chorus of other reviewers, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of NEW BUSINESS.
Leveling the playing field.
My favorite part is that local businesses still have a shot to compete with large chains and corporations, without the budget of global marketing campaigns. There’s no way to cheat here, businesses will need to continue to offer a higher standard of service, better overall customer experience and get engaged in what customers are saying about them.
Published by: Jeremy Lessaris, Founder & CEO of irevu
Jeremy has over 16 years of successful execution in design, marketing & development programs.
Former Global VP of Marketing & Communications for a 17B year manufacturing group.
Visionary entrepreneur, lifestyle designer and globe trotter.