Impact of traveler online reviews to your sailing charter

In this modern world, reviews posted on social media and popular online review sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Foursquare, have the power to shape a sailing charter’s online reputation and affect travelers booking decisions. It’s because 88% of travelers read online reviews before booking any type of tour package. Traveling is expensive and it’s only natural for people to want to get the most out of their hard-earned money. By reading the reviews, people get to find out whether a service is worth it without actually spending. Think of customer reviews as digital word-of-mouth.

Use online reviews to improve your sailing charter

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Peer influence

A lot of people nowadays are giving more weight on what their peers are saying on social media and what customers are posting online about a business more than opinions by professional critics. Back in the days, people would turn to travel guides and newspaper articles to read what the experts are saying about a company in the travel service industry. But in this digital world, more individuals prefer to read what the people in their circle are saying about a business. 

For example, a person is more likely to book a sailing trip after seeing a friend rave about a charter’s luxurious boat amenities and impeccable service onboard on social media rather than reading about it on a sailing magazine. 

Many individuals also prefer to check online independent reviews because they seem more sincere compared to professional articles that may or may not be sponsored by the charter company. Fake reviews, however, are not uncommon.

Tips on how to spot a fake review

  • Too general and lacks details – It’s difficult to write about something which you have not yet actually tried or experienced that’s why fake reviews tend to stick to general basics. For instance, a genuine post about a sailing charter experience would mention important details such as boat amenities, sailing destination, water activities, and/or price. Some customers may also mention the boat captain or crew by name, especially when they are more than satisfied with the service provided.
  • Timing of reviews – If you notice a sudden increase in the volume of posts within a short period of time, especially during a special event or occasion (summer break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), it might be a red flag that the company is generating artificial posts to get the attention of customers.
  • Overuse of first-person and verbs – Fabricated stories have a tendency to use plenty of “I” and “me” in an attempt to sound as credible as possible. According to a study, fake commenters usually use more verbs while genuine ones use more nouns. 
  • Commenter’s profile – Another way of spotting a bogus online comment is by checking the person’s profile. Watch out for photo-less and generic-sounding names like John Smith or Jane Smith, or profiles with a bunch of numbers and letters instead of an actual name.

Influence buying decision

Managing your web reviews is crucial if you care about your online reputation. It’s not enough that you focus on positive testimonials that showcase happy and satisfied clients but you also have to monitor the rest of your feedback, including negative ones. 

Modern travelers pay more attention to independent and public reviews rather than customer testimonials on your website because the former is considered more sincere and objective. More often than not, people hesitate to deal with a business that has negative comments which show that your reputation on the Internet can greatly influence whether a visitor will convert into a lead. This brings us to the question …

 How do you deal with negative feedback

  • Say thank you – It’s easy to show appreciation for positive feedback but make it a point to thank a client for taking time to review your sailing charter business (whether you receive a positive or negative remark). 
  • Respond promptly – A prompt reply is a way of showing that you value a client’s opinion which can leave a lasting impression on the person. 
  • Address issues and come up with a solution – It’s good to have a dedicated person who can regularly monitor reviews on social media and review sites. If you encounter a complaint, address the situation and try to provide the best possible solution to help the client. By showing your willingness to listen to the problem and empathizing with the individual, you can make the customer feel that you understand what he or she is going through. This can make clients more receptive to your solution knowing that you have their best interest at heart. 

Opportunity to improve

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Be it positive or negative feedback, customers are interested to hear what people think of your sailing charter. When you keep communication lines open between your company and your clients, you are encouraging them to share their experiences, both good and bad. But remember not to let negative ones set you back. 

Avoid appearing defensive in an attempt to safeguard your reputation; instead, do your best to repair your relationship with an unsatisfied client. Look at negative testimonials on a constructive point of view which you can use to improve your sailing charter services. For instance, if a traveler is unhappy with your crew’s attitude on board, you can discuss it with the members of your team and consider providing additional management training that can boost their sense of engagement and commitment. If the client is not satisfied with the itinerary, find out how you can make your activities more exciting such as including fresh sites or offering new water activities on top of what you already have. Is the menu too limited or boring? Introduce new cuisine options to cater to different food preferences. 

Learning where you fell short of expectations will allow you to assess your current operations and make relevant changes to your services. Thus, allowing you to grow and to develop into a better sailing charter company

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