Online reviews for tourist destinations

In recent years, there may have been nothing more damaging to the marketing of tourist destinations than social media. As more and more travellers turn to social media, tourism destinations need to adapt to remain competitive.

For destination marketing organizations, tourism offices and congresses and other institutions responsible for inbound tourism development, this means reallocating resources from traditional sales and marketing activities (whose effectiveness has clearly decreased) to attracting travellers to social media and encouraging their feedback on the destination.

The focus is on monitoring and analyzing feedback. Accordingly, Feedback Management is key to tourism destinations.

There are seven ways you can use the online reviews for travel destinations:

Understand the interdependence of reputation

The ability of a tourist destination to attract visitors depends not only on its overall reputation, but also on the reputation of individual tour operators in the region.

Tour operators are part of the reputation of the whole destination because travellers leave feedback on individual organizations, not on tourist destinations. When all stakeholders work together, they will be stronger individually and collectively.

Make the most of the extensive data provided by online feedback

Online reviews provide a large amount of fresh, year-round material on travelers’ behaviour, interests, likes, dislikes and recommendations.

Travel destinations can use the depth, breadth and richness of these data to understand visitor sentiment, compare results with competitors and identify the strengths and weaknesses of regions, sectors and individual participants.

Use extensive data with feedback analysis

While there is no lack of feedback data, the problem is to collect, organize and reflect on it. The solution is to analyse the feedback – the process of collecting, analysing and reporting on the data from online feedback – and to use it to make more informed decisions.

Look up ideas for content in reviews

Online reviews allow DMOs to understand travellers’ questions and concerns about the destination. This information is a rich source of ideas and content for blogs, articles, web pages, social media and advertising.

These materials can address common issues and misconceptions, take advantage of travelers’ testimonials and the benefits of content marketing.

Use these reviews to guide your investment

Online reviews come from the most irrefutable source of information about the tourist destination: from travelers who have tried out the destination themselves. This, combined with a huge amount of feedback, represents a true “collective intelligence”.

Thus, these feedback can be a very effective tool to advocate with government, industry and stakeholders for the infrastructure, training and marketing investments needed to attract and increase visitor satisfaction.

the comparative effectiveness of reviews compared to competitive destinations, and the relationship between travelers’ ratings and profits.

The organization uses this data to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the region, build on strengths in marketing, address weaknesses and manage training programs.

Integrate online feedback into official rating systems

A study conducted by UNWTO showed that when planning travel, people want to see the official ratings of tourism boards, as well as assessments of travellers from online reviews. In order to meet both needs, many destinations now integrate both models into the participants’ advertisements on official websites. Examples include Visit Scotland, Visit London and Destination British Columbia.

Star Ratings Australia, Australia’s national residence rating organisation, has decided to integrate the reputation assessment from more than 175 sources of feedback.

Provide guidance, training and support to stakeholders

Travel destinations can play an active role in educating stakeholders about the importance of reputation management, how to monitor, respond and respond to feedback, and the relationship between customer service and social media.

Destination British Columbia, aware of the power of social media and online feedback, commissioned my company, Reknown, to write a comprehensive online reputation management guide and conduct training workshops across the province to help stakeholders take control of their reputations.

Implementation mechanisms may include manuals, best practices, hotel experience, seminars and presentations at travel conferences. Webinars can help reach participants in remote locations while reducing training costs.

Only when DMOs, CVBs, governments, and other tourism organizations have stepped up their activities and provided the guidance, training, and support needed to manage their online reputation, will they be able to experience all the benefits.

This includes higher visitor satisfaction, more positive feedback and ratings, and, in turn, more visitors.

Judy P. Santiago

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