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Online Reviews Heat Up Summer Business

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If online reviews drive choice, what drives online reviews?

Around here, summer’s almost over. Sure, you could probably fit in another quick trip or two, but in these waning golden hours, is it worth it?

Before we go too far down that particular Missy Elliot track, let me rephrase the question: How do you decide what’s worth your time, attention, or money?

If you’re alive today and reading this (check, check), there’s a pretty good chance you’re taking full advantage of the wide world of online reviews to help make decisions about what you want (what you really really want). A recent study showed 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business. Plus, 94% said a negative review drove them to avoid a business. Yikes!

Of course, there are plenty of positive online reviews out there, too, and trends suggest that consumers are increasingly sharing recommendations after positive experiences rather than just blasting complaints. (Question: Good news is good news, right? Answer: Not if you’re the competition!)

What’s been your experience this summer? Hopefully you’ve had more positive summer fun than negative trip-ups, but which experiences make you more likely to step up and speak out? How have you contributed to the conversation, and what are your preferred platforms? Plus, have you heard back in response to any reviews you posted?

As a consumer, you have lots of control. Not only do you decide how to spend your time and money, but your online reviews can have a big impact on how many others spend — and that’s a big risk for businesses. Risks are even higher in the travel industry, since hotels, airlines, and attractions have a very narrow window in which to create the right impression.

As a business, good luck! Online reputation management is a big deal, and it’s definitely an always-on activity. Are you monitoring and actively responding to both positive and negative reviews? And how active are you on social media — beyond just Facebook and Twitter? Are you collecting touchpoint feedback from your guests to grow customer loyalty, or are you just hoping you’re meeting their needs? Are you campaigning to improve the quality and volume of your online reviews, or relying on customers to make the decision for you?

To review: No matter whether you’re a consumer seeking the last rays of summer or a business trying to keep things sunny, the heat is on!

Suddenly feel the urge to improve your customer experience? Let’s connect!