Africa Adventure Academy - your helping hand in sustainable and responsible tourism development
Nearly all tourism companies understand the importance of word of mouth marketing. Today, this kind of marketing has spread into the digital world by means of social media activities and reviews on TripAdvisor, Facebook and Google.
1. Offer a great product!
Yes, this is where it all begins! Whatever you offer, accommodation, tours, adventure activities, car hire or food - your product must be of the highest standard possible - within your niche of course! So, if you have a 3 star bed & breakfast be the best 3 star bed & breakfast in your area and if you are a scuba diving resort be the best scuba diving resort in your area - you get the drift!
2. Smile and ensure everyone in your team smiles too!
From a friendly "Hello" at arrival to the smiling "Good -Bye" at departure your client needs to feel welcomed and cared for throughout their time with you. "You find the key under the foot mat" is just not good enough in any circumstances! Of course, this smiling attitude must exist in all your team members and you are the one responsible to ensure your team has it. Perhaps you run an internal competition, where the team member with the highest numbers of mentions in reviews on TripAdvisor for the season gets rewarded.
3. Have signage to review your business
It may seem like a small gesture but having subtle reminders around can do wonders. Just ensure that the signage is up to date and in pristine condition otherwise you are sending the wrong signals!
4. Go and ask for a review!
No, do NOT demand a review by slamming a laptop in front of your guests during breakfast and by looking over their shoulder while they have to write something good about you. Be subtle in your encouragement and let them know that it is important to you to know how they enjoyed their visit. With that, ensure open communication with your clients so they feel empowered to talk to you during their visit should they have any grievances. Remember the old saying: If you are happy with me - tell the world, if you are unhappy with me - tell me!
A good way of asking is not asking verbally but showing them that you care by being proactive! Today, providing wireless internet access to your clients is a must and many tourism businesses explicitly advertise with "FREE WIFI". Why don't you turn this service into your review generator by handing them a customised WIFI Code and Review Reminder Card on check-in?
5. Email your clients after their visit and sneak in a request for review
Sending a follow-up email to your client should be as important to you as catering for your client during their visit! Apart from building up your relationship with them, you can also sneak in a request for a review at the end of your email. "If you had a great time with us, please do leave a review on TripAdvisor. You can find us here." On the flip side, if your client experience wasn't such a good one after all you run the risk of getting a negative review which can do more harm than good to your business. To prevent this you need to let the people know that they can contact you personally should they have any complains.
6. Include links (or widgets) on your website
Most customers won't remember to review a company unless it's good (or bad). So you ask them in different ways - see point 3 to 5 above - but now you have to make it easy for them to find your online profiles which are important to you. Ensure that you have a link (or widget) to those profiles on your homepage - may it be TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google or any other review site.
7. Don't forget to thank your reviewers
This seems to be the easiest part of the whole process. Spend a little time each day by checking your online reviews and thank customers who left a positive review.
And if by any chance, you had a negative review your response becomes most important! Do not slam your client for posting their perceived unpleasant experience but thank them for the feedback and ensure them that you attend to every problem described in the negative review. Sometimes it helps to openly invite the guest back (free of charge) to experience the improvements made by you.
If you provide quality services to travellers within the listed countries of sub-saharan Africa and agree to adhere to our code of conduct including relevant government & travel industry regulations as well as all statutory requirements you are welcome to apply for membership to Africa Adventure.