Small Fish Big Ocean

Helping specialist tour operators and activity providers with travel ecommerce

Adding product reviews to your website helps build trust with your potential customers.

Trust is important because often, especially with single product tour operators, customers will only have the single booking experience with you (unlike other more commodity products where trust is built up over multiple bookings over several years).

OK - so how do you do it without spending a fortune on web developers?

Here are some example reviews from the Macs Adventure - West Highland Way site (walking in Scotland)


Similar reviews can be found on the Adventure.travel site (e.g. this operator details page)

Nice eh?

Product details

These reviews are a simple plugin you can add to any website. In the US the service is offered by PowerReviews Express. In the UK by BizRate/Shopzilla. Its the same technology but the US site explains it better :)

Pricing is about 25 GBP per month (35 USD). (Bronze level).

To integrate you need to send a product feed with product info, price, images, product URLs.

If you are using TourCMS then use the Tour ID as the Page ID. (Macs Adventure are entering their 3rd year using TourCMS as their reservation system / online booking engine).

You will be given some JavaScript code which you can put in your website. A little design formatting is required if you want to make it match your site.

Apart from that, its pretty simple!

Populating reviews

So now you have a review system you need reviews!

Macs Adventure sent an email (they uploaded email addresses into a system provided by the review service). They chose to send to lead customers who had travelled with them in the last 9 months. They offered a prize draw of 500 GBP (approx 750 USD) off their next holiday.

The email was sent on the 23rd December (2 weeks ago) and already has a 15% response rate.

The email that is sent by the review system is nicely presented so very little work is required there.

Thanks to Neil for providing all the info!

See how it turned out.... Macs Adventure - West Highland Way (scroll down the page)

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Hello all,

I would like to add that tripadvisor.com is a great site for same purpose - getting customer reviews and ratings to your own web-site. It is also quite a big user base - 11 000 000 registred users , 36 000 000 monthly visitors.

Greetings from Estonia

Aivar
Hi Aivar

Good point - however TripAdvisor mainly only has hotels - and a few attractions. Very few tour operators, even if they run their own product, have their own listing there. Not sure if it is possible to use the TripAdvisor widgets without having a product listing there.

Also, having your reviews on your own system gives you a tiny bit more control on them too!

Absolutely worth mentioning that there is a system to get your own TripAdvisor reviews onto your own website, if you wish.
Attractions are starting to build on trip advisor Alex it is only a matter of time.

Got to take the rough with the smooth on though. See Splash Morocco
On this topic, for reference, bear in mind the copyright of reviews if you add a feature from a 3rd party onto your own (supplier) website

I wrote about that on Tnooz

http://www.tnooz.com/2010/02/16/news/copyright-is-a-critical-consid...
I had a look at the way Macs Adventure integrated the review system. Some questions:

1) How would it effect SEO optimization - will search engines "see" the reviews or is it only a plug in that displays it to the end user?
2) This leads to: is it better to have the review page on the front page - or perhaps with a specific tour?

3) Perhaps a review page per product type / tour? Or will they charge more.
Hi Carl

If you are a service company then you don't have too many products to review. I know you have products (rather than tailor made services) so that is less of problem

Then you have to wonder about whether people are reviewing your booking process / office approach, the actual tour or even the destination / hotel choices you have made. Gets very tricky to understand what people are reviewing.

I would start with one review per tour type per unique destination (rather than 1 per tour). Better to have 10 reviews shown a couple of times (on each tour they could relate to_ rather than a single tour just having 1 review? I dunno though

Umm
So I've had a look at both Shopzilla and PowerReviews (which is managed both by PowerReviews). PowerReviews is focused on US customers and offer a 30 day free trail - this will be great but when signing up it seems that it's only for US or Canada companies. So I tried Shopzilla (with the UK PowerReview engine), but there's now free trial AND the biggest issue I have is that they focus on product oriented companies and not services, like tours.

Also - they do offer SEO friendly landing pages for reviews (as asked in my 1st post above), but you have to sign up for their £100 a month fee to add this to your account...

I'm left hanging in the dark and I'm not sure if this is really the solution. The review engine seems ok, but they basically price the service so that you get a lot of functions that is included BUT focused on a company selling products online. So it will be useless to tour operators.

Any other review engines perhaps?
TourRadar have a review thingy as part of what they do

http://www.tourradar.com/tour-operators/

Never really looked at it and I have invited them onto the forums to come and tell us all about it.....
Hi Alex,

Thanks for the invite to come and talk about our new Tour Reviews widgets!

Yes unlike TripAdvisor which is mainly for hotels and attractions, we've created our Ratings/Reviews specifically for Tours (both long and short).

To reduce the number of fake reviews, we require every reviewer to sign in with their Facebook profile before the review can be verified and will be published.

Capturing Reviews
We have created a section on the new site called RateMyTour where a traveller selects your business and can leave their feedback on a page dedicated to your business. (using a very quick and easy to use form)

The way our Operators attract reviews now, is by emailing a direct link to their page like http://www.tourradar.com/reviews/add/Busabout/ after the customer does a tour.... or providing a laptop/netbook at the end of the tour for them to use to add their feedback on before they leave and get distracted and never find the time to do it!

Sharing your Reviews
To help you share these reviews with your potential new customers, we have created a number of unique ways for you to do this.

1) Facebook Fan Page - Tour Reviews Application
For an example of how it looks when installed visit http://www.facebook.com/BusaboutEurope?v=app_13995986674

2) New Reviews widget (launched yesterday) - please see screenshot of how this looks. This is just a simple Javascript which can be copied and pasted into any page on your website (width, colours and number of reviews are all customisable)

Now you're probably asking... sounds great, but how do I get started? Well it's all pretty easy (and free!)

1) Signup for a free profile on http://www.tourradar.com/registration/form/operators/

2) Once signed in go to your Dashboard and Add your individual tours (Dashboard > Tours > Add) - this allows your past customers to write reviews about your specific trips, rather than just about your business as a whole (which is much more helpful for new customers)

3) Then go to Dashboard > Reviews and you'll see your options for 'Capturing', 'Show on Facebook' or 'Show on your site'... just follow the prompts and you should be fine!

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Cheers

Travis
Attachments:
RE: 1) The services mentioned do provide separate static "SEO landing pages" which the search engines will see. I'm not familiar with the exact details on how the above service works but similar services either host the pages for you (generally on a subdomain of your choosing) or FTP them to you at regular intervals.

These "static" review pages generally then link back to your existing product pages so you get the traffic back that way.
Hi, I'm new to the SFBO community and would like to thank Alex for inviting me to describe our recently updated project... TripReviews.com.

TripReviews.com is a dedicated travel review website and service designed to do two main things:

1. For operators, TripReviews provides a simple way for you to add a review system to YOUR site without a lot of coding or cost. It also allows you to syndicate the reviews about your tours/company directly on your own site using an RSS feed. You can even give the RSS feed out to partners who might want to syndicate your reviews/testimonials further. Once you install the review widget on your site (either on your tour page or your side bar even) your customers can click on the "Write a Review" button and a review box appears right on top of your site. The customer writes the review, the box closes, and is returned to YOUR website. Once written, the review is then available for syndication through the RSS feed for your tour. If you are using Wordpress, you can pull in and display your review feed using any number of RSS widgets and plug-ins. Here are some features for operators:

- Embed text reviews on your site via RSS.
- Allow reviews to be written on your site using the widget.
- Comment on reviews when they are submitted.
- Invite customers to write reviews. The invites can be sent immediately or scheduled and include a custom message.
- Allow others to review your tours on their sites (useful for agent partners or marketing partners).
- Create as many review targets as you like (target is the thing that gets reviewed). So, you could create one for your company, one for each of your tours.
- Each review page on TripReviews can have a summary and contact details which includes a link to your site.
- Your customers can email your review page to their friends.
- Because the reviews are available via RSS, you can use a tool like Twitterfeed to automatically push your reviews to twitter.

2. For travelers, TripReviews provides a way of finding reviews for a specific property, tour, attraction, or place without a lot of clutter or clicking. You search for what you're looking for and then either read the reviews or write a review. Features for travelers include:

- Very simple review process.
- Sign-up process is very simple.
- Send messages to reviewers (if the reviewer agrees).
- Comment on reviews.
- Flag reviews as inappropriate.
- Upload photos with their review (these are available to operators through XML)
- Invite their friends to review
- Email the review page to their friends
- Subscribe to review page to receive updates via RSS.

Here are some example review pages on TripReviews:

Capilano Suspension Bridge - An attraction in Vancouver
North Van Green Tours - Guided van tour operator
Cozumel - A popular destination in Mexico
Riu Cancun - Popular all inclusive resort in Mexico

Click on the "get a widget" button to get the code for the review widget.

Some examples of integrating TripReviews into an OTA (Escapes.ca)

Riu Cancun page on Escapes.ca - http://www.escapes.ca/hotel/riu-cancun
Cozumel page on Escapes.ca - http://www.escapes.ca/vacations/Cozumel

To write a review, click on the "Write a review" link above the reviews.

I would appreciate feedback, comments, and suggestions. If you have any, please feel free to send them to me or tweet them to @tripreviews.

Warm (& currently sunny) greetings from Vancouver,
Stephen

Feefo has a solution now too

http://www.feefo.com/

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