Word of mouth. The holy grail of marketing, the primordial promotor and notoriously hard to measure driver of new business.
Business owners and marketing professionals have always sought out word-of-mouth as the best method to attract new business, with all sorts of digital tools available nowadays designed to make word-of-mouth easier to generate than ever before.
In the hospitality industry, the task of getting new business from word-of-mouth depends heavily on reviews and recommendations. And normally these come from well-known websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google and Facebook, making these website pivotal in generating new business for hospitality venues like bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels.
In a recent survey we commissioned, 65% of respondents said that they never or rarely try new venues without a review or recommendation. Every review or recommendation counts when it comes to encouraging new business.
“But,” I here you say, “Don’t most people only leave a review when they have a bad experience?” – A natural thing to worry about, as these reviews would naturally count against your business.
Interestingly, we discovered that the notion that people are more likely to spread the word of negative experiences vs positive ones may not be entirely true.
Dispelling this myth, we found that almost the exact same number of people had reviewed their favourite restaurant as had reviewed their worst eating experience.
At 36% and 35% respectively, this number is still lower than many restaurant owners may like, such is the importance of good reviews. However, it goes to show that people won’t just leave reviews when they have something to complain about – they also want to give praise when it is warranted.
Given these findings, venues should be doing all they can to increase the number of people leaving reviews. And whilst there is a risk of negative reviews, there’s an equally good chance of a positive reviews coming in too. The important thing is to understand the value of reviews and the power they have in reaching and attracting new customers.