Review based websites - what you need to know

27th October 2011   |   Jackie Hutchings

Many travellers, including scuba divers, use review based websites when the are planning a vacation or dive trip. We have come to a point where we rely on reviews and we make decisions where to go or not to go.  Being present on these websites became important.  Having a positive presence is even more important.

Why do millions of people per day use websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp? Because they can?  I don’t think so. Review based websites are here to serve us and make our life a bit easier.

Before we all had access to the Internet, you had to rely on pictures in a travel catalog, or the stories of your aunt who already went where you are planning to go.

Times are changing, and we do not always want to go where our aunt went.  We rely more and more on what our (social) network tells us.  Our kind of people. Those we trust.

Would you believe that many hotels and restaurants are relying on 80% of bookings through sites like Booking.com and reviews on TripAdvisor?

A potential customer will read the reviews from former guests and will decide to book or search for another hotel or restaurant depending on the given reviews. I’ll bet you read reviews before you book a hotel or make reservation in a restaurant. Your customers are doing the same in the diving industry.

Am I right?

If there aren’t any reviews for a business, you probably will skip it. If there are one or two telling you this is the best place on earth and there is nothing else like it in the universe you probably won’t believe it. It is just like the real world. No place is perfect, you know that, it doesn’t have to be. You just would like to know if there are people out there who could recommend to go or not to go.

Enough about hotels and restaurants. We are here to talk about Scuba.

According to PADI statistics, the median age of PADI diver in 2010 was 29. This means they are so called digital natives. These are your potential costumers.  They will not use a travel catalog or take any tips from an aunt. They use their (social) network to figure out if they would make a booking or not.

First of all, ask your costumers to write you a review which you can use on your own site too.  Your costumers are the best marketeers you can get.  When you generate reviews, you immediately start generating fresh content. This is something the search engines love. In time your site will rank better within these search engines and your new visitors will love the reviews you have generated. In the end, you will help your visitors (potential new customers) decide to book scuba lesson with you.

Are you running a dive center or maybe a small hotel next to your scuba business?  Get a listing on a site like TripAdvisor, Yelp or Booking.com.  Make the most of location based sites, like Foursquare and Google Places. For diving businesses, register with Diviac for Business. You will maximize your online exposure and your online sales will grow using word of mouth marketing (WOMM). Chances are you will get people who never would have found you otherwise.

Go on, take the next step.  Start generating costumer reviews and grow your online business. There is a whole generation out there waiting to hear from you.

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