Avril Carter is a Sales Director with ReviewPro, responsible for business acquisition and support within Australasia. ReviewPro provides guest intelligence solutions to hospitality businesses, with a focus on managing online reputations and delivering improved guest experiences. I was really looking forward to chatting to Avril about her role, as everyone knows how much I love reviews. I wasn’t disappointed.
The Evolution of Reviews
Armed with a business degree majoring in hospitality and travel, Avril left university and embarked on a journey that would take her across the globe in pursuit of her passion. From working in hotels, to airfare consolidation, travel agencies and wholesale businesses and back to hotels again. After a stint in Europe, Avril returned to Australia and entered the world of online travel. During this time, Avril recalls the growth of online reviews. Little did she know she would soon be working within this rapidly expanding space.
Avril landed a job with TripAdvisor which spring boarded her into her current role with ReviewPro. The difference between the two being that TripAdvisor is one review platform, whereas ReviewPro consolidates feedback across multiple platforms and channels.
Working within the industry for a long period has allowed Avril to witness a significant shift in the approach businesses take to reviews. In the earlier years there were two main perspectives. Either businesses owners dismissed or embraced the review process. It was business owners from the latter category that often went on to use the information provided via reviews to positively transform their business.
Amplifying Complaints to Benefit Your Business
Avril explains how business owners are now going beyond using the information provided in reviews to make improvements that positively transform their business. Those who are savvy, use online complaints as a tool to amplify the features and benefits of their business. Others use negative reviews as an opportunity to tell the story behind a product. Very clever marketing tactics indeed.
Avril provides a few examples, one in particular involves a ferry operator, SeaLink, responsible for transporting passengers to and from Magnetic Island. Negative online feedback led to the business owner using the opportunity to showcase his business as well as highlight Magnetic Island as a destination. Despite the negative nature of the review, it was responded to in a professional manner and provided readers with additional reasons to why they should patronise the business and visit Magnetic Island. A smart marketing technique that is becoming more and more prevalent in the review world. As stated by Avril ‘Everyone’s got something great about their business that they can talk about, and turn around a bad review.’ This is great advice that every business owner should take onboard.
Reading Between the Lines of Feedback
It’s not just the business owners that are becoming savvier when it comes to reviews. Consumers are learning to read between the lines of online feedback and form their own opinions. People pick up on things that resonate with them. When planning to travel with a young family, people may research a particular holiday park. Reviews left by people travelling with kids will stand out during this process. So might negative reviews left by people who do not fit within the same demographic. Avril explains how business owners can use both of these types of review situations to their own advantage.
We also discuss how being authentic in your response to reviews will allow your true nature to shine through. Ultimately, the way a business owner responds to reviews and what they do with the information provided through feedback can help build a point of difference that sets them apart from their competitors.
Also, in this week’s podcast
In this episode Avril and I discuss:
- Avril’s exciting and extensive career
- The advantages and disadvantages of remote work
- The founding story of TripAdvisor
- The role of storytelling in destination marketing
- Having a point of difference
- Not taking things for granted
- What not to do when responding to reviews
- Using surveys to test business ideas
- Brand influence and impact analysis
- The effect of a good breakfast on a guest’s overall experience
- Growth through the expansion of comfort zones
Additional information on reviews provided by guest Avril Carter, also available via the ReviewPro Website:
- Case Study: How Top 10 Holiday Parks NZ Aced its Key Metrics by Listening to Guest Feedback
- Guide – Responding Part 1: Defining a Review Management Response Strategy
- Guide – Responding Part 2: All about Responding to Online Reviews, Surveys & Guest Messaging
- Webinar: Everything You Need to Know About Managing Google Reviews
- Guide: Everything Your Need to Know About Managing Guest Surveys
- Guest Messaging Guide: The Hotelier’s Guide to Guest Messaging
- Best Practice Videos: Destination Gold Coast, ReviewPro and Operators Share Best Practice
- Guide: Why are Customer Surveys Important?