Collecting Positive Reviews

People trust other people, much more than they trust you. That means your potential customers trust the semi-anonymous reviews written on online review sites more than all that great text on your own website.

Do you regularly monitor what is said about you on TripAdvisor, VirtualTourist or Igougo? How about mainstream booking sites like, Expedia or Orbitz?

If you are a fairly small business, you may have no reviews or only a few reviews on these sites. One cranky person can leave a huge mark on your online reputation. So it is critical that you take action.

First and foremost, improve your service. We’ll all draw an undeserved negative comment on occasion, but we can all stand to improve. While you may want to brush off a bad review or get defensive, it’s more productive to treat every comment as a chance to deliver better service.

Next, encourage positive reviews. When a hotelier in Scotland stapled this card to my bill, I thought he was smart. He’d already made sure I was satisfied, and he was encouraging me to tell others.

If you want to encourage reviews,

* Start with your satisfied current customers.
* Focus on the few review sites that actually send you the most customers.
* Consider contacting your biggest fans to offer reviews.

I can see some possibility for controversy here. Are we skating too close to manipulating? I’d love to hear your take on this in the comments.

Leverage reviews in bigger ways

Are you feeling brave? Let’s take comments back from the online review sites. Let’s open our own sites for reviews:

* Open a comment section on your own website.
* Allow comments on your tourism association website.

Do you think that could work? Do you know of any examples of a tourism business or association allowing open reviews?

This post originally ran on Small Biz Survival.

About Becky McCray

Becky McCray co-founded, a Web site that teaches tourism folks how to use social networks. She publishes Small Biz Survival focusing on small business and rural issues. She is also co-owner of a retail store and cattle ranch, and a consultant for small businesses and city governments.
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Julie Ruggles
Julie Ruggles

I am very small business and someone wrote a scathing review about my business on Yelp. I've had sevral other clients write positive ones, but they were never posted. Also, I would like to respond to the negative review (which I have a right to do) and Yelp won't allow me. I also want to post a photo, but there is no way to upload one. What is wrong with the stupid site? this bad review is hurting my business and unlike every other website, they won't even remove my listing. At the very least I want to put a photo up and everyone seems to know how by me. People online show pages where to do it, but I can't find thrm anywhere. can you help me?

Jay Badenhope
Jay Badenhope

Hi Julie,We've posted a couple articles on how to use Yelp to help your business, including Tips for Managing Your Online Reviews and 5 Tips for Interacting With Customers on Yelp. Have you already claimed your business on Yelp?Jay B. (Intuit)