If you have ever purchased or at least considered buying anything online, say on Amazon, chances are that you are somewhat familiar with the cognitive buying process and the role played by social proof in the form of online reviews in reassuring and instilling confidence to make you ascertain that the product or service that you’re interested in comes recommended by how many people and to what degree. This is how online reviews influence customers.
“It has been found that an average consumer reads at least 10 reviews before being able to trust a business and spends around 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision.”
So, let us first emphasize a bit on what exactly is this social proof and why is it so important:
To put it subtly, Social Proof is more of a “psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.” It is a kind of business or marketing strategy to increase conversions by prodding people to buy a product or service and putting them at ease with the reassurance that others have bought it too.
Social proof can have many forms like Facebook likes, comments, customer reviews and ratings, social media reviews in general, case-studies, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and other certification badges, social testimonials, celebrity endorsements, etc. In fact, social testimonials & reviews on your own website as social proof can increase your website’s conversion by a greater percentage.
Thus, social proof is surely a matter of perception where you are in a way buying into other people’s opinions and making decisions based on that, a tactic used by businesses worldwide to boost conversions. For instance, if there is a particular restaurant franchise endorsed by your favorite celebrity or a hotel receiving so many positive likes and reviews on a daily basis, chances are that your trust in trying these would naturally increase.
“Nearly 70% of people look at a product review before making a purchase.”
“Online reviews are 12 times more trusted than product descriptions and can increase sales by 18%”
The same psychology applies when looking at hotel options for booking a stay or while planning a trip as:
Importance of Decking Up Your Website With Social Proof
Nowadays, virtually all the travelers, nearly 95% read reviews online before booking accommodation. All these reviews could be read on platforms like TripAdvisor, Google, and various other OTA platforms apart from the forums and online travel communities, travel blogs, etc. each of which plays an important role in influencing an individual’s decision and leading them to the hotel website for more information and research.
While some hotels spend a great deal of time nurturing social proof on third-party review sites, they forget to pay similar attention to their own website which ultimately qualifies as a missed opportunity for direct conversion.
To instill further trust and confidence in people, it is important for the hotels to equally invest in decking up their websites with enough social proof marketing for better clarity about their position and overall reputation. Surely, glowing reviews from a past guest has the power to grip a visitor’s attention and influence their booking decisions.
While social proof can be multifaceted in nature, one such form of social proof that is gaining traction nowadays is the Review Widget for Hotel Website.
Let us discuss a bit about the Review Widget as social proof in detail:
Review Widget As Social Proof
More of a plugin or code, a review widget is a great means of boosting your website’s conversion and is more of an automated feature that can make even a simple webpage look impressive (for instance, the TripAdvisor reviews widget). Including this on your website will help boost the overall onsite experience. It helps showcase customer reviews from trusted sites like Google, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Booking.com, thereby creating a sense of community and popularity around your property or service, allowing the hotel to flaunt stellar reviews at all the crucial points on the website to influence visitors’ booking decision.
Thus, an excellent means of social proof, let us first explore the benefits of having a Review Widget on your hotel website:
1. Boosts Conversion Rate
Veritably, a review and rating widget on the website can help optimize the conversion rate through its authenticity, credibility, and relevance. It helps a visitor on your website learn more about the various aspects of your property (cleanliness, location, food/drinks, amenities), the quality of service and helps set expectations for your brand. In fact, a review widget as social proof is a great way of bringing the customers face-to-face with the various aspects and gives them more insights based on the reliability emotion that comes from the voice of your past guests and their glowing reviews on your service. Vicariously, it helps increase the desire to book and boosts conversion rates.
2. Helps showcase content that is fresh and speaks to your audience
The best part about a review widget is that it has a voice and helps showcase fresh reviews and ratings. Again, imagine these reviews influencing the customers’ booking decisions by reading into what others have written. Your past guests, their words, and ratings are more of an endorsement that being grounded in authenticity can do so much more than what your brand could do just with words. With fresh content, there is no chance of betraying the customer’s trust and unequivocally, it helps give out the fresh perception of your business. This, in turn, helps keep all ambiguity at bay.
3. Increases the organic traffic
Having a review widget surely comes loaded with a lot of benefits. It can also help boost your organic traffic accompanied by SEO benefits. Reviews provide search engines with content that is fresh, engaging, unique, and relevant, helping to relate directly with customers’ queries. So include your review content in the form of a review widget as social proof at all the crucial points on your website, especially at the check-out, and do not give your visitors an excuse to leave your website.
4. Enhances customer trust and piques their interest
Frankly speaking, guests would want to know more about your property and service before making the final call. As per a popular study, 50% of online travelers have written an online review in the last 12 months. Interestingly, 53% of travelers won’t book a hotel without reviews. Thus, flashing positive reviews on your website should be a top priority.
Again, a review widget on a website is a great source of providing your visitors with unbiased information without them actually having to leave your website to search for information on other external sources.
5. Elevates the revenue by being a highly influential selling tool
For hotels across the US and Europe, online reviews have a great influence and are considered nearly twice as important as search engine optimization when it comes to influencing guests’ booking decisions. Again, 76% of people trust online reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. More reviews lead to more traffic and more traffic can be converted into bookings through efficient tools at every stage.
Again, through this remarkable appraisal, you can boast how your services are worth the value, thereby assuring the users that you are a trustworthy partner. Thus, having a review widget as social proof has a great impact on your revenue too, and can actually help encounter a significant increase in that sector.
There is no denying the fact that a review widget can help leverage social proof on your website if used in the right way. It can reassure your potential guests, help build credibility, reduce friction on your hotel website, and aid your bookings to soar. It can help publish comments on your webpage from some of your happiest customers to highlight what guests love the most about your brand.
Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Adding a Review Widget For Your Hotel
a. Keep the content of the review fresh
Showing the date of the comment establishes its recency and acts as a positive indicator. People care more about the recency of the review than a testimonial from years ago.
b. Show the reviews from mixed trusted sources
Putting together reviews from mixed sources acts more like a trust signal. In the case of hotels, showcasing the reviews from platforms like Booking.com, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Google connotes presenting reviews from trusted sources. This, in turn, builds more confidence and credibility than just showing regular reviews or reviews from a single source only.
c. Automate it, or easily select your fresh reviews to be showcased
Let’s face it: if you are not going to want to spend the time weekly on this to decide which reviews to showcase, why not resort to automation? We, at GuestTouch, have designed a widget that allows you to showcase best reviews (based on review score) automatically from mixed sources. You can also select your favorite reviews to be highlighted.
There is no denying the fact that a review widget can help leverage social proof on your website if used in the right way. It can help publish comments on your webpage from some of your happiest customers to highlight what guests love the most about your brand. It can reassure your potential guests, help build credibility, reduce friction on your hotel website, and help boost your hotel’s direct sales and bookings.
The GuestTouch review widget as social proof makes it easy for you to show your guest reviews at every stage of the customer journey.
As 95% of travel booking decisions are made online, what can hotel brands do to boost website conversion and drive direct sales? Our review widget creates a sense of community, popularity and instills confidence in customers around the hotel’s brand by allowing your hotel to show off all your best and fresh reviews in the most important places on your website.
• Show your best reviews with the Reviews Carousel
• Show off your best reviews from trusted sources to establish trust and credibility: TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia, Google, etc.
• Select your favorite reviews to showcase or simply automate it based on overall ratings and sentiments
• Easy to set up and configure