Almost everyone has experienced the influence of reviews. Perhaps you read the customer reviews to help with a purchase decision or choose a restaurant for a special occasion. You’ve certainly read a movie review and adjusted your plans based on what you learned. Why do reviews hold so much persuasive power?

1. Travelers Trust Reviews

Today, paid messages bombard us from every corner of the internet. The saturation of the digital advertising landscape means that most of the media we consume is an advertisement in some form- whether it looks like it or not. So we place extra importance on unbiased messages, like reviews, that seem trustworthy.

Reviews are a form of earned media, content you, as a business, do not create yourself and whose message you do not directly control. Earned media (including reviews, social mentions, traditional media coverage) is the most desirable media type because of its perceived authenticity.

Reviews from travelers act more like a recommendation between friends than an advertisement. The message feels honest because the customer does not have the same motives as the business. With health and safety measures continuing to be top of mind for many travelers, learning from reviews that businesses are following through on their safety promises- or aren’t- keeps businesses accountable and adds an extra level of reassurance for travelers. 

2. Reviews Drive Bookings

In a recent Tripadvisor report, three out of four respondents said online reviews were “extremely or very important” when making travel decisions. Breaking it down to the attractions and experiences level, 77% of respondents considered reviews “extremely or very important.” 

Because reviews are based on personal experience, they are highly subjective. Yet, curious customers can piece together a picture of the truth based on the breadth of information available to them. 68% of respondents reported that they are more likely to book after reading a long form review, meaning that the description provided by the reviewer is at least 140 characters long.  In another study, 79% of travelers surveyed said they view up to 10 experiences and read up to 10 reviews for each experience they’re considering.

As the data shows, travelers are willing to do their research before booking an experience. While the travel and hospitality industries recover from Covid’s impact, the more information available to travelers, the better.

For more information on how reviews impact traveler behavior, read Tripadvisor’s latest report The Power of Reviews: How Tripadvisor Reviews Lead to Bookings and Better Travel Experiences.

3. Reviews Unlock Viator-Specific Benefits

The benefits of reviews we’ve discussed so far have been traveler-focused: reviews instill confidence in travelers, thereby encouraging bookings. But there are even more benefits of collecting reviews, especially for Viator operators. Reaching a certain number of reviews unlocks access to special Viator programs that promote your products to an even wider audience.

Viator Badge of Excellence 

As a marketplace that prioritizes the traveler experience, we require that all Viator products meet our Product Quality Standards of Good or Excellent. 

To be of Excellent quality and earn the Badge of Excellence, a product must have at least 15 reviews with an average star rating of 4.5. These products are three times more likely to receive bookings than their lower-quality counterparts. 

Learn more about Quality criteria in the following post: [Blog] Viator’s Product Acceptance Criteria and Quality Standards, Explained

Viator Accelerate

Viator’s latest marketing solution, Viator Accelerate, enables operators to make their products more visible on Viator by adjusting the commission rate. Participating products see an average increase in bookings of 15%, with many experiencing even greater uplift.

For a product to be eligible for Viator Accelerate, it must have at least one review and meet the quality standards outlined above (Good or Excellent). Learn more about Viator Accelerate and eligibility requirements here.

Learn more about the benefits of opting in to Viator Accelerate: [Blog] Introducing Viator Accelerate

Why does Viator require reviews as an indicator of product quality?

Like travelers, we base our quality assessments on a range of metrics. Number of reviews is one element of a larger model we use to evaluate products in the Viator marketplace. By utilizing a holistic measure of quality, we can ensure a base level of consistency across a wide range of products. This system helps us create and manage the best experience for both operators and customers.

Now that you understand the “why,” go out and get those reviews!

Are you new to Viator and don’t know where to start? Stay tuned for our next post in this series: How to Ask For and Get Reviews on Viator.

About the Author: Victoria O'Keefe

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