The local tourism industry must take heed of how the growing use of online reviews is influencing decision making and customer spend, says AA Tourism.
This comes off the back of a recent survey* commissioned by the leading New Zealand travel and tourism website, revealing that over 50 percent of travellers look for online reviews or accommodation ratings before booking holidays.
GM Marketing for AA Tourism, Rebecca Cherry, says the increasing trend of people using online reviews means operators need to improve their offering in order to remain buoyant in a tough market.
"We are seeing more and more Kiwis trusting the words of fellow travellers when looking at people's past experiences. It's important that operators are vigilant about what customers are saying regarding their properties so they can take steps to make any necessary improvements."
AA Tourism's own validated online accommodation feedback service 'Been There' has reached 20,000 reviews in less than two years.
It has been instrumental in providing more than 1,300 New Zealand operators with constructive feedback based on consumer's travel experiences.
"Our 'Been There' service gives operators an opportunity to respond to reviews as well as submit two of their own questions for review. This particular initiative is proving popular with businesses that are looking for more detailed feedback so they can employ best practices," says Cherry.
"The average rating of properties reviewed with 'Been There' is 8.8/10 proving that Kiwi operators are doing well overall. However it is critical to understand the power of online reviews and how they can affect your overall bookings and revenue," says Cherry.
New Zealand accommodation operators can also boost their online profile and credibility by listing their business on the AA Tourism website where travellers can make a direct booking.
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