Getting good reviews from guests has always been an important step for any B&B. You want people to say good things about your property. Seeing positive reviews will increase the likelihood that new guests will book with you.
Where Should You Encourage Guests to Submit a review?
There are certainly different review platforms out there: TripAdvisor, the online travel agencies like Expedia and Booking.com, texting service platforms and search engines like Google. Guests typically leave only one review, and some guests are committed to a particular review site, while others can be guded to your choice of review site.
Of course, you always have the option of listing reviews directly on your own website. But remember that reviews on your own website are not considered as credible as reviews on 3rd party sites because you have the ability to simply avoid posting the bad ones.
There are texting services that will text your guests after the stay and request reviews for you. Before you invest in one of these services, it’s important to ask where your reviews will be listed. If they are only listed on the texting service’s website, then they are not as effective as being in a search engine or on a travel site. Innkeeper's Advantage Automated Text Concierge, for example, allows you to link to any site you like.
Online Travel Agencies
Online travel agencies are also a good place for review exposure, but keep in mind, that if you decide to terminate your relationship with an OTA, your reviews there are lost.
Here is why it is important to make sure you are getting Google reviews.
- The reviews on your Google business listing are not subject to a paid membership, so it is a good diversification strategy to include Google in your review portfolio. The reviews would only be lost if you delete your Google My Business profile.
- Positive Google reviews can open the door for better search engine visibility and more direct bookings for B&B’s.
- Google is often the first contact potential guests have with you. People use Google to research travel locations, plan their trip and look up forgotten information like your phone number and address. We all use Google for practically anything we want to know.
So you can now see that it is important to have a Google My Business account and create a shareable review link directly to your Google business page.
Creating A Google My Business Account for your Bed and Breakfast
If you have not created a Google My Business account, it is one of the most important steps to market your property. This listing helps to determine your address for the map. Here is how to get started:
Log into Google using the Gmail account or email address linked to your Google Account associated with your business. Create a Gmail account if you don't have one.
Enter mybusiness.google.com or https://www.google.com/business
Click Get Started
Create the account by following the prompts for your profile. The Kind of Business category is “Bed & Breakfast” and "Indoor Lodging".
Finalize the listing by verifying your business. You can do this by requesting that Google mail you a postcard with a verification code that you will need to enter in your business listing. It can take up to 2 weeks to get the post card and it can look like junk mail so make sure not to discard it.
Fill out all fields to the best of your ability.
Customize your listing with images, video, a logo, ammenities and other infomation.
- When the post card arrives, enter the verification code in your account to verify the listing.
Creating an email or texting link to the Google Review Pop-up
Once your business has been verified, you can link your Google Reviews pop-up screen in an email or text and begin sharing it with guests.
Go to the PlaceID Lookup Tool: https://support.google.com/business/answer/7035772?hl=en
Enter your business name.
Copy the Place ID.
- Create the following link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=<place_id>
- Create a Google short link to reduce texting charges. When you text, each message you send is counted as one “text message unit” against your account if it is 156 characters or less. Above 156 characters, it will be counted as 2 or more messages against your account. To avoid being charged for multiple text messages, use the Google Link shortener. It will shorten the much larger link into a 13 character link formatted as "https://goo.gl/" and so help you keep your texting charges low.
Now you can use this short link to solicit reviews using an automated email or your Innkeeper’s Advantage automated text message system.