Over the years, several websites have popped up that allow consumers to post anonymous reviews.
The problem, of course, is that no one knows if the reviews are legitimate, regardless of whether the consumer’s opinion is positive or negative.
To make matters worse, these kinds of postings can take place without the park operator’s knowledge, so he or she can’t respond if there’s a problem, or thank the consumer if the information is positive.
Fortunately, GuestReviews.com is working to change this scenario, and it’s building up a growing following of consumers, park operators and campground associations, according to a news release.
Since 2008, the Murrieta, Calif.-based customer satisfaction survey program has compiled over 85,000 consumer reviews and supplies ratings and guest comments to its partner websites that display information on more than 12,000 campgrounds, RV parks and resorts.
And unlike other review websites that allow consumers to post information anonymously, the GuestReviews process requires consumers to provide a valid email address before they can post a review. “This increases the level of accountability, since we know that the reviews are coming from real campers,” said Bob MacKinnon, president and CEO of GuestReviews.
GuestReviews has recently expanded the amount of information it makes available to consumers and park operators – both directly, and through its partnership with Leisure Interactive LLC and their marketing network of industry websites.
GuestReviews previously offered consumers the ability to assign letter grades to campgrounds in online reviews, with each park receiving letter grades based on an average of the total number of reviews received. The overall results have been displayed on partner websites in the form of a mini-report card. “We now are able to provide an enhanced review experience for guests,” says MacKinnon, “by displaying individual grades and public comments submitted in each consumer survey. We’ve also added an new tool for park operators to make an online public response to any guest’s posting.”
“This capability has not been widely available in the campground industry before,” MacKinnon said, adding that GuestReviews also offers enhanced services that can alert the appropriate managers when reviews with negative ratings are received.
Parks that participate in the GuestReviews program thus have the ability to not only identify problems that need attention, but they can use the review process to strengthen the relationship they have with the guest who reported a problem.
“With this approach, we can turn a potential PR problem into an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between the park and their guest, so everybody wins,” MacKinnon said.
He also noted that parks participating in the GuestReviews program can develop a powerful marketing tool over time, since consumer reviews are more trusted – and are more likely to have an impact on future bookings – than advertising alone.
In fact, the majority of parks that participate in the GuestReviews survey program receive favorable letter scores. “It’s relatively rare when consumers assign D or F letter grades to parks. But, again, when it happens, that should be seen as an opportunity to be embraced, and not as a problem to be hidden or ignored,” MacKinnon said.
The GuestReviews national online customer satisfaction program was launched in February 2008 in collaboration with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and has since been expanded to include 20 additional associations and campground industry websites viewed by more than 100,000 visitors per month.