5 Pointers To Help Bolster Your Campground's Online Reputation
Online reviews can make or break you. Think about that for a moment, because it’s important that you grasp the significance of that fact. You can have a great website for your campground and a bounty of advertisements running during season—but if visitors are posting negative online feedback, your campsite bookings are going to take a hit. That’s the reality. And this is what you need to do about it—pay attention, respond to every review (both positive and negative), address any problems head-on, and ultimately, take control of your online reputation.
Here are some crucial pointers that can help.
1. Register Your Campground on Review Sites or Claim Existing Page
You can’t receive glowing reviews when visitors can’t easily find your campground on common review sites. So, here is your first step: Gain Visibility. Concentrate on influential social sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Foursquare, Google and The Dyrt (specifically for campgrounds). If your campground is not listed yet, add it. We’ve even made it easy for you—just click each link above, and it will take you to that site’s business page. If you ARE listed but you haven’t claimed the listing yet, do it asap. Once you “own” the page, you can respond to reviews, add photos of your property, provide amenity details and control what potential campers will see.
Remember that customers also use social media favorites like Facebook to post reviews—so staying on top of your campground’s social media page is a must, as well.
2. Appreciate the Likers/Win Over the Haters
Earning positive online feedback is fantastic for your property—and it’s important to acknowledge each review with a sincere, personalized thank you. Campers who enjoyed their stay are an asset you don’t want to take for granted, so let them know you truly appreciate their business. If they lavish praise on specific features, such as beautiful grounds or clean facilities, be sure to mention those particulars in your reply.
Now let’s talk about negative reviews. New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer’s “Hug Your Haters” has some great insight about the importance of taking this feedback seriously. If your campground is lacking sought-after features, rangers aren’t fulfilling their responsibilities or things like cleanliness are a problem, campers will point out those failings… often in a public forum. Mr. Baer reminds us that the weight these reviews carry is enormous. Essentially, they can shape the way “onlookers perceive your business.” And that can have a powerful effect on your bottom line. The good news is you have the power to reshape perception through the right responses.
As you read and reply, look at every negative comment as an opportunity to make a meaningful impression. Be sure to address the person respectfully, apologize with sincerity, and assure him/her that you’re looking into the problem. If the situation warrants it, be prepared to make amends. The commenter could very well update the review and rating by letting others know how you rectified the problem (i.e. refunding them partial or full costs).
Remember that not every campground business takes the time to focus on this crucial aspect of customer service. And when you do, you’re essentially showing potential visitors that you care more about their satisfaction than a competing property.
3. Timing Is Everything
Aim to respond to reviews within 24 hours. Or at most, 48 hours. We know it can be time consuming but it is do-able. If you need help managing guest feedback, there is software available that can make it easier. Companies like BirdEye and Podium can help by monitoring multiple review sites, letting you know when new reviews are posted, and more.
4. Use the Right Tone & Proofread
When it comes to replying to guest feedback, the secret to success is authenticity—be professional but also be real. Scripted answers are impersonal, and let’s face it—just plain lazy. Humanize your responses, projecting a friendly and heartfelt tone across the board. Your sincerity will be noticed and appreciated. Also, proofread before hitting that post button—misspellings and poor grammar don’t reflect well on your business. P.S. There’s no need to hire someone with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing… simply make sure your reply is error-free and readable.
Sample response for positive review regarding amenities at campground:
Thank you for the kind words. We are so glad to hear your family took advantage of our amenities and enjoyed them all so much. We’re planning on adding even more this summer so be sure to visit us then!
All the best, _________, campground manager.
Sample response for negative review regarding noise complaints at campground:
We’re so sorry your camping experience was disrupted by noise from the neighboring campsite. We do have some locations that are quieter than others, and if you decide to camp with us again, we’ll do our best to secure you a more private site. Please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX for details or email ______@____.com.
Thank you, _______, campground manager.
5. Tackle the Problems Head-on
To repair or enhance your online reputation, you need to do more than simply respond appropriately to reviews—you need to practice what you preach. Take all of the comments to heart and if there’s a problem (especially a topic that is consistently mentioned), fix it. If you need more information, ask the reviewer to call or email you directly so you can understand what went wrong and how you can ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future. If the issue is a serious grievance, make amends that properly reconcile the situation.
Have you been paying attention to your online reviews? Do you feel they play a part in attracting campers and inspiring repeat visits? Let us know!