The online world is polluted with unfair, negative and fake reviews that can have a catastrophic effect on businesses of all sizes and impact their sales and growth. Business owners simply cannot afford to struggle with negativity damaging their reputation, endangering loyal customers and discouraging new customers. In this context, free positive digital word of mouth is more than welcome.
The power of the online review
The power of online reviews is well established. Stats show that 97% of consumers search online for reviews when considering a service. The power of the negative review is also clear: just four negative reviews can cost a company 70% of potential customers.
Businesses spend a huge amount of time promoting a positive online presence and they are painfully aware that anything that endangers it is bad for business.
In June, to defend themselves against a false review, an establishment in Thailand sued an American traveller for defamation after he left “statements/reviews made to maliciously defame [the hotel]”. While this is an extreme case, it echoes the understandable fear that businesses have when it comes to negative reviews. If a business is at the mercy of too many negative reviews, whether false or authentic, the consequences can be disastrous.
The UK Government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) estimates that online reviews affect around £23 billion of customer spending in the United Kingdom every year. Of the 75% of people that regularly use online review websites, around half believe they have seen fake online reviews. Even more impactful is that according to Trustpilot, 80% of customers believe that online reviews are not authentic.
This issue is of great importance and major players like TripAdvisor are regularly confronted with scandals regarding manipulated reviews. scandals manipulated reviews. These incidents have led TripAdvisor to implement increasingly strict measures to try to put an end to false online recommendations. But it is a very difficult battle.
Positivity is needed to support local businesses
Fairness and positivity are needed in the gastronomy and the hospitality sectors. Customers and businesses alike are tired of online platforms being saturated with false and negative comments.
Digital word of mouth is a real opportunity to overcome negativity. People value how they spend their free time, where they choose to go and the ability to make every social moment special. To achieve this, they rely increasingly on friends and trusted information sources for recommendations.To be specific, 72% of millennials say that their friends and family are their number one trusted source.
Without bad reviews and ratings, without false profiles and without advertising systems to manipulate and interfere with recommendations, positive digital word of mouth provides a solution for businesses that have limited budget for promotional activity. It empowers them to take back control of their online image and increases their revenue.
Picture: Instagram @faunafloralisboa
Positivity is needed to restore trust in the hospitality industry
The need for trust and security is driving consumers purchasing decisions. Customers remain cautious as they seek more control over their surroundings and navigate the “new normal”. Positive word of mouth does what traditional reviews fail to: it provides a personal connection to a business that reassures and motivates customer purchasing decisions.
Picture: Instagram @birdiecoffe
With curfews and other restrictions currently in place, this approach brings new sales opportunities to business owners and helps them regain control of their digital presence. By creating a snowball effect of positivity that turns friends of friends into new customers, it reduces customer acquisition costs and brings added value to customers. It's the definition of a virtuous circle.
Social app TWISPER has built a positive ecosystem for users and hospitality businesses. The ability to only share positive experiences means the app’s entire UX leaves negativity at the door. Customers can favorite or recommend restaurants, hotels and bars, sharing their “best picks” with their network of friends and followers. TWISPER maintains strict community guidelines and have numerous measures to ensure real and honest positive recommendations. They are also implementing tools to automatically detect and flag inappropriate content across both pictures and comments. Their approach allows for positive digital word-of-mouth marketing with the customer at the heart.
A business orientated towards recommendations instead of ratings is essential to encourage customer engagement. Genuine and real positive influence marketing will strengthen the bond with loyal customers and encourage new customers to come through the doors. Negativity has no place in the future of the hospitality industry. If the last months have taught us anything, now is the time for a refreshed and positive outlook.
TWISPER is on a mission to bring fairness and positivity back to the hospitality industry. During this unprecedented time, we hope to cast light on the grit, resilience and determination that are an inherent part of the industry. We know that these qualities will lead to recovery and restoration as we look to the future. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest industry news and TWISPER announcements.