Listening to your customers by asking for feedback is standard practice these days in the oh so competitive tourism industry. I find that a majority of tourism businesses ask for feedback via survey forms, in person, or by emailing travelers after they return from a trip. I agree that it is critical to find out how you are doing and continually seek new ways to improve your products and services and strive to not just meet but exceed expectations.
If asking for feedback from a paying customer after they return from a trip is so common, why do so few travel companies ask for feedback from prospects BEFORE they make a booking?
Giving visitors to your website every opportunity to submit feedback and offer suggestions, even if they have not initiated a booking, is a BookingCounts Best Practice to prove that you run a Reputable Tourism Business.
Fortunately adding a suggestion box is extremely simple to do and will pay off dividends quickly, especially if your tourism website gets a lot of traffic. You should already have a contact form on your site that allows your customers to get in touch by filling out a form and clicking a submit button.
If you don’t have a contact form and the only way for people to get in touch is by phone or email, read our earlier post to learn why it is critical that you offer an HTML “Contact Us” form as well.
Booking Contact Form – Let Me Count The Ways To Reach You
Why Getting Feedback is so Important to the Bottom Line
There are thousands of reasons why a visitor to your site might want to submit feedback or offer a suggestion. It is key that you make it as easy as possible for anyone to send you a note, otherwise nine times out of ten people won’t bother and you will miss out on this free opportunity to listen to your target market. No matter how small or insignificant a piece of feedback may seem to you, minor technical and content issues are of supreme importance to many of your prospects.
When a feedback message reaches your inbox pointing out a flaw or mistake that you were previously unaware of, you’ll thank yourself for adding a Suggestion Box and preventing the loss of revenue. Since you are asking people to spend their limited vacation time and money on your travel services (which can run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars) it is essential that you find out about issues quickly to fix before the damage adds up. This is why you should be grateful that so many visitors are willing to take time out of their day to share their thoughts and ideas.
I realize that in many cases English is not the first language of you and the people that run your travel business. While your company may be forgiven for a couple of spelling and grammatical mistakes, these minor problems add up to real concerns in the mind of your prospects.
What Kind of Feedback Do Travelers Want to Offer
Let’s take a look at some likely examples of what you might have waiting for you in your suggestion box. This list is just a sampling of the kinds of problems I have personally encountered on numerous tourism websites.
- Website does not display properly on my mobile device (e.g. iPhone or Android tablet)
- A link to a page or a downloadable document (e.g. PDF brochure) could not be found (404 Error)
- There are mistakes, typos, and/or grammatical errors on various web pages
- Pricing information is out of date or missing for one or more travel products
- Your make-a-booking feature (integration with reservation system) is broken or down
- Tour or activity scheduling or itinerary information is incomplete or missing
- Something annoying on the site (like music that won’t stop playing) is a big turn off
- The travel search box is not returning any results (when it should have)
- I have a great idea for a new tour, activity, itinerary, package, event, etc…
- I wish your prices were a bit lower or you included xyz for free (e.g. Free WiFi) because…
- Your policy about xyz is not customer friendly (e.g. refund, guarantee, payment terms, single-supplement)
- [Fill in the Blank] is the reason I will not make a booking today
How To Add a Tourism Website Suggestion Box
Step 1 – Create a new web page called “Suggestion Box”, using your standard web page template
Step 2 – Add a contact form on the page using HTML, drag and drop a contact form widget, or design a form on your external web form host
Consult our directory of Tourism Marketing Resources to find vendors that can help.
Step 3 – Include only 3 fields to make it simple and effortless to gather any and all visitor feedback
- “Your Feedback or Suggestion *” [use a multi-line textbox with at least 4 lines]
- “Your Name (Optional)”
- “Your Email Address (Optional – if you want a reply)”
Step 4 – Add a personal and genuine “Thank You” message that appears after the form is submitted along with a link to return to your site to continue their travel browsing.
Step 5 – Add a “Suggestion Box” text hyperlink or button (HTML button or create a custom image button) to a consistent place on every page of your website.
Here are some options to consider, taking into account your website design and where it looks best:
- In the header of your website as an image button
- In the footer of your website as a text link
- In your sidebar navigation (if your site has one) as an HTML button
Step 6 – Configure your tourism website suggestion and feedback form to deliver messages to a separate email address.
BookingCounts Smart Idea: Create a new Gmail account to receive and filter messages all in one place. For example if your business is called “Big Mountain Walking Tours”, create a Google account with username “BigMountainWalkingTours.Feedback”. Gmail has powerful and configurable settings for trapping spam, filtering email based on content, and creating rules to forward messages to other email addresses.
Step 7 – Set a daily reminder to check the suggestion inbox to respond to messages that require a reply. Track all suggestion data in a document or spreadsheet to share with your staff and for future consideration as you plan improvements.
Travel Website Feedback is a Gift!
By adding a Suggestion/Feedback box to your tourism website you have take a big step towards getting more bookings. Soliciting feedback from live prospects who are in the middle of planning a trip and have stumbled upon your site tells the world that you care about the opinions of travelers.
Visitors will start thinking of your business as a real company that is staffed by real people (and not just a travel website) who truly want to listen to opinions and fix problems. Even people that do not have any feedback to offer will appreciate your invitation to send feedback now or later. Being seen as a Reputable travel company will increase the likelihood that visitor planning their next trip will complete a booking.
Remember that suggestions and feedback are free gifts so treat them as such!