IMPORTANCE OF CONSUMER REVIEWS IN TOURISM

Written by Stephen Odongo – Kichaka Tours and Travel

Technology has made any information needed by consumers easily available. This enables them to discover, research and ultimately purchase products or services. Consumers of products and services demand information not only from the manufactures and providers but also from their fellow consumers. Feedback of people who have used a product or a service is very important to someone interested in making a purchase of the same. This is where reviews come in. According to European commission study, 82% of respondents read consumer reviews before shopping.

Consumers of tourism services are also not left behind in this endeavour. They will often read reviews of past consumers which will guide them on the level of service to expect from a particular supplier. Presently millions of user reviews related to tourism and travel are available online on, suppliers’ websites and digital platforms. Digital platform like Tripadvisor has over 450 million reviews related to travel

Feedback that users can get on digital platforms are usually divided between

  1. Reviews which is generally more qualitative comments and descriptions
  2. Ratings which are quantitative rankings corresponding to degrees of satisfaction to the users

According to UNWTO, Digital platforms which provide travel-related content generated directly by users can be a very useful source of information for consumers. This is not only true for the above mentioned review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp, that are known amongst others for their user-generated content concerning destinations, attractions and businesses, but also for websites traditionally known as booking engines, such as Booking.com, Airbnb.com or Thefork.com, which have reviews integrated in their presentation of properties, restaurants and other amenities.

For Tour Operators in Tourism, reviews are also very important because they convince their customers that they will be able to get quality services. An operator with a lot of positive reviews usually has an upper hand over the one with fewer reviews. Negative review has an impact on how tourists view a tour company. A lot of negative reviews are a disaster .This sometimes sparks intense competition between Tour Operators with each trying to have as many positive reviews as possible.

Some Tour Operators have been known to use unethical means  to get as many positive reviews as possible. This can include having friends or relatives review them to offering freebies to influence the review rating. This vice has been widely discussed up to the level of UNWTO World Committee on Tourism Ethics. Some of digital platforms like Tripadvisor and Safari bookings where Kichaka Tours and Travel is a member have come up with a raft of measures to stop this illegal practice. Therefore these are very credible places to find honest and credible consumer reviews.

Kichaka Tours and Travel  usually encourages their guests to give  feedback on the level of our services through independent digital platforms. Every guest is invited to comment and rate the level of service delivery using different parameters as provided by Tripadvisor and Safaribookings .So far the overall ratings is  5 star. Guest reviews enables Kichaka Tours and Travel gauge its services and continuously improve. Staff at Kichaka Tours and Travel staff carefully analyses each guest comment which is then put into consideration when planning tours. The overall beneficiary is the guests.

Reviews are very important because they provide information which is used to improve services offered to the consumers. Travellers are encouraged to use services of Tour Operators with reviews on independent digital platforms Like Kichaka Tours and Travel. Providers of poor service are never brave to list themselves in these platforms.

Whether it’s a wildebeest migration safari or Kenya Bush and Beach ,ensure that you have a back ground check of the Tour Operator reviews from its past customers.