Hospitality Reviews a Game Changer for Small Glamping Business
As caretakers of Dreamers Writing Farm, a small, family-run glamping business, we’ve had our fair share of experiences with hospitality reviews. These digital assessments, often considered crucial for businesses today, can range from encouraging to challenging to downright cruel. Hospitality reviews have become influential decision-making tools in our interconnected world, holding a profound influence over the choices made by travelers, which in turn can have a substantial impact on businesses in the ever-evolving hospitality landscape.
Positive reviews draw potential guests to our secluded glamping site. Karen Taylor, in her summer 2023 review, shared the experience of arranging a stay via AirBnB at the Dreamers Studio Apartment for her parents as a Mother’s/Father’s Day gift. She said:
They were very pleased with this surprise and said they had a very restful time. It was quiet and just what they wanted, and the accommodations were very clean. To sum it up, my mom said “I would go again for sure!”
Karen’s heartfelt gift and her parents’ delightful experience exemplify the trust and satisfaction our guests place in us.
Ahnaf Hasan, another Dreamers Writing Farm guest in the summer of 2023, also shared his experience, saying:
[Dreamers’] cabin is a wonderful experience and getaway from the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city. I highly recommend it as it will be a momentous experience of nature and lovely animals.
Reviews like Karen’s and Ahnaf’s act as word-of-mouth recommendations, amplifying a business’s reputation and attracting a wider customer base. They serve as powerful testimonials, building trust and credibility among potential customers. Recent data from TripAdvisor shows that 53% of global travelers won’t book a hotel that lacks reviews, and 80% read at least 6-12 reviews before making a booking decision.
Negative reviews, however, also serve a purpose. They provide constructive feedback, identifying shortcomings and guiding us towards improvements that enhance the overall experience. According to a survey by Statista, a majority of respondents stated that a bad review would make them question the quality of a hotel or restaurant. Negative reviews, while part of the landscape, have the potential to resonate deeply, impacting the livelihoods of families like ours who invest their hearts in creating unforgettable experiences.
Consider the review we received last summer from a dissatisfied guest who highlighted some issues with our tent’s closure mechanism. Our tents close the same way as all prospector tents, but this guest was not familiar with tents or camping. While we acknowledge that our glamping experience may not be flawless every day, this single negative review, though constructive in its criticism, led to a noticeable dip in our bookings for several days. It illustrated firsthand how even well-intentioned feedback can significantly influence our business. Reviews can at times include harsh critiques, and some reviews are even malicious or fake. In a setting where even a single negative review can cast a shadow over our hard-earned reputation, sometimes unfairly, this dynamic poses a unique challenge for businesses like ours.
Guests who come to Dreamers Writing Farm are seeking more than shelter; they yearn for an escape into nature, an enduring memory. Negative reviews discourage potential visitors, affecting our bookings and the lives we’ve built around this dream.
In the glamping world, each review is a piece of our story. As Amy Tobin shared in her Summer 2023 review, ‘The owners have curated an incredible experience here. Above and beyond my expectations. If you are a lover of travel and seeing the small beauties, you’ll feel the magic here.’ Amy’s words capture the essence of what we strive to provide—those small beauties, that magic, and an experience that exceeds expectations. Positive reviews like Amy’s not only paint vivid pictures of our secluded tents and bunkies but also reflect the enchanting embrace of nature and the tranquility we offer. They highlight exceptional service, cleanliness, and unique amenities, making them critical tools for attracting tourists. Reviews like these, where guests share their genuine delight, encourage other travelers to embrace the extraordinary experiences we offer.
Since customer experience is highly subjective, a single review will not necessarily reflect the overall quality of our business. For instance, during a particularly rainy week this summer, we noticed an interesting trend. Our review ratings dropped, and we received comments that included things like a ‘musty smell’ and observations that our goats didn’t come out of their houses. Both of these issues were directly related to the prolonged bad weather – the smell was of wet wood and moss due to our location in a forest, and our goats prefer to stay sheltered during heavy rain. It’s fascinating how weather conditions can influence perceptions. Bad weather often prompts guests to notice more details and find things to be picky about inside. This phenomenon highlights the subjectivity of customer experiences and how seasonal variations, off-days, poor weather, or isolated incidents can skew perceptions. Moreover, the anonymity of online reviews can encourage unjustified harshness or even false claims, making it crucial for readers to consider multiple reviews to ascertain value.
In all sectors, but particularly within the hospitality industry, reviewers play a crucial role in shaping the experiences of both businesses and fellow travelers. As reviewers, your words carry weight, and your feedback can have a lasting impact. It’s important to approach reviews with kindness and thoughtfulness, keeping in mind that behind every small hospitality business are hardworking individuals dedicated to providing a memorable experience for you.
Here are some tips for hospitality reviewers to consider:
- Balanced Feedback: While it’s essential to highlight any issues you encountered during your stay, try to provide balanced feedback. Instead of solely focusing on negatives, consider mentioning the positive aspects of your experience. This not only provides a more comprehensive view but also acknowledges the efforts made by the business.
- Constructive Criticism: If you encounter shortcomings during your visit, frame your feedback as constructive criticism rather than harsh judgment. Businesses genuinely value feedback that helps them improve. Be specific about the issues you faced and offer suggestions for how they could be addressed.
- Highlighting the Exceptional: Don’t forget to acknowledge exceptional service, outstanding cleanliness, or unique amenities that stood out during your stay. Positive feedback not only boosts the morale of hardworking staff but also helps potential guests make informed decisions.
- Consider External Factors: Be mindful of external factors that may have influenced your experience, such as weather conditions, seasonal variations, or isolated incidents. Remember that some issues may be beyond the business’s control.
- Accuracy and Honesty: Ensure that your review is accurate and honest. Avoid making false claims or exaggerations, as this can harm a business’s reputation unfairly. Transparency in your reviews contributes to a more trustworthy online community.
By following these tips, you contribute to a culture of growth and sustainability within the hospitality industry. Your reviews can help businesses like ours thrive and continue providing memorable experiences for travelers seeking something beyond the ordinary.
So, as you share your experiences through reviews, I’d like to ask anyone reading this article to recognize the hard work that goes into small hospitality businesses. When writing reviews, be kind and thoughtful, and remember that your words can shape the future of these ventures. By doing so, you’ll contribute to the growth and flourishing of hospitality businesses like Dreamers Writing Farm, ensuring a thriving hospitality landscape for all. Our story isn’t unique; it reflects the challenges and triumphs of countless small hospitality businesses. Our hope is that, in a digital age that is reshaping our interactions, reviews can help foster a culture of empathy and support. In our world, kindness in reviews is the compass guiding us forward.