I just returned from a week in Mexico and had a brilliant time, following in the footsteps of so many travelers before me, thanks to some strategic research into consumer reviews. From lodging to tours to restaurants, all my travel decisions were influenced by what I read online or what was recommended while there. The reviews I read were not 100% positive, but even reading the “bad” reviews made the businesses I chose appear more credible and let me anticipate some potential negatives; thus, I had more realistic expectations going into the experience and avoided some pitfalls other travelers experienced. In this respect, all reviews, good and bad, served a valuable purpose.

According to the BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey 2015:

  • 92% of consumers now read online reviews (vs. 88% in 2014)
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews (vs. 29% in 2014)
  • Star rating is #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business
  • 44% say a review must be written within 1 month to be relevant
  • Only 13% of consumers consider using a business that has a 1 or 2 star rating
  • 68% say positive reviews make them trust a local business more (vs. 72% in 2014)
  • Consumers are becoming more concerned about fake reviews

The businesses I frequented while in Mexico recognized the power of these reviews and many reminded us that if we enjoyed their services, they would appreciate our feedback on social media and travel sites. I had such a great time that I gladly signed in and added my two cents, happy to recommend their services. 

If you are not encouraging your customers to provide feedback through consumer reviews on your website and social media, you should. Reviews are almost as important as price in consumer buying decisions, they increase browse time on your website, and enhance sales up to 18% according to Reevoo stats. 

Embrace the legitimate consumer review. It is a powerful way to distinguish your business.