TripAdvisor has recently announced that it will allow users to review airlines. Global travel news site TNooz reported that TripAdvisor is currently testing a new ‘designs and features’ page for the service.
At present, the airline reviews feature is only available on TripAdvisor’s English sites, but it will be made available in other languages in due course.
TripAdvisor has issued a set of guidelines on what should and shouldn’t be included in airline reviews. The site said that reviews should include:
- Airline experiences from the past year.
- Only reviews of a single airline’s products and services. Therefore, if the user experienced trips with multiple carriers, they should review each individually.
- Comments on the airline that the user flew with, as opposed to marketed code share online. For instance, if the flight number was ‘American Airlines AA1234’ but the user’s flight was operated by British Airways, the user should focus their review on the latter, not the former.
- One leg or multiple legs of the user’s flight, as on the same airline.
TripAdvisor also outlined what users shouldn’t include in a review of an airline. This included:
- Comments about any package components offered by the airline in question e.g. hotel or ground transport.
- Any commentary on travel agencies, which includes online travel agencies.
- Any discussion of mileage programmes offered by the airline in question. This includes redemptions as well as questions about/to the airline.
The site added that questions and concerns on topics such as mileage programme rules, issues with airport staff/facilities and third-party bookings should still be discussed on the ‘Air Travel’ forum.
Also, TripAdvisor said: “As we do for forum posts containing reviews of properties listed on our site, when they are reported to us, we will remove topics and posts published in the Air Travel Forum (or any other Travel and Destination forums) that contain reviews of airlines listed on our site.”
Importance of reviews
This development could have a huge impact on the reputation of airline companies across the world. An earlier Tnooz article reported that US travel company Expedia has been testing out flight reviews since early 2014.
When speaking at the Phocuswright event in Dublin in May 2015, Expedia’s senior vice president and head of retail, Gary Morrison, said his company expected to amass more than five million airline reviews by the close of 2015.
Morrison revealed that consumers have been eager to share flight feedback. Also, the presence of reviews in search results has a clear impact on conversations concerning particular airlines.
Here we see the importance of reviews. Figures quoted by Rezdy, an independent booking software provider, show that 93% of global travellers say their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews. Meanwhile according to its Factsheet, TripAdvisor reaches 350 million unique monthly users.
Therefore, evidence suggests that TripAdvisor’s airline reviews will reach a large of your consumer base. Furthermore, reviews are seen as a trusted source of information by Google, so it’s likely they’ll rank for the first page of a search for a company name.
There’s a good chance that if an airline receives an unwanted review on TripAdvisor, it’ll be seen be by its consumer base and influence their decision to utilise the company’s services, depriving the business of vital revenue.
In other words, with the emergence of TripAdvisor’s airline review feature, it’s more important than ever that your company has a strong review management strategy. This strategy should include:
- Review monitoring: The sooner you spot an unwanted review, the sooner you can react to it and limit its impact on your company’s reputation online. Utilise services such as Google Alerts so you will know about any unwanted reviews as soon as possible.
- Responding quickly: No consumer wants to feel as though you don’t value their custom. Respond to unwanted reviews as quickly as possible to illustrate to the consumer that you care and want to provide them with the best experience possible. Fail to take this action and the disgruntled customer could generate more content that may impact your airline’s reputation online.
- Taking it offline: If at all possible, when contacting the reviewer try to persuade them to discuss their grievance away from online channels of communication. This’ll ensure that they don’t continue to post unwanted content concerning your airline on review sites, forums and social media.
- Reacting to feedback: At the end of the day, an unwanted review is an opportunity. If a customer highlights a problem with your service, the issue could be dissuading other consumers from bringing their business your way. Use feedback to improve the service you provide so you can increase your business’ revenue stream.
Course of action
The launch of TripAdvisor’s airline reviews service is a big development for travel companies around the world. It’ll allow consumers to post reviews which could influence the purchasing decisions of other consumers, depriving the airlines in question of business. Therefore, it’s more essential than ever that you develop a robust review strategy to ensure you protect your airline’s reputation online.