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Travel scams: How to use your trusted brand to counteract media scaremongering

Published on 31 July, 2018

The schools have broken up, the sunshine is (pretty much) non-stop and exhausted folks everywhere are searching for last-minute holiday bargains. This may be a popular time of year for holiday makers to grab a deal, but more and more people are starting to become increasingly cautious when booking their next trip.

It’s easy to see why, too. Recent figures show the number of booking scams increased by 25% in 2017, compared with the previous year, with victims losing £1,500 on average. With many of these scams being widely reported across the media, travellers are understandably worried about booking their next holiday online.

So, how can you build trust in your travel business? Here are five tips that will help you counteract the media scaremongering and improve your own brand reputation.

1. Make sure you’re contactable

Travel agent

Some travellers are nervous about booking through a website they’ve never used before, but simply having a friendly and helpful customer service team at the end of the line can help put those worries to bed. Don’t hide your office number and email address on a ‘contact us’ page, place them at the top of your website’s banner. For those customers not a fan of the phones, why not offer a live chat solution to answer those quick customer queries on the fly?

Once you’ve made the sale, don’t cut off all contact. Make it clear to the customer that they can contact you at any time if they have any concerns or queries; this will help instil confidence in your brand and can help ensure they book with you again!

2. Be present on social media

Social media isn’t just for memes (apparently). Having active and personable social media profiles helps show that you are a genuine company, with real staff and actual customers. Engaging directly with your customers via social portrays you as a transparent business that is willing to openly and actively answer queries and resolve issues. You can also share all of the wonderful stories, photos and reviews from your happiest customers, which will go a long way towards convincing indecisive travellers to book with you!

3. Write unique web copy

When you have hundreds of hotels or tours listed on your site, it can be tempting to copy and paste content from other sites to save time. Generating your own unique content, however, really is your best bet! Not only will it aid your SEO (Google penalises duplicate content), it can also help build trust. If travellers can see you’ve taken time to craft your own content, rather than simply copy it from other well-known sites, it will come across as more personal and engaging and reduce suspicion amongst sceptical jet setters. Additionally, if you can offer additional information your competitors can’t, people are likely to spend more time on your site and see you as the expert.

4. Use trust signals

Person leaving a review

When someone clicks-through to your website, you need to win their trust quickly. After all, there are plenty of other travel sites out there to choose from! Trusted logos such as ABTA and ATOL, prestigious award wins, and customer reviews should all be displayed prominently on your homepage. Customer reviews are particularly important; 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and consumers read an average of seven reviews before they trust a business.

Collecting reviews from an independent company is an excellent way to build trust, as it demonstrates the feedback you’re gathering is from real people. We live in an age where travellers won’t book a hotel or excursion without reading fellow travellers’ reviews first, so make sure the feedback you collect is easy to find by integrating it into the relevant tour/excursion/hotel page.

5. Be transparent with pricing

More and more travellers are becoming wary of hidden fees and ‘extras’, especially when hiring a car or booking a flight, so it’s vital to communicate what consumers get – and don’t get – when they book through your business. Nobody wants to call a business just to get a quick quote for their holiday or to understand some complex pricing package; if you can’t give them a clear price there and then, they’ll go elsewhere.

Make sure your pricing is as transparent as possible on your booking website. List exactly what’s included in the price, and what you offer as extras, so travellers feel at ease when booking through you. Where possible, make it easy for travellers to make changes to their trip, too. Mistakes are often made at the start of a booking, so the more flexible your service is, the more likely customers are to book with you again.

How do you build trust?

Has the rise in travel scams been affecting your travel business? What do you do to ensure consumers trust your brand? Let us know in the comments below!

If you’d like to find out more about Feefo, get in touch with our friendly sales team today.