When people are uncertain about a purchase, they’ll look for supporting proof to help them make their decision; this is ‘social proof.’ Online reviews are a common form of social proof. We find these when we look for the right new running shoes or consider where to eat tonight.
When people are buying, or trying something new, or are traveling to a new part of the world, they may feel cautious and could be even more interested in reviews as social proof. Often they’re very close to booking or buying, they just need something, or someone, to help them take the leap.
A little proof that past guests feel they made the right decision can help potential guests feel confident enough to book an experience. Great reviews can boost your credibility and can help answer questions potential guests may still have when considering booking.
Great reviews can do more than draw attention from potential guests. We’ve noticed many hosts start to increase their experience rates once they’ve garnered enough ‘social proof’. Read Pricing Strategies for Experiences to hear how one host, Travis, has outlined a series of review goals for himself, allowing him to adjust his prices at each milestone.
Pro tip: Are your guests’ reviews raving about an aspect of your experience you don’t touch on in your description? Be sure to add this in so future guests are in the know!
Remember, there are other forms of social proof!
Don’t stop at your reviews to provide social proof to potential guests. Your photos alone can reflect social proof by showing engaged guests having fun and learning in interesting environments.
Have you lead tours, taught this skill, or been a leader in your community before you started hosting an experience? If you’ve already worked with 100 people, feel free to mention this in your experience listing! You may also want to note impressive guests, students, or attendees you’ve worked with in the past.
I started studying night photography on 11/12/00 – the day after the photographer missed the big Hawaiian sunset shot at my wedding. Now a professional photographer I have now taught night photography to over 1,700 people.
– Eric, host of SF Night Photo Workshop
Some hosts create a unique hashtag for their guests to use on Twitter or Instagram. A unique hashtag is a fun way for all past guests and potential guests to review moments from your past experiences.
What should you do if you have no ‘social proof’?
Don’t panic! Reviews are just one determining factor in a guests decision making. There are many other potential deciding factors you have to work with. Here are a few suggestions you can try to build initial social proof:
- Consider offering a reduced introductory price
- Highlight the quality of your experience in your listing
- Have an exclusive offer for your first guests
- Reach out to your network, asking them to join you on your experience and leave feedback
Don’t forget to continue to build your reviews, even after you’ve received a few of those 5-star ratings! Recent reviews are also valuable, so keep being a thoughtful host and don’t forget to encourage each guest to leave you feedback.