This winter has proven to be challenging, to say the least. Record-breaking temperatures and snowfall that had some cities worried about unprecedented flows have resulted in weak performance for many brick and mortar businesses that depend on walk-in traffic.
With many in hibernating mode, window shopping and al fresco dining have not been the activities of choice. In fact, according to a study conducted by researcher Francesca Gino, bad weather negatively impacts every social interaction, with the exception of work performance. Her research theorizes that good weather leads to distraction and divided focus, as workers consider their entire recreational options available outdoors. (Check out the study: “Bad Weather? Your Business is More Likely to Get Negative Reviews”)
Thankfully, spring is just around the corner, and it promises a variety of benefits for local businesses that stand to garner the attention of consumers who have been cooped up for a very long time, and have a pent-up desire to consume and enjoy material goods rooted in a long and harsh winter.
If you have been impacted by winter and suffered a slow-down in businesses and, consequently, a decrease in the count and quality of online reviews, then we want you to be hopeful. Get ready to capture the attention and dollars of your guests through the delivery of superior quality. Great service plus great weather equals more and better customer reviews.
Better Weather Improves Experiential Perception Across the Board
Multiple studies point to the fact that better weather leads to improved experiential perception. All things being equal, a business of any type is likely to get better ratings and reviews, and more enthusiastic characterization from customers when the interaction has taken place on a day with mild temperatures and sunshine.
Extreme heat and extreme cold as well as rain, wind, and snow have the opposite effect. Happy people write happy reviews. With an estimated 20 percent of the US population suffering some level of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), it is no surprise that a little sunshine can quickly turn things around.
Restaurants’ Cover Count Increases with Access to Al Fresco Dining
Restaurateurs, rejoice! The foodservice industry always sees an increase in the volume and quality of reviews, as well as the average star rating, as soon as spring arrives. In addition to experiential perception, customers heading to restaurants are likely to have real improvements in their overall experience, with staff at their best, access to al fresco dining, and better seasonal vegetables and fruits. More capacity, better moods, and fresher menus are good news to a restaurant’s online reputation.
Hotel Guests Are Finally Able to Make Full Use of Outdoor Facilities
Having access to a full array of outdoor activities commonly found at hotels and resorts gives guests a perception of added value. In fact, for hotels where outdoor recreational facilities are present, one out of every three reviews mentions amenities and features such as the outdoor pool or jogging trail.
During spring, when facilities are not yet dealing with high occupancy (often associated with customer-experience concerns), there is a window of service and product delivery that is ideal when it comes to generating high-score reviews. Facilities coming out of a challenging winter have experienced deep-cleaning rotations, renovations are often completed, and staffing increases in preparation for high season.
All of these elements combined are the perfect recipe for improved customer reviews. If your hotel is working on improving your popularity rank on TripAdvisor, then this is the time to do it. By moving up during spring, you will set the stage for superior sales and increased price elasticity during high season.
(Did you know that TripAdvisor lets renovated hotels delete old, outdated reviews?)
Realtors Can Maximize the House-Touring Experience
As the housing segment recovers, the experts predict that 2015 will be a year where investors will release homes into the market, and more traditional first-time buyers and those trading up will enter the market. First-time buyers don’t have the expertise or inclination to see potential or “good bones.”
They are looking for superior curb appeal, and spring has a special way of reenergizing the landscape, making real property incredibly attractive, which puts realtors in a better light. Home buyers will not only provide reviews of the services delivered by the realtors but will also voice their opinion about their sensorial experience during the shopping process. Smart realtors will get the best value for their efforts by selecting properties that have been staged inside and out, and scheduling tours when the weather will be the most advantageous.
Remodelers Are Able to Focus on Outdoor, Brag-Friendly Projects
There is something about spring that makes homeowners want to make improvements to the outdoor appearance of their homes. This is great news for remodelers and contractors. If you are a remodeler, then focus on providing high-quality finishes, and don’t be shy about sharing your before-and-after photos with the client.
This is especially effective if you also ask the client to review you by using the Google+ Local review platform, which explicitly allows for the business to request a review face to face. By encouraging your customers to submit a review, and by giving them the perfect multimedia to upload, you are setting the stage for an improved online brand image with great potential for lead generation.
Spring Fever Triggers Engagement with Spas and Salons
Beauty salons and spas report an increase in traffic in the double digits as soon as the weather improves. Why not take advantage of this trend by creating packages and offers that expose your clients to services and products that are not as strong in your online profiles?
For example, if you offer facials, but the bulk of your online presence and online reviews talk about your hair services, then think about offering a discounted facial in tandem with hair treatments. Don’t be shy about asking your clients to provide an online review assessing their experience specifically related to the facial. Use this season a springboard for a successful summer by making sure all your review-site profiles are up to date and reflect the best that your salon has to offer.
If you have not yet turned on the switch on a strong review and reputation management tool, let us show you how to get it done. Take care of it before having to shift your focus to operational matters during high season.