The Underlying Problem
As unfortunate as it is, it’s a lot easier to find a bad review than a good one. It’s the nature of online reviews. People with negative experiences, no matter the severity, are more inclined to leave a nasty review. Happy customers go home with a smile on their face, but never even think about going to TripAdvisor, sharing their experiences.
Keeping up your golf course’s image online is tougher than ever. Since there are hundreds of different review websites out there, even recognizing that there is a problem is becoming nearly impossible. In an ideal world, we would respond to every negative review and flag reviews that have been created maliciously. However, I don’t know any golf facility that has the time to make that happen.
Good Reviews = Good for SEO
The power of online reviews go far beyond the persuasion of customers. Reviews affect search engine optimization as well. Google, Yahoo, and Bing have their own review platforms that are used as ranking factors for local businesses.
Do a search for “golf courses” on any search engine you’d like. You will almost always find golf courses with higher star ratings and positive reviews. Courses with lower star ratings, or no ratings at all, are typically ignored.
Better star ratings will also increase the number of clicks your site will yield and promote other positive reviewers to add their two cents. The snowball effect will help your site rank more prominently in the future.
How to Manage Your Golf Course’s Reputation
If your course has bad online reviews or no reviews at all, there are a few things you can do to help out.
1. Ask Happy Customers for Reviews – It’s really that easy. Politely ask your regulars to leave a nice, short review on your facility. If you have a tablet laying around, set it on the counter and encourage customers to use it to write reviews on Yelp, Google+, or any other local business review site.
2. Reply to Reviews – Most review websites have the capability for the business owner to reply. Use this to your advantage. In the nicest, most professional way possible, respond to the review by apologizing or explaining the situation from your end. People appreciate it and you may be able to win a customer back.
3. Flag Inappropriate Reviews – Sometimes there can be a review that is totally uncalled for. In this instance, it is advisable to flag the review for removal. However, the review needs to be malicious or slanderous to do so. Not every bad review qualifies for removal.