Tips & Trends

Understanding Your AdWords Quality Score

What is a Quality Score?

Your AdWords Quality Score is a 1 – 10 number given to each keyword in your ad campaign. It’s Google’s way of telling you how well it expects your ad to perform, and how likely it is to display your ad.

Each keyword’s quality score is calculated by estimating the expected clickthrough rate, ad relevancy and landing page relevancy. The more likely a searcher is to find the information they’re looking for by clicking on your ad, the higher your score will be.

Remember: Google is looking out for their customers, and only want to show the best, most helpful ads they can.

Where can I find it?

You can find your Quality Score by heading to the ‘Keywords’ tab on your AdWords dashboard. To get there, first go to the ‘Campaign’ tab, then click on ‘Keywords.’ Locate the ‘Status’ column, and hover above or click on the white speech bubble next to each keyword.

It’ll list your Quality Score, as well as your expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance and landing page experience. Each of these will be rated as either Below Average, Average or Above Average.

Why is it important?

Your final ad rank on Google’s search page will weigh your Quality Score against factors like the amount you bid, geographic performance and device targeting.

While your score isn’t the only factor that goes into your ranking, it can still affect anything from your ad position to your cost-per-click. The higher your score, the better your chances of your ad landing on the top of the search results page. In fact, a high Quality Score can land you on the top of the Google search page, even if your bid is slightly lower than the competition. Google will always choose a more relevant ad over any other option.

How do I improve my score?

Even top marketers struggle to achieve ‘Above Average’ ratings – but that doesn’t mean a high Quality Score is out of your reach. Here’s what you can do:

Tightly segment keywords within your ad groups.

Create ad groups that focus on three or less keywords. Identify a keyword that’s important to your business, then build an ad, an ad group, and any ad extensions around that specific word or phrase.

Use that keyword while creating your ad – in the headline, in the description lines, even in the display URL. Having your keyword exactly match the text within your ad will instantly boost your ad relevancy. Although it can be tedious, creating new ads for each unique keyword is the only way to consistently earn a high ad relevancy rating.

Match your keywords to the content on your landing page.

Make sure each ad group has its own unique landing page. Always use specific landing pages when you have the option. If your website has dedicated pages for each separate tour or activity you offer, you should never send an ad back to your homepage. Always direct it to the page that would be most relevant to the searcher.

For example, if your business runs whale watching tours by both boat and by kayak, you should create two separate ad groups, with two distinct ads and two unique landing pages.

Revist, restructure, repeat.

Your Quality Score can change over time based on your ad’s performance. While it’s tempting to set it and forget it, it’s important that you check back on your ad groups to audit their success. If you have keywords that aren’t performing, don’t be afraid to make changes or stop bidding on them altogether.

The bottom line:

When it comes to building your AdWords campaign, think quality, not quantity. While bidding on more keywords may seem like the shortest route to more customers, more conversions, and more revenue, it can actually slow you down. Create specific ads that link to relevant landing pages, and your Quality Score and ROI will start to increase.

Looking for more AdWords help? Check out our experts’ advice here.

AdWords Tips For Tourism Businesses

Our Client Strategy & Marketing Team loves AdWords. Like really, really loves AdWords. So much so, that they recently took things to the next level and became Certified Google Partners. This means they’re officially recognized by Google as AdWords experts, having proven they have the experience and know-how to advise on successful marketing campaigns for tourism businesses.

Jenny Hadden

Need help reaching AdWords nirvana? Our experts are offering their favorite tips and tricks. Let’s dive in:

Putting time and work into your website to make it attractive, readable, and navigable is one of the best things you can do to improve conversions and rank better on search.

Many business owners want to jump into paid advertising, but it’s more vital that your website has a great user experience first before you move on to advertising. If it’s too difficult to find info or even the ‘Book Now’ button on your website, then 70% or more of your visitors will bounce off even if you brought qualified people to your site who might have been a good candidate to buy!

Work on having a quality, mobile-optimized website first, then launch targeted and retargeted paid advertising campaigns to receive qualified leads who will be ready to buy when they land on your site!

Jenny Hadden, Lead Marketing Analytics Associate, Client Strategy & Marketing Team

Ali Gourley

When starting your first AdWords campaign, it’s important to choose relevant and specific keywords. One of the most helpful tricks I have learned, is to keep this table in my back pocket when creating AdWords campaigns. The table describes the modifiers you can add to keywords to increase your reach or make your keywords more specific.

I recommend that clients start specific so that they can ensure their ads are relevant to the search terms potential customers are looking for. After data is gained about these specific keywords, you can broaden your search terms and continue testing. It’s important to track how your keywords are doing and make changes appropriately.

Leveraging Keywords

Ali Gourley, Project Coordinator, Client Strategy & Marketing Team

Charlie Dunn

Tip #1 – Utilize Ad Extensions

When advertising on the Google Search Network be sure to utilize Ad Extensions to increase click-through rate and in many cases ROI.

Here’s a tid bit from Google about this:

If two competing ads have the same bid and quality, the ad with greater expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher ad position than the other.

For the tourism industry, particularly effective ad extensions include location extensions, review extensions, site link extensions, and callout extensions. (All image examples below are from Google).

Location Extension

Location Extension

Review Extension

Review Extension

Sitelink Extension

Sitelink Extension

Callout Extension

Callout Extension

Ad extensions can be included at no extra cost to the advertiser. You are charged the same cpc for extension clicks as if someone were to click on the headline of your ad with no extensions.

Tip #2 – Utilize Bid Adjustments

Taking advantage of your analytics data and leveraging bid adjustments is a great way to increase ROI. Bid adjustments allow you to show your ad more or less often depending on when visitors are likely to convert.

Bid adjustments can be set for dimensions like time of day, device type, or geographic location. Google recommends starting with bid adjustments around +25% of the max cost per click, however each advertiser will need to evaluate their own budget to determine what bid adjustment is appropriate.

– Charlie Dunn, Project Coordinator, Client Strategy & Marketing Team

We’re Google Certified To Bring You AdWords Success!

We have something shiny and new to show you!

PHOTO: Google Partner Badge

See that badge right there? We earned it. We are now officially a certified Google Partner.

The badge was awarded to our Client Strategy and Marketing team – a team dedicated entirely to (you guessed it!) enhancing our clients’ online marketing and digital strategy. The certification acts as an official stamp of approval from Google, demonstrating that we’re trusted to consult on AdWords advertising to increase online tour bookings and improve brand awareness.

How FareHarbor Earned Its Google Partner Status

PHOTO: Author Jenny Hadden (far right) with the Client Strategy & Marketing team

The badge cuts straight to the chase. It signifies we’re a Google business partner proven to have happy, healthy clients on the AdWords marketing channel. To qualify for the certification, we first needed to pass a series of tests and requirements to prove we had mastered the product. Google then performed an in-depth audit of our account, ultimately awarding us with an Above Average rating.

In addition, every member of the team passed the AdWords multi-test certification exam. We rocked advanced exams ranging from Fundamental, Display and Search to Video and Mobile Advertising. Going forward, we’ll be required to annually retake the tests to prove our continued knowledge.

The goal is keep us both relevant and innovative. Paid advertising requires both, as it’s an art and a science. Creative text and copy mix with real data to tell us what resonates with an audience. Understanding and using data better than any other tour booking company is what sets us apart.

AdWords Report Card

Here are some of the stats that helped us earn our status as an official partner:

• We’ve seen as much as a 300% return on ad spend (ROAS) in one month.

• A client who spends thousands on ads had an average click-through-rate (CTR – the ratio of people who clicked on an ad compared to the total number who saw it) grew from .97% to 4.43% after the first month of working with us. Their cost-per-click (CPC – the amount you pay for someone to click an ad) decreased by 13% in the same time period.

• Monthly we contribute to a combined $25,000+ in online revenue assisted by AdWords.

• A client, prior to working with our team, had been losing money on Adwords. We advised on how they could restructure their work and in 2 months, ROAS improved to 200%, CTR increased from 1.66% to 3.41% and their CPC decreased by 10%.


And we’re just getting started!

A Guide to Upselling For Tourism Businesses

Mastering the art of upselling is a matter of offering something of true value to a customer already making a purchase. For tour operators and activity businesses, this poses a unique opportunity since in tourism, the product is the experience. The best opportunity to upsell is by offering an item – a branded glass, photo package or experiential add-on – that elevates the experience. Done right, you have the potential to both increase customer satisfaction and raise your bottom line. It’s really the gift that keeps on giving.

Stay Within The Check-out Flow

On average, eCommerce conversion rates in the travel industry hover between 2% – 4%. When you have a customer sitting in your check-out flow and committed to making a purchase, it’s essential that you make good use of their time. They have the credit card out, their mind is set. This is your best opportunity to enhance their purchase with an additional sale.

If you have merchandise you prefer to sell in-store, don’t neglect the online check-out. Offering guests a bundle package or discount on later purchases, much like Yazoo Brewing does with their $17 for $25 “Yazoo Swag Voucher,” is a great way to secure a future purchase. Strike while the iron’s hot, and seal in purchases on one single screen.

Keep It Relevant

The check-out flow should feel cohesive. Always align the product or add-on you’re looking to upsell to the customer’s initial purchase. If you’re selling multiple activities, offer a product that’s most relevant to the activity the customer is booking. Think critically about what would enhance their experience. While a photo package works great for a zipline course, it’s an unlikely option for someone going on a brewery tour.

Choose wisely. Remember that while the item needs to be relevant and exciting to the customer, it also needs to be cost effective for you as the business owner. Opt for popular items that are simple to distribute.

Limit Options

As the notorious jam study taught us, choice is fun, but it’s not lucrative. The study was simple. Psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper took jam samples to a local grocery store, setting up one table with 24 samples of jam, and the other with a limited selection of 6. While more people stopped to taste jam at the table with a larger selection, fewer people made a purchase. In the end, the limited selection drew in more paying customers.

Why? Because having to decide between 24 flavors is far more challenging than choosing between 6. This concept is alive and well when it comes to your online check-out. Minimize the friction of making a purchase by offering only one or two extras. The goal is to make sure the upsell is as simple as a single click.

Items without color, size or price variations make excellent add-ons. For example, if you’re running a distillery tour, forgo offering t-shirts and instead offer a one-click product like a branded glass.

Bonus: FareHarbor clients enjoy an added bonus when it comes to upselling. If the customer booked their experience online or was booked manually through the backend, their payment information is safely and securely encrypted in the PCI compliant cloud. At any time during the tour or activity, you’re able to accept payment for upgrades or extras by simply pulling up the customer’s information and adding the charge to their stored payment information. Accessible from any device, you can sell add-ons from anywhere with just a few simple clicks.

The Tour Operator’s Quick Guide To Facebook Advertising

Once you’ve created and optimized your business’ Facebook page, it’s time to put it to work. With the ultimate goal of using your page to increase online bookings, the best place to start is with Facebook advertising. Simple and effective, Facebook ads give you the ability to target and raise brand awareness within your own tour and activity market.

Utilize the platform to get people talking about your business, making sure that your ads are targeted towards the people who are most likely to be interested in the type of tour you are offering. As opposed to other types of advertising, Facebook allows you to dig even deeper by targeting not only specific demographics, but more narrow categories like people traveling on vacation in and around your tour location.

Getting Started Clicks to Facebook

You’ll find all the tools you need to get started in the Facebook Ads Manager. This tool is the motherboard of Facebook advertising. You’ll use it daily to create, edit and monitor ads.

When creating a Facebook ad from the Ads Manager dashboard, you’ll be prompted to chooose from different ad objectives. Working towards the ultimate goal of increasing online bookings, you should select the ad objective of “send people to your website.” From there, enter the URL of your business to proceed to the audience page. This is where the real fun begins – highly customizable targeting will allow you to hand select your future audience.

Targeting Targeting on Facebook

In order to make the most out of your ads, you’ll need to determine a specific, targeted audience for each ad. Facebook offers an incredible range of targeting metrics, including: location, age, gender, language, interests, behaviors, and connections. Select the metrics most relevant to your purpose, depending on the type of ad you are creating and what your final goal is.

For your first ads, you’ll want to focus on the following:

1) Target a specific age group that relates to your typical customer profile.

2) Target both genders, unless there is a reason to specify.

3) Select “More demographics”, “Life events”, and then “Away from hometown”, to target people who are vacationing or traveling in your area.

4) Add interests that relate to your specific tour or activity. For example, if you run a sunset booze cruise, target people who have expressed an interest in drinking beer and wine.

In the right sidebar, you’ll notice that the size of your target audience begins to shrink as you become more specific with your targeting demographics. In this case, less is more. A smaller, more focused audience will show more conversions than a larger, unrefined group. Know who your audience is, and create focused ads that speak directly to them.

The Budget Budget Facebook Advertising Before finalizing your ad, you’ll need to set a daily budget. This can start as low as $5 per day. As you play around with your budget, a sliding scale on the right sidebar will show the potential number of people you can reach each day in relation to the budget you set. Start low and slowly increase your budget as you see results.

Designing the Ad
When it comes to building your ad, Facebook gives you the option to upload your own visual or choose from a library of free stock images. If you have beautiful, hi-res images of your tour or activity – use them! If you don’t, Facebook’s extensive free library will allow you to choose up to six.

Your image will be the first thing people notice. Take care to select an image that speaks to your business’ brand, captivates the viewer’s imagination and ignites positive emotion. The goal is draw in the viewer and deliver a consistent, engaging message about your business.

The ad text is meant to complement the message tied to your image. Write in a tone that’s relevant to your brand, and specific to your audience. Imagine your ideal customer – their age, demographic, average income, interests – and create copy that would appeal directly to them.

Each section of the ad will have a character limit. Keep your text concise and to the point, focusing on one or two main features of your tour, activity or experience. When that’s complete, add in a call-to-action, inviting the viewer to “Learn More” or “Book Now.”

Final Steps
Once your ad is approved and on the newsfeed, your role switches from creator to editor. Check in on your ad’s performance on a regular basis, making edits to your budget and content as necessary. To get the best performance out of your advertisements, continue to build ads with different copy or unique visuals, then compare their conversion and engagement rates to the originals. Use this data to continually edit and improve your ads.

Continue evolving your strategy as you go. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to Facebook advertising. It’s all about discovering what works for your unique business.

A Guide To TripAdvisor Reviews From The #2 Tour In The Country

For most travelers, the journey begins online. Before they’ve purchased a ticket or packed their bags, they’ve already spent hours online researching, comparing, repeat.

As a business owner in the tourism sector, this can either be really great – or incredibly terrifying. Maintaining a positive presence on review sites like TripAdvisor, which has over 200 million traveler reviews, can be as relevant to the success of a company as the quality of their product.

So how do you make sure you’re doing it right? We figured there was no one better to ask than our friends Luke and Amber over at Real New York Tours, whose business was recently named the #2 tour in the country by the review site giant itself.

Rated the #1 tour in New York City, with over 4,500 reviews and a 5-bubble rating, they’re either wizards or just the best at what they do. Either way, we had to hear their perspective on what it takes to reach TripAdivsor nirvana. We asked them a few questions – here’s what Luke had to say:

Real New York Tours

What do you focus on to get such strong reviews?

For years, people have asked me what our secret is to getting such great reviews. I wish I had some great secret recipe to share with them, some wisdom that my grandfather shared with me.

Fortunately, the answer is so simple that one almost feels silly asking the question. You do great work! If people feel inspired by your tour, if your passion is infectious, you are going to leave them with memories that last a lifetime. You can’t buy passion and hard work – either you have passion or you don’t. You either have a great work ethic or you don’t!

We focus not just on great storytelling, but also on the customer. People come to NYC with a lot of anxiety and trepidation. We try and strip that away. We want them to feel safe, feel that they are in the hands of people who care about not just about their tour experience but also their well being.

For example, I once had a family with a newborn. The mother had to feed her baby and felt uncomfortable doing it in public. We happened to be just a few blocks from my apartment, so I took them there so she could feed her child comfortably. In the meantime, they got to see what a New York City apartment was like!

I even once traded shoes with a customer whose feet were killing them. Of course, this is not the norm. But if you can make folks feel like they are spending the day with a friend rather than a stranger you’ll be amazed at how far your praises will be sung.

What’s your strategy for asking people to review you on TripAdvisor?

I think the worst thing you can do is be pushy when trying to get folks to write a review. Your work itself should inspire your customers to want to write a review, but a reminder doesn’t hurt. Often at the end of a tour I’ll ask my group how they found us. If it happened to be through TripAdvisor I’ll say something like, “Well if you found us there due to the kindness of someone spreading the love about our company in a review, we’d be very grateful if you continue to spread that love forward.” DONE! Nice and simple, not forceful or pushy.

Many folks will say absolutely on the spot, but remember they are on vacation and when they get home they are thrust back into the stress of everyday life. I’ll always wait at least a week to let folks settle back in and get acclimated and then send a nice, friendly email thanking them for choosing our company along with a TripAdvisor link and reminder that if they had a great time and would like to share it with others, it would be much appreciated.

Why do you think your company has received so many reviews?

One thing I’ve realized in the last 8 years of doing tours in NYC is that people are more apt to write a review if they had either an amazing experience or a really bad experience. If their experience was mediocre or just “good,” it’s often not enough to inspire them to take the time, or they simply forget. That’s why we try and create memories that will last a lifetime.

For that reason, our focus at Real New York Tours has always been about great customer service and providing a tour that is not like every other cookie cutter tour. I also think the fact that we are a small, family-run business resonates with our customers. We aren’t a big, impersonal corporation. When people call us they are always pleasantly surprised when they find out I’m the owner of the company. I guess they assume I’m in some big office, with a big desk, and a panoramic view of the city, and don’t even know my guides’ first names. That’s just not the case.

We are a tight knit family at Real New York Tours. Our guides are our family. We get together every other week for dinner and drinks and discuss any problems that need to be hashed out. Word spreads from the guides about the nature of our company. The clients hear this and feel like an extended member of our family. It makes them want to contribute, and so they do so with reviews.

We also do give money to a few charitable organizations, one being The Jane Lloyd Fund, an organization that helps people living with cancer deal with the financial strains of paying their bills during chemo and radiation. We care about our community, we care about our employees and we care about our customers. In a nutshell, good karma engenders good karma. I truly believe this.

How do you deal with negative feedback?

Negative feedback can be very tricky. You always want to give the customer the benefit of the doubt, but only to a certain extent. For instance, I’ve had people complain that they were on a tour and that hardly any historical information was given. Now immediately I know this person was either not listening, didn’t like their tour guide or the tour for some reason, or was not on our tour at all. As I mentioned, we are like a family and I know exactly how much historical info our guides are giving.

So first you have decide whether this person was actually on your tour, and you can do that by simply sending them a nice email through TripAdvisor to apologize that they were not happy with their tour, and ask who their guide was. I often offer them a refund as well. Now if that person was genuinely on your tour, they will respond and tell you their guide’s name and most likely accept your refund (or sometimes not). At least you have their name and you can know for sure if they were actually on your tour. We have had people writing fraudulent reviews in the past and TripAdvisor is usually very good at taking down these reviews if you can prove that most likely they were not on your tour.

If they were genuinely a customer and you still know that their review had no validity, then you hope that through emailing with them you can get to the bottom of their experience. Through this process I’ve found out that people booked their tour without reading all the info, and were expecting a bus not a walking tour. At least then I know the true problem and that it was not my guide and the historical info.

Now if someone genuinely has a legitimate gripe, you have to take responsibility. Especially if your guide made a mistake. You need to own up to it.

If you write a self righteous, angry management response, it doesn’t look good. People will respect your company if you own up to a mistake. I always offer to refund people that are not happy. That’s how much I believe in our product. If someone didn’t have a good experience then we haven’t earned their money. Now sometimes their complaints are really petty and it can be maddening, but being professional and calm will always make you look better in the end. Believe me the public knows when they read a petty negative review that the person writing it is just a difficult person who might always find something wrong. You have to trust the majority of the public to weed through the nonsense.

But I guarantee you, sometimes great customer service will even change the mind of a disgruntled reviewer. I’ve had people take their review down because we killed them with kindness and they felt bad for saying the negative things they did. Always respond to reviews rather then react. If you need to, write a furious response just to get it off your chest – but never send it. Respond, don’t react, and if all else fails take it up with TripAdvisor.

What part of your business do you find people review the most?

It’s always about the content of the tour, the guides’ friendliness, charm and ability to answer questions and the customer service they got when booking. We get so many wonderful compliments about our in-house manager, Kristy, and my wife Amber and just how helpful they are and how easy they made the booking process.

What role does TripAdvisor play in your business?

TripAdvisor has helped bring back the power of middle class and small family businesses in our country, whether they know it or not. My wife and I would never have been able to compete with the big wigs, especially in a city like New York, if not for TripAdvisor.

Their platform has been a godsend to the consumer and the business. They have changed the way people do business and they have been incredibly gracious about it, never demanding any financial compensation which is unheard of in today’s dog-eat-dog world.

My wife is pregnant with twins as I write this. It’s our first venture into having a family and I have to say that without the help of TripAdvisor, we might not have had the ability to take such a huge step in our lives. They should be commended for what they do by all who are lucky enough to get exposure on their website. From my family to yours, thank you TripAdvisor!

Optimizing Your Facebook Business Page

Maintaining a reliable and up-to-date Facebook presence is an important part of any tour and activity businesses’ marketing plan. More than just a social platform, a quality Facebook page can help with anything from driving more online bookings to placing your business higher on Google search engine results. (And who doesn’t want that?)

Whether you’re just getting started or a social media hero, your business page isn’t complete until it’s squared away with these Facebook fundamentals.

Custom Branding

Facebook Business Custom Branding

After setting up a Facebook business page and a custom business url, your page should be outfitted with a high-res profile photo and cover photo. These visual spaces are some of your best branding opportunities, and page visitors should be able to get a clear grasp of your company’s logo and branding with just a quick glance.

Engaging Content

A beautiful homepage is only the start—consistently update your page with creative and relevant content that engages visitors and communicates your brand. Share high quality images, captivating videos and exclusive company news, optimizing the content for engagement by keeping posts short and linking directly to your website. As customers begin to interact with your content through comments, shares and likes, be sure to stay involved in the conversation. As Forbes Magazine recommends, it is crucial to engage with customers as they comment on Facebook page posts. Responding to these comments is a great way to build a relationship with your visitors and see returning customers.

Direct Bookings

Facebook Business Direct Bookings

Facebook Business direct bookings

Beyond building your brand, Facebook offers additional add-ons that tour and activity businesses can include on their page to promote online bookings. One such add-on is a direct call-to-action button that sits on the Facebook page. By choosing the “Book Now” call-to-action button and linking it to your business’ website, you can drive potential customers directly from your Facebook page to your online booking form. You also have the option of creating a “Book Now!” tab that’ll be located next to the “About” tab. For FareHarbor customers, this tab opens up as a real-time calendar that allows customers to see activity availability directly from your Facebook page.

Consistent Posting

Consistent posting on Facebook Business

Establish a schedule and stick to it. You should be posting at least once a week, and no more than once or twice a day. Remember that quality is more important than quantity, and consistently posting a few times a week is better than clumped together or infrequent and scattered posts. Facebook offers several tools to help you get your content in front of the right audience at the right time. Their scheduling tool allows you to create and schedule posts to appear at a later date or time, making it easy to build and maintain a consistent posting schedule. Posts can also be “boosted” on the Facebook page, so that those who like your page will be more likely to see the post. Spending as little as five dollars to boost a post can dramatically increase the number of customers who receive, engage with and revisit your content.

Once your page is beautifully branded, consistently updated and set up to receive direct bookings, it’s time to add a Facebook icon or Facebook call-to-action button to your business’ website. Don’t let your hard work go unnoticed.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on how to master the art of Facebook Advertising!

How To Improve Your TripAdvisor Ranking

As a business owner, there are few things that carry more weight than the opinion of your customers. In fact, review sites like TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, are so important to a company’s performance, that some companies see up to 90% of their business driven by their TripAdvisor presence alone.

The challenge is that your rating can be a double-edged sword. While things like a high volume of reviews, positive comments, and five-star ratings can drive business, negative reviews, few and infrequent reviews, and low ratings can fiercely damage a company’s ability to attract new visitors.

While there’s no shortcut to building a strong TripAdvisor presence, knowing exactly how TripAdvisor works can help you organically improve your rating.

Apart from customer reviews, TripAdvisor also breaks down your business relevancy through their Popularity Index. This index is based on traveler feedback and reflects how a property ranks compared to competitors within a geographic area. The algorithm used to measure your business’ relevancy is based on three main categories: Quantity, Quality and Recency.


Both consumers and TripAdvsior’s Popularity Index give added recognition to businesses that have collected a large amount of reviews. It works like a badge of trust.

Use the TripAdvisor logo: Add the TripAdvisor logo to any material your customer might interact with before, during and after their experience with your business. Use the logo as a subtle tool to constantly remind your customers that you’d like to see their opinion on your performance. Add the TripAdvisor widget to your website, or place their stickers on your shuttle van. Remind your customers that their reviews are welcome every step of the way.


It’s no surprise that the best reviews come from happy customers. While the easiest way to ensure your customers are leaving positive reviews is by offering an incredible service and experience, there are a few ways you can continue to boost customer satisfaction even after they’ve left.

Focus on customer experience: Never underestimate the power of going above and beyond. Find new and exciting ways to cater to your customers needs, always taking the extra step to provide unparalleled customer service. Cater to each guests’ individual needs, making every experience personalized, authentic and memorable.

Respond to customer feedback: Customer service doesn’t end when your guests go home. Keep a pulse on every review that comes through your TripAdvisor account. Respond to five-star reviews with the same diligence as one-star reviews, showing the customer that you genuinely care about their opinion and want to improve your level of service. When writing a response, remember that your commentary is searchable, so including a few relevant terms such as “family-friendly” or “complimentary” can be beneficial.


The older the review, the less impact it has on your overall popularity ranking. This is just another reason to constantly encourage users to review your business, and to use their feedback to make exciting improvements to your business.

Always keep learning: TripAdvisor knows what makes a great review, and they want to empower you to grow your business. Their Insights page is a valuable and free resource that you should constantly reference for fresh ideas on how to optimize your presence.

The bottom line: When customers have a truly remarkable experience with your company, they’re more inclined to share their excitement. Pay attention to detail, value their feedback, constantly look for ways to improve, and your customers will be logging into TripAdvisor before they’ve even left your property.

Will The EMV Change Affect My Business?

What is EMV?

EMV (like some of the best things in life) is an acronym– Europay, Mastercard, Visa. It’s a new global standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology. Instead of transferring information through a magnetic swipe, smart chips embedded in EMV cards will deliver cardholder information, ensuring far more secure transactions.

The switch from magnetic stripe cards to chip cards is posed to dramatically reduce credit card fraud. As opposed to magnetic stripe cards, which contain static information that can be duplicated relatively easily, chip cards generate unique, one-time use codes for each transaction. As a result, credit card information will not only be much more difficult to duplicate, but also more difficult to abuse.

What’s it all mean?

EMV chip cards will still be equipped with a magnetic stripe, making them fully compatible with both classic magnetic stripe credit card readers and advanced chip readers.

That being said, the EMV rollout will not have any affect on the usage of standard, magnetic stripe credit cards. POS devices and software will not be affected by the change, and will operate just as smoothly with magnetic stripe credit cards as with EMV cards.

The migration towards EMV cards has already begun, bringing with it a liability shift that went into effect October 1st, 2015. Designed to encourage merchants to move towards adopting EMV-compliant devices, the shift means that merchants using non-EMV compliant devices can be held liable for fraudulent transactions made using an EMV card.

As defined by MasterCard, “This means that the party, either the issuer or merchant, who does not support EMV, assumes liability for counterfeit card transactions.”

What’s ahead for FareHarbor and EMV cards?

At present, there’s no compatible USB EMV readers on the market. We’re in the process of exploring Stripe’s card present API and compatibility with EMV (chip) cards, and we will be recommending a compatible reader once one becomes available. 

4 Simple Ways To Boost eCommerce Conversion Rates

When it comes to online marketing, getting visitors to your website isn’t the tough part, especially considering that the average person spends one in six waking minutes online. The real challenge comes with converting that stream of visitors into paying customers.

So what’s the key? It’s all about your checkout. Optimize your booking process with these four steps, and start changing site visitors into paying customers.

1. Decrease Options, Increase Sales.

When someone walks in the door at In-N-Out, they already know what they’re getting; a fresh burger and quick service. In fact, the only decision they really have to make is to cheese or not to cheese. Because they know exactly what to expect, people visiting In-N-Out are already arriving with the intent of buying.

Channel your inner In-N-Out when it comes to choice, and watch conversions increase. In theory, more options, the better. But in practice, it equates to more effort during the checkout process and a higher level of purchasing anxiety. Instead, offer visitors a targeted choice and a clear expertise. Your bookings will take flight.

For the greatest increase in conversions, offer two to four options. Make the decision even easier with banners that call out your “Most Popular” or “Best Value” options, providing visitors a clear-cut solution no matter what they’re looking for.

2. Build Trust (And Keep It).

Nobody – including your customers – really enjoys handing out their personal information to a faceless form over the internet. Ease the pain by taking a few extra steps to build trust with your site’s visitors and ensure their information security.

Your website is your company’s first impression. Make sure it’s professional and intuitive, with a direct call-to-action that gets visitors to their final objective with ease.

Welcoming visitors to an image-rich site with a simple, clean design is the first thing you can do to start building trust. Once the visitor has decided to make a purchase, continue building their trust as they move through the checkout.

Make sure your credit card processor is fully PCI compliant, and that your processing system safely and securely stores all of your customer’s credit card information.

3. Keep Visitors On The Same URL.

Consider this: only the unicorns of the e-commerce world ever achieve even a 4% conversion rate. Any customer who is even one-click away from completing a purchase is still at a volatile position in the sale.

For this reason, it’s essential that the customer isn’t forced to change URLs in the middle of the booking process. Moving the customer away from the original URL in the middle of the check-out flow instantly depletes trust. They’ve finally made the decision to trust one company, and navigating to a different URL asks them to blindly trust another. Stick to one URL and prevent any doubts.

4. No Making Accounts. Ever.

Never ask your customers to provide more information than is actually needed to complete the sale. On the same note, never subject your customers to receiving more than they’re asking for.

Customers looking to buy a product or experience are looking to do that and only that. Forcing them onto mailing lists or requiring them to make user accounts will only equate to lost conversions. In fact, 23% of eCommerce shoppers abandon their cart to avoid having to make a new user account.

Don’t make the mistake of forcing your customers to choose between your product and making an account.

Main takeaway: Build trust and make it easy. Your customers have options (a lot of ’em) when it comes to making an online purchase. Give them a good reason to choose your business.