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10 Ways to Build Trust With Customers Online

By Rebecca White
Published on January 16, 2018

Trust. It is the most important thing you can get from potential customers.


Because trust is what your customers need before they will click the “buy now” button on your website and visit your tourism experience.

  • Trust that their money will be well spent.
  • Trust that it will be worth their time and effort to visit you.
  • Trust that your tourism experience will be what they expected.

No trust = your potential customers wont buy or visit.

Neilson’s Global Trust in Advertising – Australia: Asked Australian’s the question “To what extent do you trust the follow advertising”.

The top 2 most trusted forms of advertising were

  1. Recommendations from people I know (81%)
  2. Consumer opinion posted online (60%)

So why is this research so important?

When you only have limited time and marketing dollars as many of us do in small business and destination marketing, you want to focus your precious marketing resources on activities that bring you the best return on your investment – that is, activities that are seen as most “trustworthy” by your potential customers.

Here are 10 ways to help build your customer’s trust online and help them take that important step to “buy now” and take the time and effort to experience your product or region.

1. Have a website that works

Your website has the potential to be one of your most effective trust builders with your customers.

  • Is it optimised for mobile?
  • Can customers easily find the information they need and/or book online?
  • Are you using professional photos that visually show your product or service in its best light?

If you don’t have a website that works on different screen sizes; customers can’t find the info they need; it has broken links and dark/cut off/unprofessional photos, how can they trust they wont have a similar experience with your tourism product?

I know… this isn’t logical, but this is how customers think. (I know this because I am one of them with many, many hours of planning and booking countless holidays online over the years)!

2. Share testimonials

Testimonials from happy customers are one of the quickest ways to build trust with potential customers!

  • Collect and share customer testimonials on your website, social media and eNewsletters. Bonus marks if you include the customer’s photo, name and where they are from. This adds another level of authenticity to the testimonial.
  • Embed your TripAdvisor reviews directly on your website
  • Share customer Social Media posts on your website.

3. Get social “word of mouth” working for you

Word of mouth marketing is the number 1 most trusted advertising as we saw and it is basically free!

Facebook in particular is fantastic for word of mouth marketing.

When your customers share an update about their time with you or “check in” to your business, there is a good chance their friends and family will see it also – free word of mouth marketing for your tourism experience!

Think about ways of encouraging your customers to “tag” your tourism experience in their social media update, so their post links back to your social media accounts.

4. Share photos of you and your staff

Don’t by shy!

Customers LOVE to put a face to who is behind a business, as humans prefer to do business with humans, not faceless brands.

Places you can share photos of you and your staff include

  • Your website ”About Us” page
  • Social media updates
  • Facebook timeline image
  • Email newsletters
  • Your email signature

You will see Paige and I use all the above areas in our marketing!

5. Write in first person

Please don’t bore your customers with generic, third person copy on your website or impersonal social media updates.

Write as if you are speaking to your ideal customer when writing copy for your website, social media or email updates.

Make your customers feel like you are talking specifically to them!

This builds connection and trust.

6. Solve your customers’ problems

Building on point 5, when you know your ideal customers, you can solve their problems, which is a big trust builder.

Solve my problem = you have my trust!

For example, if families with kids are one of your ideal customers (I raise my hand to this group!) we have a lot of problems you can solve for us.

We hate packing as we basically have to pack half our house! So help us out by providing some of the bulky kid gear, like a cot and highchair. We want to keep our kids safe, so have a non-slip bath mat and power point covers on hand. We want to keep them entertained, so have a few decent toys, books and DVD available. We also want them sleeping well, so please have block out blinds in the bedrooms so the kids don’t wake at the crack of dawn! Lastly the parents want to relax (otherwise there is no point of a holiday!), so think about kid friendly decorating, offering a fenced yard and great in-house coffee etc.

Solve these problems for me and I will spend my money with you in a flash….

So…. know your ideal customer well and solve their problems with your website copy and photos.

7. Consistent social media updates

Potential customers are likely to check your social media pages to get a feel of your tourism experience before booking/visiting.

Are you regularly posting inspiring, helpful or everyday unusual updates?

If your last social media update is more than a few weeks old, customers may think something is wrong with your business or region.

Again, this isn’t necessarily logical, but it’s how we think.

Also, only promote social media channels that you are committed to updating regularly (eg 1 – 2 posts a week).

8. Share your awards

Have you won a tourism award or another industry award?

An industry-recognised award is fantastic third party endorsement for your business

Others have recognised how great your tourism product is.

Make sure you include your award logos on your website and share an update with customers in your email newsletter and on social media.

9. Share great publicity

Have you received some great media coverage of your business or region?

Again this is fantastic third party endorsement for your business or region.

Focus on generating positive publicity for your business or region and show off great media coverage on your next eNews, or perhaps a Social Media Story update.

10. Respond to all negative customer comments online

84% of people’s impressions are improved by an appropriate managerial response to a negative review, such as on TripAdvisor.

If you unfortunately receive a negative review make sure you respond to it quickly, and don’t leave it unanswered.

This will do more damage than good, as you are responding to not just that one person, but every other person who reads the review afterwards.

Remember, reviews on channels like Google or TripAdvisor hang around for a long time.

Respond as a human, with empathy, and solve the problem if you can as quickly as possible.

Showing potential customers how you handle their potential complaints will help build their trust.


Over to you

Which of these tips can you put into action today to help build that all important trust with your customers online?

Rebecca White

Rebecca is a tourism marketing specialist and co-director of Tourism eSchool. Rebecca loves working with tourism destinations & operators to create sustainable marketing strategies. Her specialty areas are tourism marketing strategy, visitor servicing, visitor engagement, social media, customer advocacy, customer experience, content marketing & blogging.

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  1. Peter on at

    Thanks for the shout out Rebecca. Our clients sure know what they’re in for when they walk through our door (or maybe our photos are keeping them away – ha ha. Guess we’ll never know!!)

    It is one of the things our new clients comment on, that the impression they got from our website aligns with their experience when interacting with our team. Relaxed and informal but professional. Big thanks to Robert Lang Photography (http://robertlang.com.au) for capturing exactly the perspective we wanted!


    • That’s great your new customers comment on the positive impression your photos create Peter, and how they align with how they found to work with you guys. They really do give a great first impression when visiting your website. Robert did a great job with the photos!

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