We all remember as kids our parents saying, “If [name of delinquent friend] jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” The answer is yes. Statistically speaking, we most likely would. That’s why social proof is so important.
When it comes to travel, we care about what other people think. Ninety five percent of travelers read travel reviews during the shopping journey, 76% of travel shoppers believe that online reviews are insightful, and 40% of millennials depend solely on reviews to inform their travel plans.
So if you’re not already leveraging social proof on your website, it’s time to start!
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is the notion that when we see others doing something, it reinforces in our mind that it’s a good thing to do. From a business perspective, social proof can be a highly influential selling tool. It’s powerful because we, as a society, group together; the people around us influence our choices.
What’s interesting is that even if people appear to be doing something, we are more likely to do it. An example of this was an experiment conducted by Robert Cialdini and his co-authors of the book “Yes: 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion” in 2008. They placed cards in hotel bathrooms with different messages on each in an effort to persuade guests to reuse their towels. Here’s what they found:
- Guests who were told that most other guests reused their towels were 26% more likely to do the same, versus those who saw the standard “please reuse your towels” message.
- Guests who were told that most other guests who stayed in their particular room reused their towels were 33% more likely to do the same, versus those who saw the standard message.
The appearance of other people’s behavior proved to be far more persuasive than cards which asked guests to reuse their towels to help the environment. Sometimes we need to some social proof that others are doing it too.
Beyond affecting guest behavior, social proof can also be incredibly influential in driving hotel bookings. Let’s look at some of the ways you can leverage social proof on your hotel website.