September 3, 2021
Ferry Facts: TripAdvisor
A Decade of TripAdvisor AwardsSince the initiation of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Awards in 2011, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry has been a proud recipient of a TripAdvisor award every year. By 2019, we had 8 consecutive years of receiving the Certificate of Excellence Award and starting in 2020 received the newly re-labeled Traveler's Choice Award, a designation we proudly received again in late August 2021.
Why It Matters
Awards are always nice, but some are better than others. The TripAdvisor award designation is earned based on customer reviews and posts using TripAdvisor's proprietary algorithm. We can't apply for the award, and only receive it based on receiving a minimum number of annual reviews, and maintaining a 4 out 5 rating. Our overall rating currently stands at 4.58 up from 4.45 with 68% of all our reviews giving us 5 stars.
Why It Really Matters
In the U.S., where the majority of our passengers originate, TripAdvisor is used by more than two-thirds of all travelers who research travel before booking online. With close to 90% of all our bookings coming from online reservations, it's an important resource of information to potential passengers.
According to several tracking sites, 97% of consumers claim to read online reviews. Then, 89% of review-reading consumers have reported that they made a purchase within a week of visiting a review site.
Since 2012, TripAdvisor is considered the world's largest travel site, and because online reviews have high credibility, many consultants recommend actively asking customers for positive reviews. We don't, so the number and level of positive reviews is truly gratifying.
The new Traveler's Choice Award and predecessor Certificate of Excellence Award is granted to the top 10% of TripAdvisor listed businesses. There is one higher award, now called the Traveler's Choice Best of the Best, given to the top 1%.
A Five Star Review
Here are the beginning lines from two of our most recent five-star reviews from July and August - one from a first-timer and one from a Ferry veteran.
Rudy's review above went on for another seven paragraphs with travelogue details about how to make a reservation, overnight parking, shuttles, bicyclists, and eating on board while Ray's continued to talk about the experience in the terminal, the atmosphere of our campus and the loading procedures.
In both July and August, we received an average of two reviews a week.
The One Star Reviews
What happens when we get a bad review? That's where Customer Service Manager Terry Anstead comes to bat. He gets a notice of all low reviews, researches them, contacts the passsengers when possible, and answers the reviews that have been posted so others can see our response. It's a critical loop to close as data also shows that 95% of unhappy customers will consider returning to a service if their issues are resolved quickly.
Here's another example from August where the traveler gave us a one star review and within one day of the post, Terry had responded.
Notice how TripAdvisor ID's both the reviewer as someone not affiliated with us and Terry's response as coming from a company representative.
Review Tracking at the Ferry
All reviews posted online whether on TripAdvisor or another social site are tracked by the Customer Service and Marketing teams with a tool aptly called ReviewTrackers. Each morning all reviews are sent to inboxes, where problems are quickly identified and kudos are shared.
After years of monitoring the reviews, only one thing is certain. You never know which customer interaction will trigger a review -- good or bad -- and our high rating is due to everyone's consistent positive interfacing with the public. Sometimes, passengers are kind enough to ID great interactions with an employee's name, and other times they simply try to describe the date, place and time of an interaction.
Nice Way to End The Summer
Historically, the Certificate of Excellence was announced each May, but this year with delays from COVID-19, and under the new umbrella name, the new award was not announced until this August. At first, we were nervous that our streak had been broken when we didn't hear any TripAdvisor feedback in May. Then, TripAdvisor announced the awards would be delayed until July. Finally, an announcement was made in August.
Generally,TripAdvisor tries to announce the awards in the Spring to help people plan before high season in the Western Hemisphere, but there is something nice about finding out in August. After a long, hot, difficult summer, it was a great way to end the season.
Help Us Build A Sister Site
Did you know this month the DRBA started a new Facebook page for Cape May Airport? This is now our newest social media site of more than two dozen managed by the Authority.
You can play a part in helping us position the site as a resource about all things WWD by following it from your personal Facebook account. To date, we have just a few followers compared to the years-old Ferry site that now sports 58,000 followers! If we can grow it to a good level, it can help us tell a more well-rounded DRBA story about transportation opertions in the area, cross-promote local events and services and help build awareness of all the great things happening at the airport!