Too good to be true

A- too good to be true

Humans can be very cynical. Or if not really cynical, certainly cautious.

Offer something that people really want and too often the response is ‘that sounds too good to be true’.

You’re spent ages choosing the perfect photo, agonised over your pricing, refreshed your website, pondered the right social media messages and considered every word you use. You’ve done everything right and offer an amazing service.

And then the frustrating response to all this is ‘that sounds too good to be true’.

You might not know that this is their response. Quite often it’s a silent thought so you don’t necessarily even get the chance to respond.

If you’ve ever looked at your website statistics and wondered why some people don’t book or why they even leave your site so quickly, it could be because of those ‘too good to be true’ thoughts. That perfect social media post that didn’t get such a good response? Same reason.

So what’s going on – and more importantly, what can you do about the ‘too good to be true’ effect?

Think of how you usually spend your money. Perhaps on food that you immediately consume. Or a TV that you can watch. Clothes you can try on. Perhaps a decorator so you can see a freshly painted wall. Or a repair to make something work again.

Most of our money is spent on products and services that we can touch or see, usually quite quickly.

Visits, holidays and activities are quite different. You can experience them, but not really touch them.

We’re asking people to book in advance and spend money based on what they think something will be like. Often wishful thinking – hoping for a lovely future experience but without any guarantees. We’re asking people to not just spend their money, but to also commit their precious time.

That’s quite a leap of faith. We really look forward to our leisure time and holidays so there can be real pressure to have a good time.

With this in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that we’re quite cautious or cynical. We really want the places and businesses we choose to be right.

If many people are thinking ‘it’s too good to be true’, at least it means they think you're offering something good. Now all you need to do is convince them it's real. 

Most visitors need far more reassurance than we typically offer.

They’re buying something they can’t touch or experience in advance so they want to see plenty of photos to help them see each aspect of your business and area. This has the added advantage of building anticipation and encouraging others to talk about their forthcoming trip.

They want to know about the people behind the business, their expertise and to get a sense of the welcome they’ll receive.

They want to know that there’s plenty to do in the area and to know about other businesses – most people enjoy a cluster of things to do, places to eat etc.

They want to know the answers to the questions and concerns in their mind – but without necessarily contacting you and asking you about them! So you need to think through some of the barriers and frequently asked questions and provide answers in advance…

They want to know about everything from the weather to the local wildlife, from how to get to you, to how long to stay…

They need to know about your prices, and what they include.

They want to know what others think about you – peer-peer opinions are crucial.

They want to know how good your business is, to see reviews, to understand the quality of your service so you need to include any accreditations or simply better descriptions of what you offer.

Take a look at your marketing and ask yourself which bits potential visitors might think are too good to be true. What extra information or photos might you need to add? How can you give visitors confidence that their experience with you will be as good as they hope it will be?


Deb Leighton

Susan, I always remember you saying visualise your target customers, not too broad a target range but more than one target group.....then tell them what they need to know about you. Wise words which I constantly refresh and apply to all aspects of our marketing, from local eateries and what kind of food they serve, when we last ate there to what is going on nearby. Very wise words, thank you. 

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Susan Briggs

Thank you! I love it when people remember and USE some of the advice. Good luck with this season. 

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Frances Outram

Definitely a good reminder as we move forward to reopening, taking enquiries, turning those into bookings and offering the best service possible to give our guests a memorable stay......hopefully they will then return! Thanks Susan.

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Susan Briggs

With your cakes thrown into the mix, how could anyone not want to return again and again?

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