IV. The Solution
There are two types of leads on HTR, direct leads and matched leads
Any vendor can accept direct leads regardless of your reputation
While its possible to generate matched leads without reviews, vendors without at least 25 verified reviews will not be able to connect with matched leads
HTR guarantees to hoteliers that any matches will have a strong reputation, trustworthy profiles and come highly recommended by other hoteliers
As companies improve their reputation on HTR by collecting customer feedback/verified reviews, they move up in the rankings and generate more (and better fit) matched and direct leads
I. As You Improve Your Reputation, You Will Attract More (and Better Fit) Matches Over Time
Remember, matched leads are HTR hotelier users who want find out what products other hoteliers like them recommend in a given category and asking for recommendations which are made automatically based on reviews from similar hoteliers in the platform.
That is why as your reputation and rankings improve--you will organically begin generating more and more leads building a virtuous cycle.
Since matches are made based on reviews in the platform, you likely won't get many (if any) without a strong reputation. That said, even without reviews there is a small chance of getting matched leads (since matching happens automatically based on verified reviews in the platform and if there aren't a lot of reviews from the users segment).
The first thing HTR's hotelier users are likely to do when matched vendors reach out is lookup the vendor's profiles on HTR and if they don't see a strong reputation they aren't likely to be interested in following up meaning its a bad experience for them, a bad experience for the vendor.
II. Minimum Reputation to Be Able to Connect with Matched Leads?
To increase your success rates with matched leads, we recommend ranking in the top 3 in your category (check out some other tips). That said, to connect with matched leads you don't have to be in the top 3 but we do require that you have at least the bare minimum number of reviews to be able to make the introduction confidently to buyers essentially saying "HTR has verified that this product has hoteliers like you who are willing to vouch for it and it is therefore recommended".
The minimum number of reviews is 25. Why 25? Because its the golden number when it comes to consumer/buyer trust of profiles on reviews websites.
That this is in place not only to protect buyers and ensure good matches, but also to help ensure that vendors are setup for success when HTR connects you with leads.
III. Why Can't Vendors Without a Strong Reputation Connect with Matched Leads?
The short answer is that it is a bad experience for users, and vendors without strong reputations on HTR are not likely to be successful with matched leads anyways making it a bad experience for vendors as well (both of which hurt the HTR brand so its a lose-lose-lose!).
Remember, matched leads did not ask to connect with your brand specifically the same way that direct leads do, but rather said that they are open to connecting with recommendations for providers in your category. Therefore while it is only a small percentage of matched leads that get matched with vendors with weak reputation, it does happen on occasion. The first thing HTR's hotelier users are likely to do when matched vendors reach out is lookup your profiles on HTR so:
It is a bad experience for our users (hoteliers): Matched leads ask HTR for recommendations and opt in if they are willing to connect with HTR's recommended vendors based on the data in the platform. That said, the first thing most HTR users do when they are contacted by a potential match is check their profile. In cases where matches didn't have strong reputations we had some hoteliers reach out frustrated that they were contacted by a vendor with a poor (or no) reputation on HTR (understandably so)
Vendors with bad reputations were getting frustrated: While we had hoteliers frustrated as mentioned in #1, we also had vendors who were contacting these leads frustrated that the leads didn't want to speak with them. We had to then explain that we advise against connecting with matched leads until their reputation was stronger and even so, many continued to connect with hoteliers and then they get frustrated the hotelier didn't want to talk to them.
Negative brand impact to HTR: As much as we want to drive as many leads as possible to our community, ultimately trust with our users is our top priority so we decided that we couldn't take this risk anymore and had to block vendors without strong reputations from being able to access matches. While the system is automated and crowd sourced based on reviews, when users come to HTR to ask for recommendations if we connect them with vendors based on reputation who don't have strong reputations--we lose trust with buyers and it hurts the HTR brand.
IV. The Solution
The good news is that reviews are super easy to collect and even early stage startups can pretty easily collect 25. Make sure your product has at least 25 reviews to unlock matched leads and be able to connect with in market buyers looking for solutions in your category. 💡 Need help collecting reviews? Check out HTR's free Review Collection Started Kit