How to get TripAdvisor to work for you…

As of right now, TripAdvisor is the most accessible, most frequented, and most reliable tool for travellers worldwide: for accommodation providers on the other hand, TripAdvisor can be your best friend or it can be your worst enemy.   

As the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor began simply, launched as a platform for hotel guests to rate and review their experiences. Having grown from that basic premise, the brand now boasts the largest online travel community in the world: over 60 million unique monthly visitors and over 75 million reviews. That’s a vast potential market.

The brilliance of TripAdvisor is that it relies on word of mouth, and in that respect offers free advertising for your property; if a hotel provides excellent service at a fabulous rate and gets reviewed on TripAdvisor, that hotel is sure to make more bookings off the back of that review. It only takes one riled guest, however, to post an abysmal review and cause a host of potential guests to run for the hills; this is the TripAdvisor qualm today’s industry is faced with.

Online reviews discuss location, service, expense, cleanliness, etc. with the aim in mind of advising fellow travellers whether a hotel or resort in question is essentially worth the bother. As is always the case with reviews; people are quicker to share a negative experience than a positive one. A single hotel mishap; not enough towels delivered to the room, for instance, or the fact that the people next door were too loud and had to be complained about; often overshadows an otherwise exceptional stay in a review and this, again, is something the accommodation industry has to take into account in this new era of travel. There is very little room for error and everything is recorded. If you have had a recent refurbishment carried out, but you do not have any recent reviews on TripAdvisor that say so, you are at an immediate disadvantage. An excellent idea might be to encourage your guests to post reviews, not only will this help to promote your establishment but asking guests for their opinions will always strengthen that crucial promise of reliability.

Tripadvisor also permits guests to post their own photographs, including those of hotel rooms, facilities and locations; another thing to be mindful of. Also, the site has a ranking system called “Traveller’s Choice” that allows guests to vote for their favourite accommodation providers in any given location and for any given purpose; whether it be for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. The terrific thing about these awards is that they are so meaningful to potential guests; being stamped with the TripAdvisor seal of approval attributes your hotel with a level of trustworthiness you cannot get elsewhere. When a potential guest views your establishment’s Tripadvisor page online and sees it has been awarded a Traveller’s Choice stamp, they will no longer need to sift through reams of reviews to know that you will offer them a good quality stay.

The newest, most notable, arguably most useful feature for accommodation providers online, though, is TripAdvisor Business Listings. According to TripAdvisor, “by upgrading to a Business Listing, you can put millions of travellers on the world’s largest travel site one click or call away from a direct booking — and you can create special offers that increase your exposure while setting you apart from competitors”. Signing your establishment up to TripAdvisor Business Listings automatically adds your direct contact information to your profile page on the site and also on the mobile app, permitting travellers anywhere in the world to contact you directly. Through TripAdvisor, travellers will also be first to see any special offers or announcements your hotel may wish to promote ahead of surrounding properties. Over 60 million people may be clicking their way through TripAdvisor but it is unlikely they are visiting the separate websites of each hotel they come across, so this tool is particularly useful.

As part of the Business Listings, your hotel’s special offers will also ‘pop up’ to guests searching for your location or other properties in your area; this provides you with more exposure, particularly on high-traffic searches, an invaluable asset to any accommodation provider in the industry today because it allows you to use TripAdvisor’s online platform as much to your advantage as possible. Another terrific benefit is outlined on the TripAdvisor Business Listing website: “When you subscribe to Business Listings, we’ll automatically transform your owner photos (minimum of five) into a stunning photo slideshow that captures the attention of travellers and helps to make their first impression of your business a memorable one.”

The cost of joining TripAdvisor Business Listings depends on your location and the size of your establishment; this cost can be calculated on the website itself. Paying for an otherwise free medium almost never appeals, but reading through the testimonials, the benefits soon become clear here. One testimonial made by a Bed and Breakfast owner in London, England claimed “our business has increased 50% – so much so that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the calls and emails”. TripAdvisor does also offer a terrific free business account as well, which allows accommodation owners to update business details, promote their business with free widgets and badges, compare their business with competitors by tracking their performance, upload professional photographs, receive emailed notification of new reviews, and perhaps most crucially; it allows hotel owners to respond to guest reviews.

With capitalism finally starting to catch up to the Internet, TripAdvisor has swiftly become a fierce friend to accommodation providers industry-wide; provided they are committed to maintaining a quality service that will resonate amongst reviewers.

Rosie Clarke

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