Deep down, you know it’s true:
If you’re in the travel business, it’s impossible to ignore Tripadvisor.
Travelers plan their holidays within its’ ecosystem. They make travel decisions based on the reviews they read on the site.
If you think of it, it’s a giant in the background that you need to play with to get your business in front of a lot of people.
But here’s the interesting thing:
Tripadvisor is not only for your customers to read and write reviews in.
It’s also a place for you to talk to your clients.
Unfortunately, many travel businesses do not think of Tripadvisor this way.
This leaves reviewers full control of the reputation of their business on the site.
Don’t make this mistake.
Make Tripadvisor your friend and learn how to make it work for you.
Here’s a step by step guide to a Tripadvisor marketing strategy that gets you more bookings and leads.
1) Optimize Your Business Information
Your business listing is your calling card on Tripadvisor. Treat it with love and care.
A person visits the site to read customer reviews.
But your business profile also helps decide whether he will consider you in his travel plans.
In fact, 92% of travelers are more likely to book hotels with detailed descriptions and photos.
So control what you can.
Spend time to craft your company’s listing and let that be your sales representative on the site.
How to Optimize your listing :
Visit the management center (if you don’t have one, then confirm your listing now).
- Read your company information. Is it correct and up-to-date?
- Are the URL to your website, the phone number and the address all updated.
- Look at the map. Does it point to the exact location where your establishment is?
Your Business Description:
Your control over your business description depends on the nature of your business.
At the time of writing, accommodations no longer have a space for descriptions. But, activities & tours do.
If your business requires one, add a well thought out description of your company.
By doing this, you improve the chance of travelers wanting to engage with you.
You also attract the kind of clients that are a good fit for your business.
For example, if you are a hotel for couples, you wouldn’t want to attract families on holiday, right?
This is a chance for you to tell your business story.
Don’t be too straightforward and boring. Add some personality. Show that there are real people behind your business.
Also, remember to make keyword-rich descriptions without being spammy.
Here are some things to think about:
- What makes you special?
- Who are your services suited for?
- If you’re a hotel, do you cater to backpackers? families? business people?
- If you’re a small family-run restaurant, don’t forget to mention that. Make potential customers fall in love with that story of your business.
How to Video:
Here’s a video by the Hotel Review Management (HRM) on how to claim and optimize your Tripadvisor listing.
Some Important Things To Remember With Business Listings
Note that Tripadvisor doesn’t just list hotels based on rank. It also has other search functions to personalize the search results for the clients.
For this reason, fill out the amenities section with what best fit your business.
Obviously, include only the amenities that you have.
Top tip: If you have the following amenities, make sure you include them. In this TNOOZ study, these are the top reasons why travelers choose one hotel over another.
- Complimentary breakfast: 39%
- Free Wireless Internet access: 31%
- A free night’s stay: 15%
- Free shuttle service to local attractions: 6%
2. add as many photos and videos as possible
Having at least 1 photo on your profile page increases engagement to 138%.
Make that at least 100 photos and videos and the engagement and booking inquiry rises up to 238%.
This is a big difference and lucky enough, it’s one that you have full control over.
Add your own quality photos and videos in your Tripadvisor listing.
As Leonardo says, visual is the new verbal and this couldn’t be truer than with your Tripadvisor page.
With the photos and videos, you’re taking the customer into your world.
You’re activating his brain and getting him to imagine himself in there.
If he’s the right fit, the chance of him considering you over other businesses goes up.
Different Kinds Of Photos
There are 5 different kinds of photos on your Tripadvisor listing:
- primary photo
- management photos
- travelers photos
- expert photos
- professional photos.
The Primary photo is the most important one.
This is the main photo that readers immediately see on your business listing. Make sure it captures a visitor’s attention and tells a lot about what your company offers.
The management photos
These are all the other photos of your property or services. These should be high-quality photos that show what makes your company special. You can both be informative and creative here. Add pictures that answer questions that travelers have about your establishment.
Your customers add these photos. They hopefully show what they love most about your business.
Encourage your clients to post reviews and photos. The more traveler photos you have, the better.
Professional and expert photos
These do not apply to all businesses. These are photos added by your travel partners and photos submitted on Oyster.com
A few things to remember:
- Remember that you can manage these photos once you’ve uploaded them. Add captions that get customers to check your business out.
- If there are any poor quality photos, delete them and change them with better ones. Also, if there are photos that no longer reflect the state of your business, delete them.
- A good mix of company and customer photos /videos work very well.
3. Don’t take your Phone Number for granted
Don’t underestimate the power of including your phone number, business hours and address on your profile page.
This gives another level of trust and confidence. It assures people that you are a real business with a physical presence.
Also, many people feel the need to call by phone and speak to a person for reassurance. Take advantage of this need.
People who call tend to make a booking.
In a Forrester consulting study, phone calls lead to twice the amount of revenue than clicks per year.
So make sure you have your phone listed and answer the phone when it rings.
4. Respond to customer reviews
A quick search on Tripadvisor shows many establishments who do not respond to customer reviews.
If there’s one important thing to learn from this guide, it is that Tripadvisor is not a one-way street.
Don’t leave the reputation of your company in the hands of your clients alone. You play an important part in it too — a very important one at that.
Tripadvisor says that 62% of travelers are more likely to book a hotel that responds to reviews.
So as you can see, this is an important part of your marketing strategy and one that you should pay attention to.
When responding to customer reviews, here are some best practices for management responses:
Tripadvisor has some great tips on how to respond to customer reviews.
Get your marketing team to go through it so you can all be on one page when replying to reviews.
Here’s a video by Leonardo on how you can leverage customer reviews in your marketing strategy
How to Respond to negative reviews:
So you have an unhappy customer and he/she is slating you on Tripadvisor. 😠
First things first:
In fact, if you’re angry and you wish to send a diatribe of hate to that person, then leave your computer now.
Yes, right now.
Go get a coffee or a vino. Whatever floats your boat.
Feel a bit better? Here’s what you must always remember.
Answer with decency and respect.
Remember that no matter how good your service is, someone is going to write a negative review, at some point.
It’s the nature of a service business.
If you’re a small company, it’s possible you know this person.
In fact, you probably even knew that he/she was trouble before the review came out. And you probably even know what her/his story is about.
But regardless of what you think of the person right now, answer with decency.
You don’t want to answer fire with fire on this one.
If it’s a genuine complaint, address it properly.
Accept you made a mistake. Then say whatever measures you’ve put into place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Now, what if the complaint is unsubstantiated?
Still, don’t answer with anger.
Don’t throw a tantrum (even if you really really want to).
Don’t write any personal attacks.
Don’t call the person names (even if you feel that person had been a real idiot!)
Even when you know the person is lying. Or that he has a very unfair assessment of what took place,
Don’t fight his fight.
Instead, be the bigger person and do this.
Acknowledge the person’s frustration and answer with empathy.
You have one goal when you respond:
to give your company a voice when Tripadvisor visitors read this review in the future.
Answering with integrity and respect is going to boost your company’s reputation.
The intelligent customer will see through a negative review and not take it against you.
And when you have lots of recent positive reviews that the reader can refer to as well, so much the better.
Here’s a sample of an excellent reply to a 2 star review on Casablanca Hotel by the Library Hotel Collection
When you suspect a fake review or the review goes against Tripadvisor guidelines
If you have reason to believe that this is the case, immediately send a letter to TripAdvisor.
Include a link to the review and write the reasons for your doubts. Tripadvisor will then look into it. Remember that it will take a few days for any action to be taken if any.
6. Nudge happy customers to leave reviews
There are strategies that you can use to get more clients to write positive reviews.
First, make use of the many tools that Tripadvisor has available.
These are the:
- customer reminder cars
- reminder flyers
- review express
- review starter widget
- Tripadvisor app for Facebook
Secondly, hire good people
Hiring good people is the biggest factor that affects reviews on Tripadvisor and other review sites.
Tim of TourismTiger read over 500 Tripadvisor reviews and noted that “People want to connect with their tour guides.”
“…You might just be the best tour guide out there but if people on your tours don’t feel that you are trying to connect with them and engage them in the tour, you will instantly get poor reviews.”Tim, Tourism Tiger
In addition, Adele Gutman, Vice President of sales and marketing of the New York Library hotel collection, says that the key to their Tripadvisor success is hiring good people.
She added that customers are likely to forgive you for your physical (and tactical) shortcomings to a point if you have people who have the skills to solve problems and make people happy.
Lastly, nudge and encourage happy customers to leave a review.
How do you do this?
After a customer has used your services, send her a thank you email. Don’t send a canned response. Customize it. And make it short and sweet.
When she replies back (and hopefully with glowing things to say about your business), send her another email.
In this second email, ask her to review your business on Tripadvisor. You can make this easier for her by sending a link to the Tripadvisor Review express form.
By doing this, you have created rapport with your client. This could mean repeat business and referrals down the road.
Most importantly, by doing the 2-step email, you know that she’s happy with your service.
And what does that mean?
It means the review on Tripadvisor is most likely going to be a positive one.
Ba da bing. Ba da boom!🎆🎉🎊
A Word of Caution:
❗️Do not give any incentives for reviews. This is against Tripadvisor guidelines and they will penalize you if caught.
7. Work the algorithm
Or the guide to On How to Increase your Ranking on Tripadvisor
Ranking high on the Tripadvisor search results is work that doesn’t stop.
This isn’t something you can just rest your laurels on. It’s work that you and your marketing team need to always be mindful of.
There are three things that affect your ranking on the Tripadvisor listing: quality, recency, and quantity of reviews.
According to Tripadvisor,
“with all things being equal, a business with more 5-bubble ratings will rank higher than a business with lower bubble ratings.”Tripadvisor
But there’s more to the story than that:
Recent reviews are more valuable than older reviews.
So you can’t just get a lot of positive reviews in a short period of time and then stop trying.
You need to continuously get positive reviews if you want to always be on the top of the list.
Conclusion: tripadvisor marketing that rocks
Think what you want of Tripadvisor.
But the truth to the matter is, it’s a very powerful tool in your online marketing and digital strategy.
Many of your customers will read Tripadvisor before they make their travel plans.
Don’t leave the reputation of your company in the hands of your customers.
Play an active part in managing your Tripadvisor page and you’ll see that Tripadvisor is a friend, not a foe.