Whether you’re looking for the perfect beachfront resort or a convenient budget hotel without the horror-movie vibe, there is a good chance you’ll join the 200 million monthly visitors to TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website. You’ll read some reviews, check out some photos and…book a room. That’s right, hotel managers, guests are deciding where to book before they even glance at your hotel website.
Adele Gutman, vice president of sales, marketing and revenue at New York’s Library Hotel Collection, explains, “People will pay a premium to select a hotel with a high [TripAdvisor] ranking because it gives them confidence that they will have the experience they are hoping for…When I walk around our clubroom and ask people how they heard about us, it is all word of mouth and social media, but mostly what I hear is, ‘We found you on TripAdvisor.’”
Of course, we at EVG love to preach the value of quality content for your website. But how do you extend that philosophy beyond your website to the world of guest reviews? Consider these eight tips for tapping into TripAdvisor:
- Sign up for a business account. It’s free, it’s easy and it comes with plenty of perks. With an account, you can update your hotel information, upload hotel photos, respond to guest reviews, track your performance and more.
- Update your photos and videos. You (hopefully) wouldn’t allow dark, blurry, poor-quality images on your website, so don’t allow them on your TripAdvisor page either. Entice potential guests with dazzling photos and dynamic videos.
- Refresh your “hotel amenities” text. This is your platform to sell the hotel and set yourself apart from the competition. Highlight the hotel’s unique selling points by using rich detail and avoiding generalities.
- Encourage guests to write reviews. Send a follow-up email after the guest leaves, thanking them and suggesting that they submit a review. Strapped for time? Consider the Review Express feature, which enables hotels to send bulk emails via TripAdvisor.
- Read guest reviews to gain insight. What are your guests complaining about? What do your guests love about the hotel? What can you do to fix the negatives and emphasize the positives? Check the “traveler tips” section for even more detailed feedback.
- Respond to reviews. According to a recent Tnooz article, 84% of travelers say that seeing the management respond appropriately to reviews improves their impression of a hotel. Of course, responses should always be polite, professional and helpful.
- Peruse the travel forums. These forums provide valuable insight into the travel community. Planning a special honeymoon offer? Browse the “Honeymoons and Romance” forum for tips on how to lure the lovebirds.
- Keep up with new features. TripAdvisor is always looking for new ways to help hotels. For instance, the upcoming TripAdvisor Connect will enable independent properties to link directly from their TripAdvisor listing to their booking page. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons before choosing to use a particular feature.
Bottom line? Being active on TripAdvisor is a must in the hotel industry. Two hundred million potential guests are waiting to be impressed – make sure they are!
Laurel Reese – Assistant Project Manager