TripAdvisor has emerged as one of the leading sources of information for consumers looking to finalize their travel plans.
For many hotels and hospitality executives, meanwhile, the travel reviews site has become an integral part of their strategy — serving as a platform for driving customer engagement, collecting customer feedback, building brand visibility, and growing revenue.
The TripAdvisor Popularity Ranking
One of the most dynamic features of TripAdvisor is its Popularity Ranking: a ranking algorithm based on customer reviews, designed to reflect a business’ standing against the competition within a specific geographical location.
The more “popular” a business is, the closer it is to ranking number 1 on TripAdvisor search results, which are displayed whenever users search that business’ geographical area. (In a way, it’s not unlike your Google local search rankings.)
Why does this matter? Because increase in popularity = increase in visibility and engagement = increase in bookings and revenue.
Ranking number 1 is not always easy. It depends on the competitiveness of your own geographical market. But every position you move up represents progress and increases the likelihood that TripAdvisor users will find your listing, learn more information about your products and services, and decide to give you a try.
According to TripAdvisor, three factors are key to improving your popularity ranking:
- Quality of reviews
- Quantity of reviews
- Age of reviews
Looking to move up the ladder and improve your popularity ranking on TripAdvisor? Check out these strategies:
Enter Detailed Information on Your TripAdvisor Page
What you must be aware of when you market your business online is that consumers already receive endless messages and communications from organizations offering similar or competing products. You have got to make your brand heard above the noise.
First impressions matter, so when you sign up for or claim your business on TripAdvisor, enter detailed information and write the kind of copy or content that’s engaging, attractive, relevant and informative.
If you can, stay responsive to common keywords used in search engines so you can be found easily by customers looking for businesses just like yours.
Use the many free business tools provided by TripAdvisor. Optimize your page by updating your business description, uploading great photos, and highlighting amenities that attract travelers’ attention.
Make sure you track your performance, too — then make adjustments based on how well you’re engaging with TripAdvisor users and how you measure up against the competition.
Be Visually Engaging
TripAdvisor allows for a variety of photo types and formats and origination points that can give users a “clearer picture” of a business. Unfortunately, only few businesses make the effort to upload and deliver high-quality images.
To start with, make sure you showcase your business location on TripAdvisor with the big photo page layout, which has proven to increase engagement and conversion.
According to research by the travel reviews site, business pages with at least one photo receive 225 percent more booking inquiries than those with zero photos.
If the business’ TripAdvisor page features more than 100 photos, they receive 238 percent more booking inquiries.
Here’s some more useful information on the types of photos on TripAdvisor — and ways you can enhance the visual appeal of your page.
- Management photos: TripAdvisor has no limit on the number of photos you can upload via your management dashboard. So take advantage. Consistently uploading high-quality images provides your page visitors with useful non-textual information about your business.
- Traveler-submitted photos: Traveler photos on TripAdvisor boost visitor confidence because they provide a picture of what other guests’ experiences were like. One good strategy to generate more of these user-generated pictures is by encouraging your guests to snap away while they’re in your business location, and even training your customer-facing staff on proactively offering to take these pictures for the guests.
- Professional photos: Professional photos are provided by online travel agents (OTAs) and consolidators like Expedia and Trivago; these photos typically end up as part of your page gallery. In the same way that you update the pictures of your business location on your TripAdvisor page, ensure that the images and information that you have made available to OTAs are also up to date.
Promote Your Business Presence on TripAdvisor
Your guests won’t review you on TripAdvisor if they don’t even know whether or not you are listed on the site. This is why it makes sense to promote your business presence on TripAdvisor, through other online and offline channels that you’re using.
According to studies, TripAdvisor users are twice as likely to remember to review a business, even without a prompt or a request, if a Certificate of Excellence or other similar TripAdvisor-branded collateral is placed prominently in the business location.
You can choose from a library of TripAdvisor widgets or even print out reminder cards and flyers. You may also direct guests with links to your TripAdvisor page on:
- Your website and blog
- Your online and printed menu
- Your E-mail newsletters and E-mail signatures
- Your marketing and sales collateral (brochures, business cards, receipts, etc.)
Use Review Express and Personalize Your Feedback Requests
If quantity, quality, and age of reviews are the major factors influencing popularity rankings, then obviously you’ll need a review management and generation strategy.
Review Express is TripAdvisor’s automatic reviews and feedback solution, giving you the tool to create, customize, and send E-mail templates designed around asking guests to share their experience and post online reviews.
Review Express integrates well with property management systems and booking engines, but this doesn’t mean you should simply upload your customer database and let the tool do the rest of the work.
Personalize your requests and E-mail templates. Conduct NPS surveys so you can identify which among your guests are likely to share five-star reviews and which ones need to have their issues resolved.
Remember: you know your guests best. Review Express is a useful tool, but it’s how you use it that will determine whether or not your business page moves up the popularity rankings.
Optimize the Timing of Your Requests
If your TripAdvisor isn’t generating enough reviews, it’s probably because the process is too difficult or your guests are too busy.
For a higher success rate, time your requests right. Move away from sending review requests in batches and implement a cycle that’s more frequent, and which takes into account the fact that customers are more likely to recall their experiences in greater, more accurate detail within 3 to 7 three to seven days of purchase or checkout.
Follow the Leader
One of the best pieces of advice on improving your popularity ranking on TripAdvisor is to take the cue from whoever is on top of the ranking.
What are your best competitors doing? Follow them closely. Study how they serve their guests and customers, how they manage their brand reputation, and how they respond to reviews.
Engage in Two-Way Conversations
One-way conversations are the enemy of any customer experience strategy. This means that your organization should respond to reviews and acknowledge the feedback given by each individual guest.
After all, nobody likes to leave reviews on a page where the business owner is silent and unwilling to address the reviewer’s concerns.
- According to TripAdvisor research, hotels and properties that respond to reviews enjoy 17 percent higher levels of engagement and are 21 percent more likely to receive a booking inquiry than those who don’t respond to reviews.
If you want to improve your popularity ranking, engage in two-way conversations. Write management responses to reviews. Follow up on and resolve customer experience issues. Say thank you to those who rated your business with 5 stars, and do the same in situations where a guest left constructive criticism.
Delight Your Guests by Going the Extra Mile
The best, most persuasive reviews are those that tell stories about a business so committed to delivering more than the guests ever expected.
Similarly, organizations driven by customer experience as a transformative philosophy are the ones able to effortlessly generate 5-star reviews and positive guest feedback.
In the hospitality industry, there is no replacement for a service strategy that goes the extra mile. Not only does it directly help in improving your TripAdvisor popularity ranking; it also creates the kind of value that will make a big impact on your bottom line.