Sometime last week, we talked about how TripAdvisor’s Business Listings service is giving some hoteliers a competitive online advantage. Well, the popular travel reviews site is about to raise the game even higher for its business users.
TripAdvisor is set to launch an upcoming new platform called TripAdvisor Connect, which, according to the company, will introduce expanded promotional services and “enable all hotels and B&Bs to participate in metasearch pricing display and automatic review collection” – something that’s only available right now to travel agents, hotel chains, and data aggregators (booking engines).
(Check out: “8 Terrific TripAdvisor Tips for Businesses”)
The TripAdvisor Connect platform, scheduled to launch in late 2013, will give hoteliers, property managers, and accommodation owners a new set of tools for analyzing their advertising performance, as well as the ability to automate the process of sending review collection E-mails.
The TripAdvisor Connect announcement came not long after the company unveiled Review Express, a fast, free, and easy way for TripAdvisor-listed businesses to get more traveler reviews. Review Express works as an E-mail tool that lets business owners bulk upload up to 1,000 guest E-mail addresses at a time and compose a message template with the business’ logo. The message will then automatically be sent to the guests, reminding them to submit online hotel reviews to the site after their stay.
So what would the difference be? Well, for one, it seems like TripAdvisor Connect will integrate review collection efforts with direct booking functionality. In an age when online hotel reviews continue to make a significant impact on travelers’ behavior and purchase decisions, review collection serves to help build a business’ online reputation – as well as help hoteliers improve their ranking on TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor Connect would also let Business Listings subscribers enhance their advertising performance. According to Linda Fox of travel news site Tnooz: “The service enables hotels and bed & breakfasts to boost their prominence on TripAdvisor via a CPC campaign, meaning they can pay to boost their ranking within hotel price comparison results shown on their property page. All properties wanting to participate must subscribe to TripAdvisor Business Listings and the reviews giant is currently in the process of talking to Internet booking engines about an API.”
Business owners who want to participate in TripAdvisor Connect must subscribe to the Business Listings service as well as provide online booking and real-time pricing and availability information (via engines like Hotels.com and Agoda).
“Major OTAs (travel agents) and hotel chains have been able to bid for traffic on TripAdvisor for many years, and we have provided channels for review collection,” said Jean-Charles Lacoste, TripAdvisor’s VP for Direct Connect Solutions. “Now, TripAdvisor Connect will provide automated and self-managed versions of these services to hundreds of thousands of independent hotels and B&Bs.”