For anyone in the hotel, hospitality, and tourism industry, there may be no review site more important than TripAdvisor. Founded in February 2000 by Stephen Kaufer, the travel website has since taken the world by storm. Not only has it become the leading source of user-generated content (reviews); TripAdvisor has also extended its influence to reach the travelers, customers, and guests of hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, travel destinations, flight operators, and other businesses in the travel industry (even zoos).
You can leverage the popularity of the site and make it work for you by claiming your business listing on TripAdvisor and signing up for Review Trackers’ industry-specific review monitoring solutions. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to follow these eight (8) terrific TripAdvisor tips for businesses.
A timely response goes a long way in showing how attentive and receptive you are to your customers’ feedback. It also demonstrates your efficiency in handling specific customer issues and concerns. To prevent slow responses – or lack of responses – make sure you assign to a specific employee the responsibility of tracking and responding to TripAdvisor reviews.
Be polite and professional
It’s tempting to react emotionally or angrily to a bad review, but it’s best to stay polite and professional when responding to reviews. Remember: in a website as popular as TripAdvisor, it’s not just that one individual reviewer who will see your response. Others will, too, and they all could be your potential customers. (For more tips, don’t miss our post on how to respond to negative reviews.)
Order and distribute TripAdvisor Comment Cards
Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re not being represented accurately on TripAdvisor. You just know that you have quite a large base of happy, satisfied customers – that you certainly worked hard for it – but for some reason or another, you don’t seem to be getting enough glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.
You may not have heard of it, but there’s such a thing as a TripAdvisor Comment Card. It’s basically a business card that’s personalized for your business establishment or property, and it includes a note on one side of the card requesting your guest or customer to leave you a comment or review on TripAdvisor. The best part? Your first 250 TripAdvisor Comment Cards are free. (Just pay the shipping fees.) You can place your order from your TripAdvisor Management Center page.
Study the factors that influence the Popularity Index
Don’t worry. We won’t get too technical here. Just know that TripAdvisor has its own algorithm-based, destination-specific ranking system called the Popularity Index. While businesses can pay to have additional info included in their TripAdvisor page, the Popularity Index is completely organic, with no paid results influencing the weekly outcome.
The TripAdvisor Popularity Index takes into account the quantity, quality, and age/date of user-generated content written about your establishment. So, the more positive reviews you get, and the more recent they are, then the higher your overall rating is. It’s a great idea to start tracking your Popularity Index regularly, so you can identify your main issues and work on building buzz around your TripAdvisor page.
Showcase your badges
TripAdvisor regularly awards popular, highly-rated businesses with badges like “Travelers’ Choice” and “Certificates of Excellence”. If you’re one of those who have been honored, don’t hesitate to tell people about it. To get started, check out the TripAdvisor Widget Center, which allows you to display your reviews and awards while also encouraging customers to browse your TripAdvisor page and review your business.
Display TripAdvisor awards in your property
You don’t have to limit yourself to promoting your TripAdvisor accolades online. Along with comment cards, there are TripAdvisor awards, plaques, and stickers that you may be able to use and display in the most prominent spots of your property. It works in the same way as showcasing your badges, and goes a long way in establishing your business’ credibility. It also shows how seriously you take guests’ feedback.
Write a press release
Distributing a press release to relevant media formally announcing your new TripAdvisor awards is a great way of connecting social media platforms with traditional ones. Make sure you target local media publications, newswire services, and niche-specific papers, magazines, channels, and radio stations. The increased media attention that you’ll get from such a publicity campaign can attract more potential guests.
Need help? Just visit your TripAdvisor Management Center page or post a query on the Owners’ Forum to find appropriate press release templates made by TripAdvisor.
Encourage reviews as guests check out
One of the reasons why TripAdvisor has become one of the most-trusted travel websites is because it has a zero-tolerance policy on fraud and fake reviews. You don’t want to get a “red badge” – which indicates that your reviews may possibly have been manipulated – and that’s why it’s important to be aware of when it is best to encourage your customers to write reviews.
If you’re running a hotel, for example, it might be a good idea to wait until guests check out before you hand out a Comment Card and ask for a review. After all, if a review is submitted from your reception lobby, it may appear to TripAdvisor to be written by your staff. Just be careful is all we’re saying.
Monitor what customers are saying online and respond to reviews, comments, and questions nearly in real-time!