Recently, TripAdvisor launched TripConnect, a self-service platform designed to allow accommodations and lodging facilities to bid on preferred listings and be given the ability to provide direct booking access to TripAdvisor users.
This feature, aimed mainly at capturing last-minute traffic and selling off available inventory, reignited questions regarding ways in which other travel services, specifically attractions, can promote and sell their services with availability for direct booking on TripAdvisor.
The preferred means to be listed as having direct availability on TripAdvisor is through having a partnership with Viator. Unfortunately, not everyone that submits a request for partnership with Viator will necessarily qualify.
Thankfully, there is another avenue available for those wishing to activate their “Book Now” TripAdvisor button, which proves to be highly useful in revenue generation, specifically with travelers shopping on the go.
What Is the Book Now feature?
In contrast to TripConnect, the Book Now button is not a bid-per-click model. Instead, businesses that decide to move forward with a Book Now partnership will only pay commission in reservations that are booked using the feature, and only if the business decides to accept the reservation.
The Book Now feature cannot be activated directly with TripAdvisor; instead, businesses offering activities will need to opt for one of two channels: Expedia Attractions or GetYourGuide.com. For the purpose of this article, we will focus mainly on GetYourGuide.com.
Do I have to pay for it?
The option to display the Book Now button works on a commission-only model. The commission percentage varies depending on your type of attraction and total annual revenue.
It is important to keep in mind that as a vendor, you are given the option to decline a reservation received via the Book Now button. You will not be penalized, nor will you have to pay commission. Note that hotels using TripConnect currently pay for clicks instead of bookings, making the model slightly riskier and more expensive than the Book Now option.
Is it worth my money?
The decision to move forward in activating a Book Now button on TripAdvisor is different for every business. If you are already achieving your sales goals, and generally your maximum capacity is reached well ahead of time, then you may not want to focus your marketing efforts on implementing this feature.
On the other hand, if you are struggling and in need of a little push, particularly during low season or because you are having a hard time driving traffic directly to your website, then the Book Now feature is certainly worth exploring. If you have your doubts as to whether it will work for your business or not, then consider giving it a trial period to see if it generates incremental reservations above and beyond the leads you were already securing through TripAdvisor’s free referral.
(Check out: “8 Terrific TripAdvisor Tips for Businesses”)
What are the drawbacks?
The main drawback of implementing the Book Now button is the risk of cannibalizing reservations that you would have received directly and at no cost through the regular TripAdvisor referral program.
The second most common complaint in association with Book Now relates to significant delays in the removal of the button once businesses decide to end the partnership. If your business is highly reviewed and rated, and it ranks high in terms of popularity, then the value of a Book Now feature may be minimal.
Who should get a Book Now button?
The Book Now button is a great option for small attractions in highly competitive markets where immediate engagement might mean the difference between securing a booking or not.
If, in addition to a highly competitive environment, you are also struggling in terms of review volume and scores, then securing reservations using Book Now via GetYourGuide.com has the potential of increasing recall and helping you secure a higher ratio of reviews per transaction.
Who should think twice before opting to activate a Book Now option?
If you are already a high-ranking business with significant popularity on Yelp, and you are not struggling to stay busy and are not currently exploring business expansion, then you may not want to include Book Now as part of your online marketing strategy. Profit sharing in the form of commission to external vendors should only be used when you are independently unable to achieve your marketing goals.
Is Viator better for you?
Viator is a platform that focuses on high-quality, curated experiences and attractions. At this stage, if your attraction is already perceived as a high-quality, trusted venue and you are hoping to expand, then Viator is a good option.
By listing via Viator, your brand will have added prestige by virtue of association, which is likely to bring better clients with significant potential of high spending and increased loyalty. While there is a commission of approximately 15 percent associated with transactions handled via the Viator button, it may just be worth your money.
How do you activate your Book Now button?
To get the ball rolling and activate your Book Now button by GetYourGuide.com, you will need to enroll for free here. Keep in mind that the account will not only activate the Book Now in TripAdvisor but will also make your bookings available through their own booking portal and many popular OTAs (online travel agencies). When managing your calendar, you need to carefully gauge volume origination from all the possible booking paths that will be made available to shoppers via this new relationship.
As a final note, keep in mind that increased bookings will result in reviews showing up across a variety of review sites. Remember to take the necessary steps to engage in holistic review management.