It’s a fact proven by dozens of studies: more than ever, travelers like to research about places before they finalize their plans. (Check out: “Results of 2014 TripBarometer Survey”)
They make price comparisons, they check online reviews, they look for information on social media sites, and they post queries through tweets, comments, E-mails, and calls.
It is in recognition of this industry trend that travel reviews site TripAdvisor recently launched its new Questions and Answers feature, a way for travelers to ask questions about a hotel or accommodation property and get quick answers from that business’ representatives or from past reviewers and TripAdvisor users.
(Check out: “8 Terrific TripAdvisor Tips for Businesses”)
The idea is to help travelers plan their trips by providing as much information as possible – including the kinds that one might expect to see in a compendium. Examples of questions that can be asked are:
- Can I book local tours at the front desk?
- Can the chef prepare orders that are outside the a la carte menu?
- Is there an extra charge for the minibar?
- What is the cost of laundry service?
- What are the hours of the swimming pool?
- Does the hotel provide transfers to the nearest airport/seaport?
Designed as a trip-planning tool, TripAdvisor Questions and Answers appears as a new section on a TripAdvisor business page – alongside other features like property descriptions, aggregated online reviews, ratings and ranking, amenities, room tips, photos, address, and contact information. The feature has already been rolled out to a selection of US-based hotels, and is expected to reach other markets in the following weeks.
Here’s how it works: when travelers enter a question in the designated box, the business owner or representative will be alerted via E-mail. Responses to the questions should adhere to the guidelines given by TripAdvisor, such as:
- Property owners or representatives must disclose their affiliation with the business when asking or answering questions. To be able to answer questions, they must first be verified by the site as an owner or representative. (Here’s how to claim your business page on TripAdvisor.)
- Answers should directly answer the question asked. TripAdvisor did not design Question and Answers feature as a discussion forum.
- All questions asked must be directly relevant to a stay at the given accommodation or property – but should not be directed to a specific person (owner, representative, or reviewer).
- All content must be family-friendly.
- Questions and Answers is not the appropriate venue for reviews, questions or comments about a past stay, or inquiries on pricing, rooms, and availability.
If you’re a business representative, keep in mind that your answers automatically go to the top of the responses list. You can answer multiple times per question, if that’s necessary (like when something changes at your property). Answers from non-representative TripAdvisor users will fall after yours.
Here’s a couple of screenshots of the new TripAdvisor feature:
(Image credit: TripAdvisor)