Earlier this month, TripAdvisor launched a new dynamic feature aimed at providing quick and direct back-and-forth communication between community members and property or business representatives. The feature is called Questions and Answers.
The principal objective of Questions and Answers is to provide future travelers with a trip-planning tool that leaves no space for surprises. While it is important to start thinking about it as yet another element of your online reputation management strategy, the rollout of this feature is currently available only to selected businesses (hotels and accommodation properties) in the US.
If your business happens to be in the first wave of this feature launch, there are a few things you need to do in order to be duly prepared to maximize this opportunity for reputation-focused brand building.
Become familiar with the rules of the game
The first and most important thing you need to understand about TripAdvisor Questions and Answers is that it is public, and not a private contact forum. Knowing that your answers and the customer’s questions will be visible to future customers and competitors will set the tone of your response and engagement strategy.
A key element of engagement is expediency. It is a dynamic environment designed to help people plan their trip. Because of this, until your Q&A profile acquires enough content to provide answers to the most commonly asked questions, make sure you are on top of it by responding to inquiries ASAP.
The guidelines of the TripAdvisor Questions and Answers are designed to protect you, as well as the members of the community, and keep the content business- and family-friendly. A few key rules to remember include the following:
- Content must be family-friendly.
- Original content only, no copy and paste or template answers.
- You may not include links or URLs.
- Questions must be property-specific.
- Answers may originate from a property representative or member of the community.
- Answers must be specific and relevant to the question.
- Only one screen name per user.
- Your must disclose your affiliation to the property.
Be quick, consistent and brand-aware
As an ambassador or representative of your business, you must handle each response with great care. Not only should you be quick to respond, but your response must also be accurate.
It’s important to maintain a voice and style that best represent your product or service. Use branded vocabulary when appropriate, and make sure your response is aligned with the most current offering. Ideally, the task of reputation management should fall on the shoulders of someone who is not only well-versed on the property or business, but who also has a sensitivity for people and is able to be a sound communicator.
Use Questions and Answers to analyze your informational materials
Generally speaking, most questions arise when the potential customer is unable to easily find the answer on your printed or digital informational material. As you tackle this new avenue of marketing, maintain a keen ear and use the business intelligence generated from this channel to build strong content that addresses the things your customers want to know.
By combining Q&A data with the data provided by the aggregation of all your online reviews, you will be able to filter the facts that really matter and optimize your marketing material, making it more appealing to future customers.
Be intentional and SEO-focused
The Questions & Answers feature is yet another opportunity for you to associate your profile with keywords that matter to your niche. When responding to travelers, make sure you include vocabulary that boosts the way people find your business.
For example, you could include a statement that indicates you are one of the “best properties in X or Y region”. Chances are your response will show up when travelers search for “best properties in X or Y region”, using search engines such as Google. Your answer should be helpful to the traveler but also useful to future potential customers, and should speak to a broader audience with the confidence that they will indeed use your responses in making the decision to visit your establishment.
Changes and innovations will continue to come your way. Don’t be afraid to grab the bull by the horns and steer your business to increased popularity, higher online rankings, and superb online business reputation.