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3 Tips to Build Your Reputation on TripAdvisor

3 Tips to Build Your Reputation on TripAdvisor

tripadvisor DavidPR.com

Travel website TripAdvisor aspires to be a complete online travel resource, offering the ability to research destinations, compare prices on accommodations and book that dream vacation. However, its core offering is user-generated content in the form of ratings, reviews and photos – to the tune of about 350 million unique monthly visitors and 320 million reviews and opinions covering more than 6.2 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.

Owners of some hotels and restaurants love it because it has cost-effectively leveled the playing field between small and large destinations and attractions. An executive told me that he has met owners of hotels and restaurants who have literally wept tears of joy when he met them in person at conferences. At the same time, some business owners feel like reviews on TripAdvisor are not reflective of the actual business. As is the case with all review sites, some folks will be unhappy.

I spoke with Brian Payea, head of industry relations at TripAdvisor, and he outlined key ways that business owners can get the most from the site.

Provide great hospitality

Above all, reviews are driven by customers and their experiences with the hotel, restaurant or attraction that they are patronizing. If the overall experience matches the expectations for customers, TripAdvisor says that it will be reflected in the reviews. In fact, the company says that 93% of surveyed users have said that their experiences largely met the expectations set by the reviews. Of course, just saying that you should provide great service doesn’t provide a whole lot of guidance. Every business aspires to offer great service, particularly those in the travel arena. However, TripAdvisor can be used as a means to sniff-out deficiencies in your organization’s service. By keeping tabs on reviews, business owners can find areas of improvement. In fact, some reviewers will explain, often in great detail, what they liked and didn’t like about their customer experience. In addition, by providing great hospitality, a business can use reviews as a tremendous equalizer.

Fresh content increases page views

Travelers want to see recent information and fresh content. Through its own surveys, TripAdvisor has learned that this validates the position of the business in the eyes of the consumer. Travelers are most interested in recent reviews and new and high-quality images. If a visitor views a listing on the site and doesn’t see fresh content, then they wonder why this is the case. Is the restaurant still in business? Has no one been happy since last Fall, for example? According to TripAdvisor, businesses need to have great photo and video content as there’s a direct correlation between high quality images and customer behavior. TripAdvisor rewards this content as its executives admit that brand managers who post excellent content frequently can influence engagement and affect how properties, restaurants and attractions rank. Higher rankings get more views and more views lead to more bookings.

Practically speaking, hotels, restaurants, rental properties and attractions should take a hard look at their listings on TripAdvisor and realize that having an up-to-date and attractive listing on the site may be equally important as pretty brochures and a slick website.

Engagement continues to be key

Sites like TripAdvisor enable the owner of a property, restaurant or attraction the option to respond to reviewers publicly, and this has become another key aspect of managing one’s reputation on the site.

First, the numbers, TripAdvisor analyzed its user data and found that properties which had engaged owners that responded to reviews (both positive and negative) and posted fresh content had nearly 400% more page views than properties without high engagement.

Next, engagement runs both ways. A business can thank a customer for leaving a good review and build on the relationship. In addition, it offers another opportunity to turn a negative review around and make a positive impression.

According to Payea, content integrity is a top priority for the company and the site has several hundred employees who are dedicated to this concern. He said that from the early days of the site, the founders of TripAdvisor were concerned about possible attempts to game their system.

Payea said that each property has a specific dashboard which includes resources to manage reputation issues and dispute reviews. He said that contingencies are set up if reviews get past the site’s automated and human screens. If a business believes a review is fake or in violation of the site’s guidelines, he recommends offering as much information as possible about the questionable review for TripAdvisor’s dispute team to analyze.

For those who want to dispute a review, the best course of action is to take a close look at the content of the review and analyze it against the terms and conditions.

Unfortunately, your options are limited if the review is accurate and represents a bona fide customer experience. If a customer visited your restaurant on your worst of days and the service was slow and the food was cold – and you were blasted on TripAdvisor because of it – there is very little that can be done with regard to that single review.

While the negative review may be painful in the short term, TripAdvisor’s algorithm will give this review less weight over time. The short term solution is to ask your existing customers for reviews, with the hope that such reviews will be positive and outweigh the negatives over time.


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