TripAdvisor saw 260 million unique visitors a month and 80 new contributions (reviews, uploaded photos, etc) every minute last year, and that number is only increasing. If a hotel or any other travel related business like restaurants and attractions isn't taking advantage of this crowd-sourced travel guide, they’re missing out on a significant amount of business.
Earlier this month, Brian Payea, the head of industry relations for TripAdvisor for Business, visited New Orleans and discussed exactly how hotels can improve their presence on the massive review driven website and increase the amount of bookings. Here are some the tips he shared:
Respond to reviews: Consumers are 57 percent more likely to book with a hotel when they see management responses to reviews. TripAdvisor also says that 78 percent of consumers are more likely to think a hotel cares if they respond to reviews. Tips for responding to reviews could fill a whole book, but here are some key ones:
More Reviews: The exact details to TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm is kept secret, but the quantity and the recency of reviews are two of the three publicly known ranking factors. (The third is the quality of reviews.) In other words, the more reviews a hotel receives, the better.
Take full advantage of your TripAdvisor listing: Many hotels write one description and leave it up there forever. That’s not taking full advantage of the ability to manage the description. On a regular basis, hotels should update their description with fresh information (it’s scannable by search engines), especially seasonal information; i.e., Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, etc.
Photos and Video: Not too long ago, hotel photos could only be changed a limited number of times. Now you can update them as often as you want. The first photo that you upload is usually the most important because it’ll be the photo that’s shown first with the listing, as well as used for the hotel's thumbnail throughout the TripAdvisor website. Make it a good one. Also, be sure to include lots of photos of the rooms and bathrooms since those are the most viewed by consumers. Video is becoming more and more popular everywhere on the web and TripAdvisor is no exception, especially with younger travelers. Having a video really makes a hotel stand out. (Let us know if we can help!)
Advanced tip: Encourage the entire hotel staff to become active participants managing Tripadvisor. There are no limits to how many users a hotel can register with TripAdvisor. Once registered, they’ll get firsthand feedback from visitors and become invested in improving the hotel’s presence (score). It's how a small boutique hotel went from middle of the road to the number one ranked hotel in Manhattan, beating out all of the much larger corporate hotels.
All of these tips tie directly or indirectly to improving a business's ranking. It’s no secret that the highest ranked hotels see the most bookings from TripAdvisor.