TripAdvisor – TA_550x370it’s the world’s largest travel site. Love it or hate it, it is here to stay – it’s time to embrace it!

Maximising your TripAdvisor listing should be part of the marketing strategy for any tourism business. It will increase your exposure online and its free!

People love talking about their travel experiences and TripAdvisor gives them to opportunity to share their experiences with more than 350 million consumers each month. You may be surprised to learn that what they are sharing is largely positive – the average rating on TripAdvisor is 4.08.

Research shows that more and more consumers are visiting TripAdvisor and other review sites to help plan their trips. People trust the opinions of peers more than what you are telling them on your website, as consumer reviews help to validate our choices.

 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know

70% trust online consumer opinion

 Source: Neilson “Consumer Trust in Online, Social and Mobile Advertising Grows” April 2012

Gathering these recommendations online via TripAdvisor is a powerful (free) marketing tool.

All tourism businesses need to take some time to set up their listing correctly and to read and respond to reviews.

So, how should you set up and use your TripAdvisor listing?

SETTING UP or CLAIMING YOUR TRIPADVISOR BUSINESS LISTING

Firstly, if you haven’t already you need to claim or set up you listing – it’s easy to do.

Claiming your business is the first step to setting up you TripAdvisor listing for your tourism business

  1. Go to www.tripadvisor.com/owners
  2.  Search for your business by typing your business name in the search box
  3. Select your business name, click on Claim Your Business & enter the details request to verify you as an authorised representative of the business

Once verified you will be able to access the management centre for heaps of free tools to help you maximise your listing!

Can’t find your business, then you need to get listed – that’s easy too, go to www.tripadvisor.com/GetListedNew

Click on your business category – hotels, restaurants, attractions or holiday rentals and fill in your details, submit and wait for approval (this should only take a few days)

Read through the policy for listings first to make sure you meet the criteria for listing!

MANAGING YOUR LISTING

Once you are verified, login to the management centre and make sure your information is listed correctly, upload photos & videos and respond to reviews. TripAdvisor Management Centre

Edit Business Details

Click on Profile/ Edit Business Details to update you business name, address, phone, email and website, add special features, opening hours, prices and your business description – which shouldfocus on the experience your guests will have and highlight what is unique about you!

You will also want to check the map to make sure your location is correct.

Upload Photos

Click on Profile/Add New Photos to upload images.

A picture tells a 1,000 words and also leads to great engagement of travellers, so make sure the are good ones (with people in them!) The best images for TripAdvisor are casual ones, not too professional or polished – candid shots are trusted more on social sites.

Follow the photo guidelines, be:

  •  Family friendly
  • Original –don’t infringe anyone’s copyright
  • Relevant to other travellers
  • Non- commercial – don’t add logos, branding or promotional stuff to your images
  • Landscape layout, not bigger than 5MB and in .gif, .jpg, .bmp, or .png format

Travellers love fresh content, update your photos regularly!

Upload Videos

Travellers love videos! Upload short video about your experience, keep it under 10 minutes (2-3 is best) and file size under 100MB (although the smaller the better). It doesn’t have to be a professional video, a short, candid video shot on your phone can be more effective, again showcase the experience and what is unique about your business.

ENCOURAGE REVIEWS

 Increasing both the quantity and the quality of your review are equally important – TripAdvisor rankings are based on a combination of both. Your ranking is calculated (with a fancy algorithm) on a combination of the currency (or newness) of your reviews, your overall rating and the overall number of reviews. So its important to be encouraging new reviews all the time.

 The best way to get reviews is to give customers an amazing experience!

Travellers are used to reviews – they read them and they like to write them. WOW them and they will happily write a review for you. A gentle reminder to do it doesn’t hurt – just to ask;

  • On check out “We’d really appreciate if you’d review us on TripAdvisor”
  • At the end of your tour “If you had a great time, leave us a review”
  •  As diners are paying the bill and complimenting you on their meal “We’d love if you could post that on TripAdvisor’

It doesn’t have to be salesy and you don’t have to ask everyone, just train you staff to slip it into conversations with guest.

You could also:

  • make some signage, flyers or business cards asking for a review & directing them to your listing
  • Send a post visit email asking for a review, either through your own system or by using review express in the management centre

RESPOND TO REVIEWS

I get asked all the time, should I reply to customer reviews, the answer- YES!

It shows potential customers that you care about their experience, it reassures them and it’s an important part of managing your online reputation.

You don’t need to respond to every review, but make time to read your reviews each week (you can set up notifications to get an email each time a review is posted), respond to any negative comments and thank guests for positive reviews.

To write a Management Response, log in to the Management Centre.

 Click on Reviews/ Respond to Reviews

Here are a few suggestions for what to include:

  • Thank your guest for taking the time to provide feedback
  • Highlight the positive and mention upgrades or improvements that might interest repeat or new guests
  • Address any specific complaints and explain what you’ve done to address them
  • Be polite and professional, and ensure that your response meets our guidelines
  • Be genuine and authentic, don’t make every response the same, include some personality!

If you get a bad review – don’t freak out! Respond to it in the same way you would if the customer was in your business and making a complaint – take the feedback on board, it might help to improve your business!

And remember, the best way to get rid of a bad review is to get more good ones – focus on providing an amazing experiences and the good reviews will flow!

So what are you waiting for – claim you listing now, update your details, load new photos and make some time each week to respond to reviews!