Back in February, Andrew Wiens of TripAdvisor spoke to a packed crowd of operators, DMOs, educators and other industry pros at the Tourism Industry Conference to share simple insights into making the most of the tool. Being active on TripAdvisor is important for any tourism business* – as it stands today, businesses that are able to move from three to four “bubbles” on their average review can increase their prices by 11.2%.
According to Andrew, 80% of TripAdvisor users read 6-12 reviews. The key factors for engagement are:
- # of photos (73% use photos from other travellers to make a decision)
- total # of reviews
- management responses to reviews
Your “pop index” (popularity index) on TripAdvisor is a function of the quality of reviews, the recency of reviews, and the quantity of reviews. So how do you ensure quality, recency, and quantity? According to Andrew, the 6 top ways you can take charge of your TripAdvisor presence are:
- Register in their management centre and claim your own listing. You can do that by clicking here.
- Describe your business and amenities accurately – right down to your address and contact info. Is the hot tub under repair? Did you start charging for wifi? Better check your listing so your guests stay informed.
- Share photos and videos (realistic ones!) of your property. Don’t hire someone to photograph the property with a wide angle lens and photoshop out the fence around the pool. Show people what they can expect when they arrive.
- Encourage reviews. Give guests the info they need so they can review you easily and promptly. You can even use a tool called Review Express in TripAdvisor that will email your guests after their stay for this very purpose.
- Get notified and track reviews. Be aware of what your customers are saying. It’s a gift.
- Write a management response to reviews.
Building off of the last tip, Andrew shared more details around review response. Amongst TripAdvisor users, 80% believe that if you reply to reviews, you care more, and 85% say that if you respond appropriately, it improves their impression of your brand.
He told the crowd that “arguing online is like wrestling a pig, you both get muddy and the pig enjoys it”. Here’s how to avoid wrestling with the pigs:
- Set up review notifications to go to your email so you know what’s coming in.
- Read TripAdvisor’s guidelines, which include not using all caps (click here to view).
- Be prompt in your response.
- THANK them for their feedback.
- Make each reply original – copy and paste becomes obvious as your replies stack up vertically.
- Highlight the positives in their comment – if they had something nice to say, point it out.
- Address their specific concerns and let them know how you’re going to handle them.
Another tip is if you’re responding to a positive review, mention your property a couple of times. Google crawls reviews so this can help with your SEO. That said, do it casually and organically.
If you’re not a TripAdvisor business, but work with one (say you’re a DMO) share these types of insights with your operators or have someone from the TripAdvisor team out to your next conference or event. As Andrew told our group; “anyone can raise by a bubble”. Now you can (or help someone) too.