Can TripAdvisor help you attract more guests?
The answer for Derby Hotels, a family-owned hotel chain, is yes. Their hotel business is seasonal, and it’s primarily dependent on tourism and vacation traffic. How has TripAdvisor?
In their off-season, their competitor’s businesses are down 30 – 40 percent.
Not so for Derby Hotels. As you’ll soon see, TripAdvisor has produced a consistent stream of guests for their growing business. Their year-over-year bookings have increased by 25 percent, with revenues growing by at least 6 percent annually.
How did they do it?
They optimized their TripAdvisor profiles! With a little bit of effort, you can achieve amazing results too. Today we’ll take a look at:
Optimizing Your TripAdvisor Listing to Attract Guests
Why you need to optimize your TripAdvisor listings
It’s all about visibility.
According to TripAdvisor’s Path to Purchase study, their platform “is the number one most-visited site prior to booking travel, with 60 percent of all online travel purchasers globally visiting TripAdvisor before booking a hotel.”
That’s 60 percent of all travelers worldwide.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel platform in the world. From 2014 to 2020, TripAdvisor generated 884 million user reviews and opinions across millions of listings covering various industries, including restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals, and attractions. Their platform receives more than 490 million unique visitors per month.
That’s great, but do you really need TripAdvisor?
Well, let’s look at the numbers.
- 74 percent of all travelers use TripAdvisor in some fashion to plan their trip
- 73 percent of travelers use photos from other travelers to help them make decisions
- 25 percent of all shopping time is spent on TripAdvisor
- 67 percent of travelers check TripAdvisor a few times a month or more
- 53 percent of travelers refuse to commit to booking until they read reviews
It’s obvious now, right?
If you have a restaurant, hotel, vacation rental, or attraction business, you need TripAdvisor. The better your visibility on TripAdvisor, the more customers you’ll see in your business. Take a look at our TripAdvisor guide if you’re looking for a detailed breakdown.
How to approach TripAdvisor listing optimization
You’ll want to do some prep before you begin optimizing your TripAdvisor profile.
Here’s what you’ll need to cover.
- Claim or create your TripAdvisor profile: Here’s a detailed guide showing you how to create or claim your TripAdvisor profile. Be prepared to verify that you’re an official representative of your company with the authority to act on its behalf.
- Audit your TripAdvisor profile and reviews: If your TripAdvisor profile already has reviews, take note of your aggregate rating, reviewer sentiment overall, and the quality of your reviews. Is your profile filled out completely? Are you satisfied with the photos listed on your profile? Go through your profile carefully, looking for areas you can improve.
- Set your goals and objectives: You’ll want to set both internal and external goals. Internal goals could be ten 4 or 5-star reviews in the next 30 days or 25 new bookings each month. An external goal could be to overtake your biggest competitor in both aggregate and total reviews within 6 months. Your goals help to identify the KPIs and metrics you can use to track progress.
- Gather your data and materials: Create a collection of approved photos you can use for your business. Write descriptions that are approved by legal. Use the name, address, and phone numbers that are consistent with your other review profiles. Prepare incentive and promotional materials then, schedule them ahead of time in your promo calendar. You can also collect customer objections, frequently asked questions, concerns, etc.
- Set your budgets: You can achieve results faster if you can allocate a portion of your marketing budget to your visibility on TripAdvisor. If you decide to take this option, you’ll want to make sure that your TripAdvisor profile is optimized, polished, and ready for the influx of traffic and customers you’re about to receive. First impressions are crucial here.
- Determine who’s in charge: It’s common for business owners, agencies, marketing, or customer service departments to take the lead on review management. You’ll want to determine who’s in charge of your TripAdvisor profile. A word of caution, don’t split responsibilities between different groups. Give the team you assign complete control, so they’re responsible for the success or failure of your profile.
- Create review management systems and procedures: When do customers receive a review request? Which templates should be used to request reviews? What’s the response window for responding to customer feedback? Take the time to address these issues upfront before you’re overwhelmed by customer feedback.
- Set response protocols: You’ll want to address which customers will receive a response from your company ahead of time. At first glance, it may seem like responding to every customer is the best course of action. You’ll need to identify what’s best for your business; will you respond to happy and unhappy customers, ragers and trolls? What about fraudulent reviews, i.e., scammers running a review blackmail scheme?
The vast majority of businesses don’t give their profiles this upfront attention. They follow the prompts provided by TripAdvisor, and they hope for the best.
No surprise then that their results are often lukewarm.
It doesn’t have to be this way for your business. Simple, upfront preparation means you’ll receive consistent, positive results from your TripAdvisor profile.
What you'll need to optimize in your TripAdvisor listings
Your TripAdvisor profile has four major sections — COVID-19 update, about, location, reviews, and frequently asked questions. Here’s a brief look at each of these sections.
Key details to note:
This section outlines what customers can expect from this business, their policies regarding Covid, and the channels they can use to get in touch if they have any additional questions, comments, or concerns. This is an important addition that you’ll need to address in your profile for the foreseeable future.
Be detailed yet concise, clear, and precise with the information you provide here.
Key details to note:
This section has a variety of information — for hotels, bed and breakfasts, and rentals — photos, amenities, room types, and good to know details are included. For restaurants, the about section includes details (cuisines, special diets, meals, and features) and menus.
If you’ve done the upfront work discussed earlier, you should have all of the information you need to add to your About section. What about your photos?
Once you’ve uploaded your photos, you’ll want to make sure that you:
- Upload a minimum of 30 photos. Research shows users spend more time on profiles that have at least 30 photos. Be generous and upload high-quality photos that meet TripAdvisor’s photo guidelines.
- Choose a primary photo — this is the first photo guests will see on your profile, on your listing page, and across TripAdvisor.
- Choose a cover photo. Your cover photo functions much like headlines. They’re motivators that draw customers in to take a closer look at the photos in your album. This means you’ll want to choose a photo that best represents your album.
- Use favorite photos to tell a story. When you use photos to tell a story, it’s easier for customers to picture themselves in your business.
Not sure how to add these photos?
Check out our TripAdvisor guide for specifics; it’s an A to Z guide that will show you how to upload and manage photos and content on your TripAdvisor profile.
If you’ve completed your profile, you’ve already added your official business name, country, city, state, street address, and map location.
If you’ve added this information, customers will see this on their profile:
Key details to note:
This is a list of complementary businesses and attractions near your business. TripAdvisor wants to improve the user experience, so they’re using your location data to provide customers with a clear view of everything available in your area.
Key details to note:
This is where TripAdvisor stands out.
Star ratings on review sites are common. What’s not as common are the filtering options TripAdvisor provides. Depending on the type of business you have, you can filter reviews by:
- Traveler type
- Time of year
Like other review sites, you can also search for specific keywords or phrases across all reviews. What does this mean? You’ll want to request customer reviews based on the demographics and psychographics consistently present across your TripAdvisor profile. If you don’t have reviews on your profile yet, look at your competitor’s profiles to understand the variation between reviews.
Try it free: Managing TripAdvisor reviews manually can be tough. Grade.us makes review management easy and automatic. Try it free for 14 days, no credit card required.
Frequently asked questions
Key details to note:
Depending on your business, you’ll have a section for frequently asked questions or Q&A. Remember the upfront work you did in the beginning? You can take the information you’ve collected and use that to your advantage. You can add common questions or objections to this section then, take the time to answer them with thoughtful answers.
Related: Google has almost 60 percent of all reviews on Planet Earth. TripAdvisor reaches 60 percent of all travelers. Where should you focus your attention? See for yourself.
How to optimize your TripAdvisor Listings
If you’re a regular reader, you know that an optimized review profile includes the following:
- Business name, address, and phone (consistent across the internet)
- Hours of operation
- Website address
- 30+ photos
- Precise descriptions
- Keywords + tags + categories
- Question and answers and/or FAQs (where relevant)
- A concise list of amenities, features, products, services, and offers
- Booking and/or appointment URLs (if applicable)
- Tracking details (e.g., discount/store codes, ad extensions, call tracking phone numbers, labels, etc.)
- Call to action
- Balanced reviews (5:1 ratio)
You’ll want to make sure that your profile is complete and that each item in the list above is prominent. If you’ve taken the time to do the upfront work, you’re ready to turbocharge your TripAdvisor profile.
How do you do that?
You feed Google a consistent stream of content specifically about your business.
- Add citation data, e.g., the name of your business, your address, and telephone number. Make sure this data is accurate and consistent across the web.
- Claim, optimize, and update your Google My Business account consistently.
- Build local links to other local online properties; this means internal and external, inbound, and outbound links.
- Build social engagement via posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Build a strong review portfolio on mainstream, niche, and industry-specific review platforms.
Prioritize your website, Google My Business account, and online review portfolio.
Related: Do you have what you need to audit your review management program? Find out here.
You use paid options to increase your visibility on TripAdvisor dramatically. They offer four distinct options you can choose from.
Business advantage: This is perfect for hoteliers and bed and breakfasts. This paid subscription provides you with:
- Access to contact details and mobile click-to-call
- Special offers and announcements via desktop and mobile
- Access to TripAdvisor’s analytics suite
- Optimize your listing with favorite and cover photos
- Showcase outstanding reviews with favorite reviews
- Property videos for your listing
- Data downloads
Sponsored placements: Premium placement in TripAdvisor search results.
- Top results – listing exposure above search results on competitor pages and more
- Highly qualified – focus your attention on relevant and targeted traffic
- Pay per click – pay only for the clicks you receive
Instant booking: All of the information customers need to book your accommodation immediately on TripAdvisor. Instant booking requires no upfront investment and runs on a “pay for stays” commission model. Listing owners own the guest relationship from the very start.
TripAdvisor ads: These ads are specially tailored for restaurants listed on TripAdvisor. These ad placements provide you with exclusive placements and key search results – including the first lot in your category — qualified traffic from prospects who are actively searching for someone in your area. Like sponsored placements, TripAdvisor ads run on a pay-per-click model – pay only for the clicks you receive.
TripAdvisor premium: Premium is a restaurant exclusive; it’s designed to help you showcase your restaurant. Premium provides your restaurant with specific features. Those features include:
- Storyboards: A dynamic visual presentation blending together photos and reviews at the top of your TripAdvisor page.
- Top 3 Reasons: A new section above your reviews, which features your best review snippets and photos to entice potential guests with what makes you special.
- Favorite Reviews: Inspire customers by showcasing a favorite recent review near the top of your TripAdvisor property page.
These paid options are amplifiers. What exactly does that mean?
These paid options make a good TripAdvisor profile great, but it also makes a poor profile worse. If your profile isn’t optimized and prepared properly, paid options will hurt your business in the short and long term. However, if you’ve laid the groundwork and continue creating content for your profile (via Q&A, reviews, offers, etc.), you’ll continue to reap the rewards.
Turbocharge your TripAdvisor profile with Grade.us
TripAdvisor is a customer magnet in the right hands
Derby Hotels isn’t a unique example.
Thousands of businesses receive a steady stream of customers each month via TripAdvisor’s platform. As we’ve seen, TripAdvisor gave a seasonal business like Derby Hotels the consistency and steady growth they need to thrive.
It’s no surprise they now have 14 locations.
With a little bit of effort, you can achieve amazing results too. This isn’t rocket science; it’s just a consistent effort to supply customers with the data they need to make good decisions. It’s validation, showing customers you’re the best choice. It gives them the peace of mind they need to spend freely with your business.
Follow these steps, and you’ll find attracting guests with TripAdvisor is easy and automatic.