In 2018, TripAdvisor generated 730 million user reviews and opinions across 8 million listings covering a variety of industries, including restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and attractions.
What about revenue?
Last year, TripAdvisor generated $1.6 billion in revenue via their advertising and review campaigns across 24 travel media brands owned by the TripAdvisor Media Group in 48 markets. If your business operates in any of the industries served by TripAdvisor, you should be on their platform.
Here’s we’ll cover today:
Why TripAdvisor is important to your business
TripAdvisor is listed as the number one travel site for a reason. As of 2019, TripAdvisor:
Even more significant than these numbers is the fact that customers spend a tremendous amount of time on the site. According to a recent webinar, Influencing the Traveler Path to Purchase with TripAdvisor, travelers:
Here’s the impact TripAdvisor has:
Here’s what TripAdvisor has to say about the value of online reviews on their platform.
Who visits TripAdvisor?
Who are these travelers that frequent TripAdvisor? What are the demographics of an ideal TripAdvisor user?
When you look at the data, this makes sense.
Of course, travelers have a significant amount of disposable income! It also makes sense that the majority of TripAdvisor users are women. Research states that women make the majority of purchasing decisions in the home; They drive 70 to 80 percent of all consumer purchases made in the U.S., via their buying power and influence.
Then there’s income.
The majority of TripAdvisor users have some form of disposable income; most aren’t married, and they don’t have children, so it makes sense that a portion of that disposable income is used on restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and attractions.
How TripAdvisor compares to other sites
|# of Reviews||795M||177M||795.3M||?|
|Pages per visit||6.28||7.52||10.55||8.45|
|Traffic source||Search (78.32%)||Search (75.81%)||Direct (80.17%)||Direct (94.98%)|
TripAdvisor, even when compared to the big three, is still an 800-pound gorilla.
Take a category like restaurants.
Imagine you’re a customer. You’re looking for a nice restaurant for date night next week. Which resource would you use? A recent survey suggests diners would ask TripAdvisor for the answer first, before the big three (Google, Facebook and Yelp). If you’re focused on any of the following segments – restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals or attractions – your ideal customers are already using TripAdvisor.
That’s compelling enough, isn’t it?
This is exactly why your local business needs to be on TripAdvisor. As a review, rating and local listing platform, TripAdvisor is simply too powerful, too big to ignore. Let’s say you’re convinced and ready to use TripAdvisor in your business.
Where do you start?
Can you drive real business goals – revenue, growth, conversions – from TripAdvisor?
Determining your TripAdvisor business goals
Here’s a shortlist of the business goals other brands have achieved using TripAdvisor’s platform.
These conversion goals are pretty straightforward.
If you’re already a sophisticated marketer or business owner, you understand the importance of these goals. These goals drive outcomes. But you need a TripAdvisor account for that.
Don’t have one?
If not, you’re in luck. I’m going to show you how to claim/create, optimize and improve your TripAdvisor account.
Let’s get started.
How to create/claim your TripAdvisor listing
The registration process is straightforward. I’ve embedded a video below that will guide you through the process of creating your own TripAdvisor listing.
If you already have a listing you’d like to claim you can visit TripAdvisor.com/owners to search for your listing. Once you’ve found your listing you’ll want to click the green “claim your free listing” button.
You’ll be asked to create an account. Then you’ll be taken through a series of prompts similar to the ones below. Let’s go through the steps you’ll need to follow if you’re creating a new listing.
1. Select your business type. TripAdvisor provides you with four options: hotels, restaurants, attractions and vacation rentals.
2. Enter your name, corporate email address and role at your business. You’ll want to make sure this information is correct as TripAdvisor will send a message to the email address you’ve listed once your listing is published.
3. Enter listing information for your business: Official business name, country, city, state, street address, map location.
4. Click Next, then enter your: Phone, fax, email, website address, Facebook page.
5. Choose your category and price range.
6. Enter a description – do your best to be concise as there’s a 400 character limit.
7. Upload a photo to represent your listing.
8. Next, you’ll need to certify that you are the official representative of the property and that you have permission to use the photo you submitted.
9. Submit your listing.
10. A confirmation page comes up, informing you that most requests are processed within five days.
There are three ways to verify your identity:
1. Verify by phone: here’s how TripAdvisor describes the phone verification process.
“Upon electing to verify by phone, the phone number of your business will be shown. This phone number should be for your business – not your personal phone number. If the displayed number is incorrect or outdated, please click the “Request Update” link at the bottom of the box. Then follow the instructions to request an update.
If the number is correct, please choose a method to receive your verification code – via a phone call or SMS text message. If your phone number requires an extension, you may enter it into the field and continue. Our system will either call or text you the four-digit verification code. Enter these four digits into the box provided and click “Submit Code.”
Congratulations, you have successfully verified your identity by phone!”
2. Verify with a credit card: if phone verification doesn’t work, you can also use a credit card. The card you provide is for verification purposes only. A $1 hold will be placed on the card to validate the card and verify your identity, but no charges will actually be processed. Here are some additional requirements you’ll need to follow if you’re using this verification method.
“Please note that the card you use should bear your name, not that of a manager or colleague. You will be asked to provide the following information regarding the card:
Once you have successfully submitted your information, you’ll see a confirmation message on the screen. You’ll then be linked to the Management Center for your property.”
3. Verify via email: In select cases, verification via email may be an option. Here’s what TripAdvisor has to say about this verification method:
“If you qualify, you will be sent an email with simple instructions to get verified. Similarly, another representative from your business could invite you to verify using the Manage User Access tool. In this case, you’ll receive an automated email with instructions to complete your verification.”
What if you wanted to add more?
If you’d like to add amenities, TripAdvisor will also ask some detailed questions about your property. If your listing is an accommodation, TripAdvisor will request information on the following topics.
They’ll also ask you to provide detailed information on the amenities at your location, including details like:
Complimentary breakfast, suites, tennis/golf, beach/pool access, a fitness center, internet access, etc. TripAdvisor will add these amenities to the “amenities” section of your listing.
According to TripAdvisor:
“These details will be added to… your listing and will help travelers research what they can expect at your accommodation. We use these characteristics, as well as official, local classifications, to determine if your property should be listed in the Hotels, B&B/Inns, or Specialty Lodging category on TripAdvisor.”
What about restaurant menus?
Restaurant listings will appear in the restaurant section of TripAdvisor. You’ll be asked to provide the restaurant category (e.g., sit down, café or fast food), cuisine type and other special features. These items will be displayed on your listings page for travelers to peruse at their convenience.
Next, there’s attractions.
Properties listed in TripAdvisor’s attraction section need to meet a few guidelines. The property or attraction must be what they call “a permanent place of interest.” Here’s how they describe it.
“In order for a property to be listed on TripAdvisor in the Attractions section, it must be a permanent place of interest (not seasonal or short-term) with an official name, address and phone number. The attraction’s hours or regular departure times must be available on a website or brochure, along with scheduled departure locations (if they vary). Tour companies may qualify as an attraction if they operate their own tours, are licensed/recognized by the local city or tourism officials, and have a website.”
You’ll want to make sure that your listing adheres to the guidelines set for each of the three categories on TripAdvisor.
Optimizing your TripAdvisor listing
There are several ways to attract more customers with your TripAdvisor listing. The first strategy is simply following best practices.
1. Following fundamentals that are proven to win leads, customers and sales
2. Optimizing your listing to boost leads, customers and sales
3. Perpetual review management and marketing
What are the fundamentals you need to boost your listings performance?
A Phocuswright study found businesses with 30 or more photos have 41 percent more traveler engagement than those with 10 or fewer of your photos. Listing owners can upload an unlimited number of photos so you’ll want to take full advantage.
Add a Primary Photo that creates a great first impression of your business. Then add additional photos to tell a story, answer objections, paint a picture (i.e., happy customers) or counteract negative reviews (i.e., photos of a clean bathroom). If you’re looking for helpful tips and tricks to take better property photos, TripAdvisor offers some helpful advice.
Follow rules and regulations:
TripAdvisor’s help center provides listing owners with a comprehensive list of guidelines. These guidelines cover the full list of rules and regulations owners are expected to follow.
Optimizing your listing to boost leads, customers and sales
There’s a simple way to optimize your listings.
Your online reviews.
In addition to the fundamentals of listed above, online reviews are an excellent way to optimize your listings. Why does this matter? The data is clear.
TripAdvisor users who read reviews do so for very specific reasons.
What do these stats mean?
According to TripAdvisor, the popularity of a specific listing is driven by online reviews and ratings. They look at three primary factors:
1. Review quality: If customers share in-depth reviews and photos, it has a significant impact on your listing. Why? Ultimately, quality reviews are more helpful to travelers and end-users.
2. Review quantity: The quantity of reviews in your portfolio paints a more diverse/accurate picture of your listing and your brand. If two or three people make a criticism, there may be smoke. If 30 people make the same complaint there’s a fire.
3. Review recency: According to TripAdvisor, older reviews have less impact over time. So this means online review management and marketing needs to be a continuous effort.
It makes sense then that TripAdvisor users actively seek out reviews and ratings. What’s also encouraging is the fact that TripAdvisor wholeheartedly endorses review requests.
“Absolutely! It’s a great idea to ask guests to review your property. It shows that you care about their feedback and improving your business.
You can use the resources in the Management Center to remind guests to write reviews. Log in and click the “Reviews” tab in the menu, then select “Review Express” to email recent visitors to write a review on TripAdvisor. More on Review Express can be found here.
You must be a registered owner to access your property’s Management Center page. To register, go to tripadvisor.com/Owners and follow the instructions.
Just keep in mind that you can’t offer guests any incentives for writing reviews. We also recommend that guests submit their reviews when they return home, from their own PC or mobile devices.”
How do you do it?
How to ask for TripAdvisor reviews
How do you effectively ask for reviews on TripAdvisor? Naturally a face to face ask / reminder when a patron is at your business can be the most effective way, but they might not be prepared to write a review at that moment. That’s why an email review request follow up can be an incredibly effective strategy for review generation.
What are some templates you can use to ask customers for TripAdvisor reviews? Here are a few templates we’ve put together that you can customize.
Hotel review request email template
Thanks again [Customer Name],
It was a pleasure having you stay at [hotel]. We feel honored you decided to trust us with your [special day]. It means so much to us.
How was your stay? Did we make you happy?
Positive or negative, I’d like to know how your stay with us went. If you’re willing to share your thoughts, I’d appreciate it. It takes just 2 minutes.
Restaurant review request email template
My name is [your name]. I’m the [title] at [restaurant]. I want to thank you for stopping by today. How was your [meal/visit] today?
Attraction review request email template
Hi [Customer Name],
My name is [Your Name], I’m the [title] of [your business attraction].
I wanted to thank you for your trust and make sure that you were well taken care of.
How was your visit today?
Whether your visit was happy or unhappy, we’d like to know. Would you be willing to share your thoughts with us?
Vacation rentals review request email template
Hello [Customer Name]!
Thanks for choosing [vacation rental name]. You could have picked any vacation spot, but you decided to trust us with your stay.
How did we do?
We’re happy if you’re happy. If you’re unhappy, we’d like to make things right. Would you be willing to share your thoughts with us?
You can arrange these requests so they’re available when your customers are checking out of your hotel, leaving your attraction or having dessert in your restaurant. It’s a good idea to provide customers with information that’s clear, tangible and helpful.
You can also use Review Express to request reviews from TripAdvisor directly. Here’s a brief video and walkthrough showing you how you set it up.
1. Claim your TripAdvisor listing
2. Log into your TripAdvisor account
3. Click on “My Business” or visit your Management Center
4. Click on “Review Express” or in the top navigation, click on Reviews > Review Express
5. Next, at the Review Express screen click “Settings”
6. Click Opt-in to join the Review Express program
7. For hoteliers, you can select your technological provider from the list, then click Next
8. Click the checkbox to accept the Terms and Conditions
9. Enter your “From: email address.” This is the email address customers will see when you send a review request via email. Then click Submit.
10. Using Review Express, you can create and send emails, create surveys and send emails direct to customers
What about when they decide to write a review?
You can respond using the Management Center or your review management platform of choice. You can use one platform exclusively or respond using both. Why is it so important to respond to your customer’s reviews?
Customers expect it.
The research on this is clear. Customers expect you to respond to their reviews with almost half of them (42 percent), expecting a response within 60 minutes. A recent study found when hotels responded to reviews consistently, they received 12 percent more reviews, and their ratings increased by 0.12 stars. One-third of the hotels in their study increased their star ratings by half a star or more within six months of their first management response.
Responding appropriately to reviews produces amazing five-star reviews.
So, who should respond?
That depends on you. It varies from business to business. Some businesses choose to have general managers respond. Some prefer marketing to take the lead. Or customer service.
See the issue?
It’s dependent on you. Choose the right team or department to respond to your customer reviews. Then make sure your decision is consistent. You’ll want to give a specific department or team the responsibility for both requesting and responding to reviews. This way, they’re aware of any complaints or concerns that come in and they have the frontend and backend knowledge, the complete picture, needed to respond to both. Here’s a framework your team can use to respond to customer reviews, whether they’re positive, negative or neutral.
What if things go wrong?
Your TripAdvisor point of contact
If you need to reach out to someone at TripAdvisor, you’ll need to contact them via your Management Center. According to TripAdvisor you can use your Management Center to:
If you’re a Business Advantage subscriber, you’ll see a “Contact TripAdvisor” box within your Management Center where you can request help. You’ll receive a phone number granting you access to your dedicated TripAdvisor representative. If you’re not a Business Advantage subscriber, you’ll need to access their peer-to-peer support forum for any assistance you may need.
This isn’t ideal.
If your business is a restaurant, accommodation or attraction, it’s worth your while to invest in a Business Advantage subscription. This gives you direct access to a dedicated support rep in the event of an urgent problem (e.g., negative review bombing). This direct contact is huge because it means less downtime and more time focused on your goals and objectives.
Tracking your goals and objectives with TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor offers listing owners detailed analytics with their Business Advantage Analytics Suite. Listing owners receive a detailed breakdown of key trends (e.g., clicks, market position, photo, amenities and demand trends). TripAdvisor also provides you with data exports you can export and upload to analysis tools like Power BI, Google Analytics, Adobe Marketing Cloud and more.
Here’s a shortlist of the data provided:
Listing owners are also able to benchmark their data/performance against as many as ten competitors.
Here’s the best part.
TripAdvisor provides you with a detailed set of instructions in their two-part series. You can use these instructions to integrate your business’ listing with your Google Analytics account. If your review management platform is capable, you can also integrate things there for even more insights.
Advertising and review marketing on TripAdvisor
Advertising on TripAdvisor comes in a variety of options. These options are dependent on and specific to the type of business you’re running. Let’s take a look at each of these options.
Here’s how these advertising options breakdown.
Business advantage: This is perfect for hoteliers, bed and breakfasts. This paid subscription provides you with:
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:
These paid options provide you with in-depth optimization tools you can use to attract a disproportionate amount of customers. Used well, these paid options provide you with a competitive advantage.
What's the secret to success on TripAdvisor?
It’s a strong review portfolio.
No surprise there. TripAdvisor generated 730 million user reviews and opinions for a reason. Customers, travelers, prospects – they all want the same things: a profile that’s complete and an honest appraisal of your business from objective third parties.
It isn’t rocket science.
If your business operates in any of the industries served by TripAdvisor, you should be on their platform. Follow our comprehensive guide and you’ll have the strategy, tactics, tools and resources you need to build a powerful presence on TripAdvisor.
Work with this travel behemoth and you’ll find you have everything you need to build a stable and thriving business.