Whether you love or hate TripAdvisor, tourism businesses simply cannot ignore it!
As one of the most widely utilised online travel sites in the world, TripAdvisor has some real benefits to business marketing and management:
- It is a perfect example of free Word of Mouth marketing; the most trusted form of advertising in society;
- It is a free tool for your customers to rate and review your business – whether they are good or bad comments, they are comments that you have no control over… you can’t ignore it, just work with it
- It offers transparency for your business – Let’s be honest, businesses shouldn’t be able to get away with dodginess, which is why these sites are so popular with potential consumers, and;
- It gives businesses an indication about the quality of their product/service – a great way to collect information for ongoing improvements to business management.
On average, social media users read 3 reviews/blogs before making a purchase decision.
In contrast to the 67% who read reviews, only 28% of social media users post reviews or blogs on the Internet.
Among those that do provide reviews, the average number of reviews provided in the last year was 9.
Reviews of hotels/motels, holiday destinations, restaurants/bars/cafes and stores were most commonly reviewed.
The majority of social media users would consider changing their opinion if a business responded to a negative review or blog that they had posted.
A few quick notes on how to go about setting up your listing successfully.
Set up an administrator’s account on TripAdvisor
Before you start, in order to be able to manage an account you will need to set up a personal account with TripAdvisor. To do this, simply click on the ‘Join’ link at the top right hand corner of the page and follow the prompts.
Search for your business name
The idea behind TripAdvisor is that anyone can start a new business listing – a business owner, or customer… anyone, and it will then be there for everyone in the world to see. So it is important that you are aware of whether your business has been listed in order to be able to manage it, as it is your business’ reputation at stake.
So, once you’ve got your personal account all set up, start typing in your business name in the search box in the top right hand corner under the website header. If your business name doesn’t come up as it should, it may be typed in incorrectly, or using other words, so do a few different combinations to eliminate all the options. You can also type in your location / region (eg. Margaret River) and see if your business is listed within your chosen region.
Claim your listing & update details
If you find a listing that is meant to represent your business, scroll right down to the bottom of the listing and there will be a section called ‘Owners: What’s your side to the story’ or ‘Is XYZ your business?’ and within that section, click on the link called ‘manage your listing’…from there, you’ll be directed to the Management Centre of that listing.
Once you’re in the Management Centre, click on the ‘Manage your TripAdvisor page’ icon and follow the prompts to update your business’ contact & location details. Also, in the Management Centre you can upload images to your listing, but just make sure that you have small file sizes (150pixels wide x 200 pixels high) otherwise they will not load, and can crash the site. It does take a couple of days for your changes to be processed so you will have to be patient.
***Please note: You do not need to pay anyone to update your listing!
Manage & respond to reviews
Once you have got confirmation from TripAdvisor that you have control over your listing, you can go into your Management Centre and click on the ‘Write a Management Response’ link in the ‘Quick Links’ in the top right hand corner of the page, under the header.
From there, you have the ability to write responses to any review on your listing. Remember, you cannot delete reviews, so whether your reviews are good or bad, please ensure to write your response not necessarily to the person who made the comment, but for potential customers who are reading the comments.
TIP: When writing a response to a negative review, it’s best to write it with a smile 🙂 Also, have faith that most people can ‘see through’ ridiculous reviews, and will look more holistically at all of your reviews to form an opinion on your business!
Double check your review is appearing on the TripAdvisor app
As one of the most downloaded rate and review apps across the world, it is essential that your business appears where it should on the TripAdvisor App. So, if you haven’t already downloaded the app from the Android Market, or Apple Store, then this is your first job!
Once you’ve downloaded it onto your smartphone/ipad, see if you can find your listing through a regular search (eg. search for your business name, and also search for a location and see if your listing comes up where it is supposed to). If the listing is appearing as it should – that’s fantastic… if not, then you will need to go back into your management centre and make adjustments to your listing as required.
Connect TripAdvisor with Facebook & your website
Lastly, it is important that businesses promote TripAdvisor on their website and Facebook page.
Even if the listing has fairly average reviews, it is still important that the listing is promoted, as this shows that the business is being transparent, that it is aware of the reviews and that the business values the reviews of it’s customers for ongoing improvement. Conversely, if the listing has excellent reviews – then what you are waiting for – start promoting them!
You can add a widget to your website by simply cutting and pasting some code from ‘Free Marketing Tools’ section on your listing’s Management Centre.
And that’s it!
Remember, as a business owner, you’re much better off managing and therefore influencing the impact of TripAdvisor, rather than ignoring it and risk your business’ reputation by leaving bad public comments unattended!