How marketers can better harness the power of TripAdvisor Published December 9, 2016 There’s no denying the influence of TripAdvisor. It’s the world’s favourite travel and leisure site with over 350 million monthly unique visitors, 385 million reviews and featuring 6.6 million hotels, restaurants and attractions (TripAdvisor log files, 2016). And it’s here to stay – an ingrained part of the booking process – essential reading with more than an 80% of review readers stating it helps them feel more confident in their decisions, leading them to have a better trip (HotelMarketing.com, 2014). With this in mind, we take a look at how marketers in the travel, tourism and leisure industries can better manage their relationship with TripAdvisor. How they can develop their communications and management strategies to improve customer experience and online reputation. Invite reviews Customers like to be asked about their experiences – it shows you care. Always send timely, automated emails that invite the guest or customer to submit a review shortly after they visit. Don’t incentivise them – ask for genuine, impartial reviews to be posted on TripAdvisor. Reviews not only give you feedback on their experience but also create a great marketing tool with 90% of travellers saying reviews are influential in choosing where to book (TripBarometer, 2014). These automated emails inviting people to submit reviews can easily be managed through PureTargeting. Always respond TripAdvisor gives management the opportunity to respond to reviews. Always take advantage of this – it shows you’re listening. Over 60% of travellers say management responses make them more likely to book (HotelMarketing.com, 2014). Make sure you stay on top of reviews and respond quickly. Never reply with an angry or defensive response – it always reflects badly on your organisation regardless of the context. 70 percent of users agree that an aggressive/defensive management response to a bad review “makes me less likely to book that hotel” (Phocuswright, 2014). If need be, invite customers to carry on the conversation with one of your team offline. Influence offline behaviour Remind staff that every conversation they may have offline will potentially end-up online, whether they’re front of house or on the end of a phone line. When it comes to the customer or guest always be transparent about TripAdvisor – encourage them to go online to review their experience at every opportunity. There are so many ways to remind them from notes on bills, cards at your reception desk, email reminders and signs in rooms. Embrace the feedback culture – it instills trust and focuses your offline efforts. Take control Don’t just leave it to your customers or guests to manage your profile on TripAdvisor. Upload photos and create detailed descriptions of your menus, facilities and venue. Don’t forget people often make decisions online without even contacting you to find out the facts. Make sure your customers can get as much information as possible about you online – it will reduce the number of calls and emails you’ll receive and give customers an informed choice. Generate the right reviews Users on TripAdvisor typically read between 6-12 reviews so make sure they’ve got plenty to choose from (HotelMarketing.com, 2014). It’s reported that 64 percent of respondents tend to ignore extreme comments when reading reviews (Phocuswright, 2014). Make an effort to generate reviews from customers who had a good time, so they balance out those who were overwhelmingly positive or negative. Don’t rely on old reviews to bolster your reputation – customers tend to look for other people’s most recent experiences to reassure them about what they’re likely to experience. So there you go – the key strategies to improve your reputation and potential ranking on TripAdvisor. All great ways to invite online engagement from your guests and customers that will instill trust, improve your reputation and generate new business.