We’ve all heard the horror stories. Bad reviews (sometimes, alarmingly, fictitious) ruining hotel reputations. But can it work in your favour? There is the potential to use Trip Advisor to boost your bookings.
Word of mouth
It used to be that ‘word of mouth’ was heralded as your marketing champion. Then social media came along, and for some reason the game changed. But why? Isn’t social media just another form of word of mouth, and isn’t Trip Advisor built on it?
Trip Advisor, then, is key to your strategy. Not only is it plugged into Facebook, it’s the first port of call for many savvy guests.
Encourage golden reviews
People leave reviews online when they’re either extremely pleased or very hacked off. Content people are those most in need of incentivising. Prompt happy guests to review you when they get home, and many of them will oblige. This will dilute any negative reviews, and in the company of 4 or 5 star ratings the odd 1 star rant will show up as what it is – an anomaly.
(Please note, however, the difference between ‘prompt’ and ‘coerce’ – it’s frowned upon to offer any kind of reward for good reviews, so a simple “don’t forget to review us” should suffice!)
Respond to negatives
It’s all part of customer service. If someone complained at your front desk you’d go out of your way to help them out. On Trip Advisor, if you register and claim your business, you can respond to reviewers as the manager. This can help further diffuse erroneous poor reviews. Handled correctly, you might even be able to resolve it, and get back into a guest’s good graces.
Give thanks to positives
As above, if someone came into reception singing your praises you’d thank them, humbly. Once registered on Trip Advisor you can do just that, and it’s also an opportunity to welcome the guest back. Chances are they’ve got fond memories of staying with you, and are now back at work wishing they were somewhere else. A friendly response from you later and, who knows, they might book again for next year already.
The talking cure
Everyone receives feedback. What sets businesses apart is the way they respond to it. Reviews can highlight things you haven’t noticed before – tiny details that matter in a big way to your guests. Leaky taps, thin curtains, creaking floorboards, rattling windows – things you want to know about and will fix in a heartbeat. Bigger issues come out, too. But you might not realise how important they are to your guests until they let you know!
It’s happening anyway
Whether you like it or not, there’s no way to stop people talking about you. Users are allowed to add any hotel they’ve been to onto Trip Advisor if it’s not already listed. And unless your business closes permanently, Trip Advisor will not remove it. Unless every review is glowing you really can’t afford to ignore it. Luckily, the things discussed here are all the ways in which you can improve your rating, with a little bit of work.
Linking to Trip Advisor
Is it a good idea to link to Trip Advisor, then, from your main website? After all, you’ve worked hard to get great reviews on there. We are inclined to say don’t. We say that because, no matter how good your overall score, once on Trip Advisor users are presented with an abundance of other options and similar hotels nearby. You want to take their booking, and you don’t want them to book elsewhere! As we said, it’s unavoidable if people choose to go looking for your reviews themselves, and you should be prepared for that to happen. But it’s not a good idea, in our opinion, to encourage them to.
Plus, sending guests away from your website is a no-no. Ideally, you’ll have a great site with it’s own online booking system, and you want guests to book through that, if at all possible. The third-party booking sites on Trip Advisor take a commission. So even if they do book with you after you’ve sent them away, you might be giving up a chunk of your revenue. That’s assuming your own onsite booking system doesn’t take commission already.
Maximising your booking revenue is another topic entirely, but with a well-built website and a booking system you own outright you can avoid giving away your profits in commission.
Take a look at our services:
Responsive web design - 'responsive' means that your site will change and respond to different screen sizes.
Online booking system - also designed to be responsive, and optimised for use on mobile, with our booking system you don’t pay any commission fees at all.
Have you had bad experiences of Trip Advisor, or have you got any more tips to make it work? Let us know in the comments section below…