In the ever competitive travel industry, on-line customer reviews are the most influential deciding factor in travel bookings. Google claims that the average travel purchase is preceded by more than 2 hours of research.
In the recent years, TripAdvisor has emerged as “the hotel review portal”, and it is becoming more and more important for hoteliers to be on the top in TripAdvisor rankings. TripAdvisor has a reach of over 65 million consumers each month. In simple terms it means a high ranking on TripAdvisor would result in more bookings, and hence higher occupancy and revenue for you.
As per Hospitalitynet.org, every 1% increase in a hotel’s online reputation, leads to 1.4% increase in REVPAR. Moreover, according to Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, improving your TripAdvisor rating by 1 point does two things for your hotel; First, it increases your odds of being selected by 14%. Second, it allows you to increase your price by 11.2% (without the risk of losing your customers). In plain terms it means you get to gain significantly if you are able to improve your ranking in TripAdvisor. Now, what does that mean ?
As per TripAdvisor’s own admission – The top 3 factors that influence rankings on TripAdvisor are:
1. Ratings in Guest Reviews – It means that your guests need to be happy about the stay and the overall experience, and write about it in TripAdvisor ! simple.
2. Number of Reviews – More the number of reviews, the more popular you are with travelers, hence you deserve to be on the top.
3. Recency of Reviews – Recent experiences are more relevant to new guests than historic information. Even if you sucked on some occasions in the past, you can still make it up. Fair enough.
So, it’s a no-brainer that bad or negative reviews from your guests would dent your rankings big time, and you need a continuous flow of great positive reviews to be on top, and in order to remain there. Now, how can you ensure all this?
You obviously need to have a very customer-centric approach and make everything you can to keep your guests happy, which is paramount. You need to go that extra mile in everything you do to delight your guests. But again, a guest’s experience during the stay depends on a whole lot of factors. Some of them might be unforeseen, unexpected and mostly unaware to you. Once you hear about it, you can always learn from it and fix things so that the situation can be avoided in the future. You can also respond to bad online reviews constructively PR-wise. But the damage would have already occurred to your rankings! Also, most travelers do not take the pain to go through all the online reviews and management responses in a great detail; instead they stick to the top ranking hotels. So, what should be your strategy?
What you need is a smarter approach where you are soliciting feedback from your guests proactively. You need to approach them first and provide them a means to share their feedback, back to you. Once you get to know about the issues and concerns, you get “that golden opportunity” to react constructively and positively to it. You need to give them a channel to air their dissatisfaction, BEFORE they do it on their own in a public place like TripAdvisor or any other online/review site for that matter. Similarly, if you get to know your guest is a happy camper, you get the opportunity to request and encourage her to post reviews online.
Now you are getting less of the bad reviews, and more of the good reviews. Going back to our top 3 factors checklist, you are ticking all the boxes out there. And you can be 100% sure that your hotel would bubble up to the top in TripAdvisor, and the best part – you are doing this very naturally with your customer-centeric approach and this is a win-win for everybody.
I am keen on hearing about your experiences. please share your views by commenting on this thread. thanks.
By Anupam Bonanthaya
Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts
Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page
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- Why You Should Get A TripAdvisor Profile Now! (trekksoft.com)
- Hotels and online reviews: an overview of good practice (traveldeconstructed.wordpress.com)
- Distressed hotel on your hands? Here’s how to turn it around in six months (tnooz.com)
- How to Become a Hotel Manager (studymagazine.com)