STOP PRESS (26th September 2018): TripAdvisor is going to unveil a major redesign later this year based around a new feature called Travel Feeds. This will allow you to create your own profile page to post videos and photos, plus following your friends, brands and influencers to get personalised travel advice. This has the potential to have a massive impact on how people discover, plan and share their travel experiences. We will be covering this in more detail closer to launch. Subscribe to our newsletter to be among the first to know.
TripAdvisor – Are you a lover or a hater?
There is no doubt this popular review site has plenty of people firmly placed in the TripAdvisor lovers bucket. This bucket is filled with advocates who enjoy sharing their experiences with others, as well as travellers seeking insight prior to making decisions on restaurants, bars, hotels, accommodation, tourism destinations and popular attractions.
What you won’t see many of in the lover’s bucket, are business owners. The guy who runs your local Italian restaurant, the young couple who have just thrown their heart, soul and life savings into opening a brand new coffee shop or the manager of that hotel you used to visit every summer with your family.
No – for business owners – TripAdvisor is often seen as a foe rather than a friend.
Which is funny you know, because you’d think a website that reaches an audience of more than 456 million unique users PER MONTH worldwide, would be seen as a great digital marketing tool for your business.
Let’s look at the stats:
- TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site
- It houses 661 million reviews and opinions from travellers around the world
- There are more than 115 million candid traveller photos on the site
- 270 new contributions are posted EVERY MINUTE
Yet still, business owners and operators often struggle to see how TripAdvisor is of any support to their business, especially if they have had a bad run with negative or fake reviews. They would prefer to take their businesses off the website entirely than be on there and be susceptible to people writing negative reviews about their business.
You know the types – the people who visit a restaurant who think they’re the next Matt Preston with their MasterChef glossary, an exemplary radar for balance of textures and flavours, and of course an inbuilt warning system for anything served that is too “pedestrian” (unless of course, that’s the style this particular food truck was going for).
But here’s the thing. Regardless of the crazies, or the sabotaging competitors who we know enjoy a bit of TripAdvisor action, there are millions of sane, well adjusted and pragmatic people who use this site EVERY day to make decisions. Decisions on whether or not to give your business a go.
So how do you make this work to your advantage? How do you get TripAdvisor really working for your business? We’ve pulled together a list of things to get you started.
7 TripAdvisor Top Tips
Claim and optimise your listing
Make sure your business information is up to date, your website is listed, your listing details clearly outline what you offer and that you have uploaded good quality images. Once you have claimed your listing, you can then use the management tools to respond to your reviews.
Be quick, polite and courteous in your response
Treat all reviews as though they were a customer providing you with feedback face-to-face and respond accordingly. The speed and manner in which you respond can demonstrate to potential customers that you take customer satisfaction seriously, and allows them to hear your side of the story. Address the specific issues raised and highlight the positives (you can even use this as a time to mention related services or planned improvement).
It’s not personal
As difficult as it is, try not to take the reviews personally. Maintain professionalism in your responses.
Add some personal flavour and connection
You want to be able to engage and connect with your reviewers so try using your own tone of voice and language to engage the customer and make it feel like less of a cookie cutter response. Be authentic. If you would like to seek more information or would like to encourage them to contact you, TripAdvisor allows you to include your email address in your response. Just keep in mind that your response is publicly visible to all TripAdvisor users.
Thank the customer
Regardless of whether the review is positive or negative, finishing your response on a positive note thanking the reviewer for taking the time to submit their review shows your audience not only that feedback is important to you but you are also approachable and realistic. It is not an admission of defeat or wrongdoing if you thank a negative reviewer for their feedback.
Your response is important
When writing your response, try to remember it is as much for the people who are reading the review than for those who actually wrote it. Remember potential customers not only choose a business based on the reviews submitted by others, but also the way in which the business has responded to those reviews. People respect seeing an owner defend their business where it is done in a professional, respectful and constructive way. Berating the reviewer or angrily denying elements of their review will not work in favour for your business.
Use it to your advantage
Ultimately, the choice on whether or not you engage with your customers via TripAdvisor is yours. You can use it as an opportunity to understand an outsiders perspective on your business, offering great insights on how you could do things better. If you get that response right – you could turn someone from being a vocal dissatisfied customer into someone who is willing to give your business another go, or even an advocate.
Also – imagine what impact a bunch of awesome reviews on TripAdvisor could have on driving more business through your doors! Don’t be afraid to ask for them; especially from your advocates or those you know have had a great experience with your business.
Keep in mind that Management Responses can be found by search engines. If something negative comes up in a review, avoid repeating it in your response if possible.
At the end of the day – we all know not everyone reviewing businesses on websites like TripAdvisor are interested in being constructive and playing nicely. We also know, it can be really hard to hear someone berating your team and business when you put so much hard work into what you do and doing it well.
Our parting tip…imagine yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. If you were researching your business on TripAdvisor, seeing what you could see, would YOU call to make a booking?
We’re Here to Help
At Social Tap we offer review management, community management and reputation management as part of our full-service marketing packages for hospitality, tourism and restaurant clients. Contact us to discuss how we can take the stress out of managing your social media channels.