Posted: Mon 7th Aug 2023
Over the years, Tripadvisor has proved itself to be the ultimate friend of anyone working in hospitality, travel and tourism, or a holidaymaker or foodie looking for the best restaurants and travel destinations.
And the numbers don't lie. According to SimilarWeb June 2023 and Tripadvisor internal log files:
"With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions of nearly 8 million businesses, travellers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places nearby.
"As a travel guidance company available in 43 markets and 22 languages, Tripadvisor makes planning easy, no matter the trip type."
How to get a green tick on Tripadvisor
As anyone can set up a listing on the site, the green tick implies that someone from the business manages it. To add credibility and gain access to Tripadvisor's Management Centre, you must claim your business listing first.
To do this, you need to be a Tripadvisor member and then register and verify your identity and business affiliation. This provides a layer of security, not only for the community but for the business's account.
Once logged in to the Tripadvisor member account, verify your business ownership by phone or credit card by following these steps:
Search for your business
Click 'Claim your free listing' and follow the instructions
The numbers make it a no-brainer for any hospitality, travel or tourism enterprise to claim their free listing. What's more important, though, is what comes after – how to keep close tabs on (and dictate) the conversations that are being had about your business online, especially if you're a small business owner. We delve into that below.
Once your listing is set up and verified, turn it into a powerful marketing tool. One of the best ways to do that is through the site’s bread and butter – Tripadvisor reviews.
How reviews influence guests and customers
Consumers want to be confident in their purchase, which is precisely why they turn to Tripadvisor as one of their first ports of call. As a result, reviews can work wonders as word-of-mouth advertising and social media proof.
It's no surprise that the larger the number of positive reviews, the better your ranking on the site, which will dictate the number of bookings you get.
Tripadvisor’s Traveler Survey puts into perspective not only how influential reviews can be but also your responses to them:
96% of users consider reading reviews important when planning trips
83% will "usually" or "always" reference reviews before deciding to book a hotel
More than half of users will not book a property that has no reviews
79% will read at least six to 12 Tripadvisor reviews before choosing a hotel
85% of users said that a thoughtful response to a bad review improved their perception of a hotel
65% of those surveyed agree that they are more likely to choose a hotel whose management responds to reviews over one that does not
87% consider reviews important when booking restaurants
58% will read at least six to 12 reviews before choosing a restaurant
81% say reviews are important when booking attractions
Understanding Tripadvisor's reviews
Reviews play a big role in determining your ranking on the site. It's all about the following:
Quality of reviews
Quantity of reviews: The larger the number of reviews, the more likely it is to be an accurate depiction of guests' experience
Recency of reviews: Recent reviews are seen as painting a more accurate picture of the state of your business, discounting older ones
When it comes to the number of reviews, smaller businesses may have to climb a steeper hill. Given that smaller businesses have less of a customer turnover and only about one in 10 guests generally leave a Tripadvisor review, it's likely that you'll only receive a couple of reviews each month.
Compare that to a larger chain hotel or restaurant that has a bigger capacity to host more customers, even if 1% of guests leave reviews. Those numbers can be tough for any small business owner to compete with.
Another factor to consider is repeat customers. Independent hotels and restaurants tend to rely on them, and yet repeat customers aren't as likely to review your business as a first-timer. This puts you at another disadvantage.
Although Tripadvisor says the number of reviews isn't a discriminating factor in your ranking, you'll probably know by now if low numbers are affecting your ranking. Tripadvisor states:
"The Popularity Ranking algorithm is designed to provide a statistical measure of confidence about the current experience at a business. As we accumulate more reviews on a business over time, we have more insight into the potential experience consumers can expect.
"Once we've reached a critical mass of reviews, we're able to more accurately predict that business's ranking."
How to get more Tripadvisor reviews
You can do this in quite a few ways, but the route you choose depends on your type of business, budget and customer demographics. Here are a few:
It is as simple as asking your customers to leave a review on the site. This approach can be particularly successful if you have regulars with whom you already have a rapport but who usually won't think to leave a review.
However, it's important to note that you can't offer any form of incentive in exchange for a review, so no upgrades, extras or discounts.
Also, reviews need to be genuine. It's against Tripadvisor guidelines to ask family, friends and staff to leave reviews.
2. Mention it in your marketing materials
Visual prompts are an easy win. Show the Tripadvisor logo, along with a prompt to leave a review, on your business cards, point of sale materials, bills, receipts and so on.
3. Follow-up emails
Sending out follow-up emails to customers after they've visited your establishment is standard practice. But it's also a great opportunity to ask for feedback and craft a personal reply to customers who do respond to your request.
4. A single feedback channel
Guests won't want to provide the same feedback through a number of different channels. If you do want more Tripadvisor reviews, it's time to ditch any other forms you use for gathering feedback.
5. Going above and beyond
Run-of-the-mill experiences don't garner many reviews but providing a memorable (in a good way) one to every customer is sure to encourage them to spread the word, especially when you demonstrate that they can leave their feedback on Tripadvisor.
Managing your reviews
Opening your business up to public feedback is a double-edged sword. Even if you provide exceptional service, you're still relying on your customer to act without malice.
No matter the sentiment of the review, it's important to respond. But if it's a negative review, remember not to let it get out of hand: this can go viral, which is never usually good for business!
If you don't respond, especially to a negative review, all it does is suggest:
the review is accurate
the negative review is false or exaggerated but you don't care enough to make your case
you're lazy or ill informed about how vital Tripadvisor is in your industry
Neither of these scenarios puts your business in the best light. On the other hand, a response can:
clear up any misunderstanding while keeping potential customers accurately informed
give you an opportunity to win back a customer by offering an apology or incentive where the criticism is valid
On a side note, if you know a Tripadvisor review to be fake, you can report it to the moderation team. They aim to get back to you in three to five business days.
Responding to a negative Tripadvisor review: Do's and don'ts
When responding to a negative review, here’s what's important:
Get the full story so that you're informed before you respond.
If the criticism is valid, accept responsibility.
Respond when you're calm and not when upset.
Avoid making excuses. Explain the problem and how you'll fix it in the future.
Try not to shut down. Leave an email address or a phone number so the person can contact you further to resolve the matter.
While Tripadvisor is a great resource for travellers, it's especially helpful for businesses to be able to promote themselves as well as continue the conversation with their customers.