TripAdvisor remains one of the more well-known online tools designed to help travelers connect with the right resources during their trip. With a simple, comprehensive user interface and great usability, it is a one-stop-shop for any trip planner.
For resorts and business owners in the travel industry, this means that the presence you maintain on TripAdvisor can make a huge impact on the success of your online marketing efforts.
Give Guests a Good Foundation
Fleshing out your online listings is a solid marketing practice. Add pictures, maps, details about the amenities – anything that will help to paint a positive, realistic picture of your property. Be wary of using photoshopped images – guests will be emphatically (rightfully) displeased to discover the truth after they’ve arrived.
The foundation of your listing is in your hands. Unfortunately, that is also the extent of the control you hold over the information that is offered on TripAdvisor because of how the site is designed.
The Reality of Consumer-Oriented Reviews
TripAdvisor was first created by a man who wanted a means of getting information about potential travel destinations by people who had actually been there. This emphasis on consumer reviews makes it important for guests to leave both positive and negative reviews.
Unfortunately, both types of reviews can be spammy and leave a mistaken impression on potential visitors.
After all, online searchers using TripAdvisor often utilize its tools as a preliminary means of planning their next getaway. The 5-star rating system and ease of leaving any type of review makes it extremely easy to ignore your hotel/resort/B&B completely, in favor of competitors.
The Reverse Effect
Studies have shown that, in an effort to boost their ratings on TripAdvisor, hotels have actually spent time improving their system. Gasp. For well-earned feedback, this is a great effect of the review system.
Of course, there are many reviews that are not accurate. Many listings on TripAdvisor are suffering from the reality that people are much more motivated to leave a negative review than a positive review. (And, if you spend any amount of time reading negative reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, you’ll notice a trend: anyone can complain about anything.)
Protect Yourself from Negative Reviews
But how do you keep your future guests from being scared off by online trolls who like leaving a thick trail of negativity in their wake?
The first thing you can do is brush up on your protocol for handling a negative review.
Then, take the time to implement a “rate us on TripAdvisor” campaign with your many guests. This can be a great way to remind your guests of the importance of supporting local businesses and sharing your company’s name with their family and friends.
Take It All With a Grain of Salt
TripAdvisor (or Groupon, Yelp, and the like) is a handy tool for people who have no idea where to begin planning their next vacation. But because of the various abuses of this site, it can hinder their trip even more than it helps.
With that in mind, take it all with a grain of salt.
If you see a negative review – respond positively.
Example: Someone leaves a negative review that mentions “dirty beds, towels, and room.”
Your action step: post a picture of a cleaned room to social media with the positive message “Another room cleaned and ready for the next guest!” Then, post a blog about “5 Facts About Our Resort” that just happens to mention your commitment to cleanliness.
This might be an indirect response, but it builds a positive culture around your business, which is an invaluable aid to attracting more guests.
In short, be the best version of a business that you can be, learn from your mistakes, and promote the happiness & well-being of your guests. Take the time to enlist the help of a tourism marketing specialist and be confident: with hard work and a solid marketing strategy, your business can grow.