Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Hotels and TripAdvisor - the bottom line

This post was prompted by a recent article (title above - no names...) that gave advice to hoteliers about how to manage their presence on TripAdvisor. It contained statements that we see repeated every day, statements that make sense until you know how people really behave in relation to reviews. 

That's what we do for a living: review management. And nothing else. So here are our comments on the points (somewhat bizarrely there were at least five) made.
  1. 'Get your guests to write reviews'. So far, so good. But...
  2. 'Approach your biggest fans first':  sounds sensible, until you realise two things. That you are not quite sure who your 'biggest fans' are and that this cherry-picking strategy will leave your less than happy guests to write to TripAdvisor on their own initiative
  3. 'Send an email inviting them to post directly to TripAdvisor': you may run the perfect hotel, but unless you have perfect guests as well you run the risk of actively inviting negative reviews, most of which you would not have received if you had not sent the invitation
  4. 'Add a TripAdvisor widget to your website': let's recap: invite reviews (including negatives) and then promote them with a widget on your site? We don't recommend it
  5. 'Put your TripAdvisor link in your email signature': you are keen to help your unhappy guests complain in public, aren't you?
There is a way, a much better way...

Invite all your guests to post through Dialogue: every single one. That way you will cover all the bases, your happy guests will tell you (and your future guests) just how happy they are. Then...

Manage any negatives in private: Your less than perfectly happy guests will respond in private, and you will be able to address whatever issues they raise (again, in private), leaving them reassured, very unlikely to post anything negative on a public site and much more likely to stay again.

Get great reviews to TripAdvisor (or Google): we will then be able to invite them to post their reviews to TripAdvisor (or anywhere else that matters), secure in the knowledge that just about everything they write will be helpful.

Further reading

Here is a selection of relevant articles (from amongst the 200-odd we've published in the last five years):

Results: Hosting reviews on your own website will increase direct bookings and dramatically reduce bounce to TripAdvisor and the other OTAs.
TripAdvisor: The simplest aspect of Dialogue: any hotel, in any location will get more great reviews and far less (at least 75% less, possibly nil) negative reviews. The impact of this on your rankings and scores will be immediate and sustained.
Google: It is a mistake to ignore Google, they are the 'gatekeeper' for anyone searching for a room, and their reviews are set to become more influential by the day.
And finally:  

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