September 11th 2019
5 Minute Read
As someone working in hospitality you’ve probably got a love/hate relationship with online review websites. Or maybe you have been scratching your head over how to get to the top of TripAdvisor?
However, used properly, they can be a tremendous marketing tool for your business. In order to win big, you’ve got to consistently get your business to the front page of TripAdvisor.
So how do you go about getting there?
Follow these 5 steps below and you’ll rise up the TripAdvisor rankings in no time. Get ready to unleash dramatic results in your business.
1. Claim your own business page and complete your profile
Amazingly most businesses fail to claim their own TripAdvisor business page. This leaves you with no control over what information is shown about your business or what images are used and, worse, no way of responding to what’s being said about your business.
Claim your business if you haven’t already done so, and then make sure that all your details are up to date so that anyone looking you up can see at first glance what you do.
More people are going to visit your TripAdvisor page than your website so make sure you are keeping it bang up to date, managing it and controlling it.
Include your opening times, web address, telephone number, and product details such as photographs of menu items. This is free advertising at the end of the day so give customers as much relevant information as possible.
2. Focus on getting a higher ranking
Online review sites are powered by algorithms, the inner workings of which they like to keep a closely guarded secret.
You could be getting top marks for your food, but if your ranking (where you sit among other hospitality businesses) is poor then you simply won’t be seen by potential customers. People make their choice based on ranking more than ever. Think about it: if a restaurant in your area is ranked 6 out of 500, that looks much better than 60th or 300th.
To get the top of TripAdvisor you need to get your business seen on that all-important first page. The reality is that people are unlikely to scroll down any further and find you.
Fortunately, there are four key elements you can focus on which are going to help:
Like all online review websites, TripAdvisor will update their rankings every day, which means that recent reviews are more valuable than older ones. That’s because research has shown 77% of consumers do not value reviews more than three months old.
Try to get at least two reviews on your profile within the last seven days and 10 within the last month.
Regular reviews posted more frequently will generate better results so it’s a good habit to get into.
To get to the top of TripAdvisor you need an evergreen strategy and not a short-term campaign. Do not be tempted to encourage posts in bulk every few weeks or months as this will do you more harm than good in the eyes of your customers and may even make TripAdvisor think you are trying to game the system, resulting in penalties for your business.
Short reviews which don’t really say anything are valued less and less by TripAdvisor, so encourage your customers to post more detailed reviews mentioning specifics about the food, room and overall experience.
Pictures and detailed descriptions are gold dust so encourage your staff to ask customers who are taking photos if they’d mind leaving a review of your business.
Detailed reviews also help create trending terms on your profile, which is another fantastic way of getting your business to stand out.
The more reviews you have, the more favourably your restaurant or hotel will be ranked. But again these need to be built up consistently over time and not in an ad hoc way.
Use online management tools to increase the quantity of reviews. For every 100 people you ask for you will get around 10 reviews.
Better still, email them directly and ask them to leave a review. You should do this at the same time build up your own marketing list.
3. Remind your happiest customers to leave you a review
If a customer tells you they have had a great meal, do you actively ask them to leave a review? If not you need to start.
70% of people who say they will leave a review go on to do it, so train your staff to ask for reviews when a customer has finished their meal or is checking out. It’s a great way of getting more genuine reviews, which will immediately pay dividends on your profile, as well as improve your recency and quantity, too.
More positive reviews will boost your rankings faster. But to do that you need to be capturing how your customers feel about you in real-time.
Once you’ve discovered how they feel, make it easy for them. Give them a big button on your site or on any emails to them so that they can be directed straight away to your profile to leave a review.
Develop a culture in your business of asking people to leave a review by encouraging your staff to ask for them.
4. Always respond to a customer review and say thanks for a thanks
Always respond to your customer reviews and especially your positive ones.
Most businesses only focus on replying to negative reviews but saying thanks for a thanks builds the relationship between you and the customer and shows everyone else how much you care. If you’re struggling for ideas, here’s a list of 5 template responses that will work for any restaurant.
In any case, it’s good practice to reply to all your customers with thoughtful, unbiased responses.
5. Resolve unhappy customer issues before they tell the world
Though it may feel like the sky is falling in, negative feedback is not the end of the world. In fact, it can be a good thing. What matters is how you react to criticism.
If you have been given negative feedback then focus on resolving the issues as soon as possible. Only one in three online reviews are left in the first 24 hours so you have time to turn the majority of problems around before they hit TripAdvisor.
But what if a bad review does appear online? If bad reviews are few and far between, then they are not as damaging as you’d think. In fact, research has shown that customers don’t believe a business with only positive reviews.
Think about things from your customers’ point of view. Everyone has a bad night now and again, so they will accept the odd bad review if your other reviews are good.
Focus on facts
Remember, your responses should be factual and not emotional. Don’t create a viral media storm by arguing back. If you’re at fault then hold your hands up and admit it. Then explain what you are doing to stop it happening again.
If you are not to blame then simply state your position. Don’t say you appreciate their bad reviews as this is disingenuous and false.
Climb up the TripAdvisor rankings
If you carry out all these steps and we guarantee that your TripAdvisor ranking improve. But remember, consistency is key!
To get to the top of TripAdvisor, you need a plan and not just a set of knee jerk actions. By following these steps, you will see big results that make a big difference to your business.
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