Technology

Get More out of TripAdvisor

- Last month TripAdvisor launched yet another feature that is sure to broaden hotel exposure - Trip Friends, an interface that ties into Facebook. Now travelers can tap into their network of friends and see a list of who has been to that location. In addition, they can direct message those friends or post a message to a group of friends - taking the search for helpful travel info a step past reviews from strangers to first hand experiences from trusted contacts.

This foray into more focused social media isn’t the only new feature TripAdvisor has launched recently that could aid properties. The new business listings are streamlined way for hotels to list direct booking info that wasn’t previously available. This is not a free service of course, but for a fee your property can have increased visibility with a phone number, URL and email address - all valuable info for travelers and even more valuable to those looking to channel online bookers directly.

TripAdvisor’s 34 million monthly visitors, and more than 35 million reviews and opinions make is the world’s largest travel site and not participating is not an option for hotels. And, in addition to all the exposure you’ll have on the site, it is highly weighted by Google meaning any activity on your profile page (especially if you have a link directly to your site) can have a positive impact on your natural search results.

Here are a few tips to keep you at the top of your TripAdvisor game.

Tap into the Manager’s Center. If you have registered your property you have access to the manager’s center. This area of the site allows you to report postings that are not about your property, correct any information about the hotel that isn’t correct, keep track of your advertising efforts and respond to reviews. Keep responses short and sweet and always thank users for their feedback. It is best to respond to both positive and negative reviews and do so on a regular basis.

Photography 101. You’ll notice the hotel photo link at the top of your profile rotates from different OTAs. Make sure your photos have been updated in all these channels to ensure that users are seeing the representation of your hotel that you intend no matter what OTA is being featured.

Share the Wealth. Keep on top of the reviews and share the comments with your team and the front of the house teams. Reviews are a great way to get to know what travelers are experiencing and how they feel about your brand. Positive or negative, it is a gold mine of information that the whole organization can learn from. Of course, the more you can learn the better the reviews should become.

Play the Numbers Game. A lot of what is behind the rankings on TripAdvisor has to do with the number of reviews you receive, not just those ratings. Take every opportunity you can to link your guests directly to your profile page. Do you email out a survey? Put a link to TripAdvisor there and ask participants to “share their experiences with other travelers.” Does your GM or anyone in guest services regularly communicate via email with guests? Ask them to add a quick link to TripAdvisor and a standardized line to the bottom of their emails when they feel they have made a positive impact on a guest.

Become a Forum Junkie. The local forum board is a great way to get to know the big influencers on the site and put a word in for your hotel from time to time. Create a transparent user name that reflects your property and introduce yourself to the community. On a regular basis, answer traveler questions making sure to give helpful information that is NOT pushing your brand. By being a resource on the board you will ensure that forum users and local TA experts think of you and your property as a valuable part of the community - that is invaluable exposure.

If you would like to learn more about Internet Marketing for hotels please contact O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing at 978-465-5955 or write an email to info@orourkehospitality.com. You can also visit our website at www.orourkehospitality.com.

O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing, 44 Merrimac Street, Newburyport MA, 01950, 978-465-5955, www.orourkehospitality.com

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