Traveling blind is a great way for consumers to end up in a pickle. Dirty linen, noisy neighbors, and inattentive staff may be familiar staples of a spontaneous backpacking adventure, but most travelers do their research in order to avoid a negative guest experience.
In the digital age, having great reviews helps hotels grow their reach and attract travelers from all over the world.
Sites like Tripadvisor, the second most-visited travel and tourism website worldwide, can make a humongous impact on a hotel’s performance. And that’s why ranking well on the platform is so important.
But it’s not always easy, and if you’ve dealt with Tripadvisor before, you’ll be aware of various issues with the platform. Nevertheless, Tripadvisor will help you stand out, get more heads in beds, and pay dividends in years to come.
In this blog, we’ll explore 5 ways you can improve your hotel’s Tripadvisor ranking.
Tripadvisor is an online travel information and booking website used by consumers to book accommodation and travel, read or leave reviews, instant message other travelers, and save their favorite hotels or experiences.
It’s a virtual recommendation site, with users flocking in from all over the world to get and leave recommendations. The higher a property’s ranking on the site, the more successful the hotel will be.
According to SimilarWeb, North Americans use the site most, with 66% coming from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom (2.3%), then Canada (2%). Twenty-eight per cent of Tripadvisor users are between the ages of 25 - 34, followed by 35 - 44 year-olds (18%).
So, how do users end up on the platform? Seventy-eight percent of their traffic comes from search, with “Tripadvisor” being the top keyword sending traffic to the site. In addition, Facebook is Tripadvisors top referring social platform (33.3%), followed by YouTube (19%), and Reddit (16.1%).
Simply put, your Tripadvisor profile could make or break a booking.
With 463 million monthly unique visitors, and 859 million reviews to browse, Tripadvisor is the place for hotels to be if they wish to be found and booked. And the reason for that is simple: travelers trust other travelers more than any hotel marketing team.
While a traveler may never have heard of your hotel before, a few good reviews from trusted Tripadvisor users could persuade them to book. Tripadvisor can help you boost popularity, increase bookings, and encourage repeat customers. But be warned - it can do the opposite too.
You could spend thousands of dollars on enticing website copy and photography, but if the user reviews and pictures don’t live up to your advertising, you’ve got a problem.
Similarly, if trusted users promise travelers a relaxing stay, superb service, and tasty food in their reviews, chances are travelers will book.
If you haven’t already, claim your listing on Tripadvisor now and start building out your profile.
Before we get into methods for boosting your Tripadvisor ranking, it’s important to understand the way that ranking is calculated. Your rating is not your ranking, though it does contribute. This is why you may see a hotel with an overall 5-star rating at the bottom of page 2.
Your ranking is determined by something called the popularity index — which looks at how you rank against other properties in your geographic area. It takes into account:
Fake reviews are also a big no-no for properties. Not only could your ranking plummet due to fake reviews, but today’s internet users are review-savvy and can usually spot fakes.
“The key to building a successful business and a higher popularity ranking is stellar hospitality and paying attention to your customers’ needs. Encourage customers to write reviews, learn from them and watch your hard work pay off.” — Tripadvisor
Sometimes, getting guests to leave reviews is easier said than done — even when they’ve had an excellent time. That’s why you need to make it super easy for them. Keep reading to discover five ways you can encourage positive reviews from every guest who comes your way.
Your guests’ experience doesn’t just begin when they step into your establishment. It begins before they’ve even hit “BOOK”.
The service you provide guests from the outset will contribute to their overall experience. Understanding the seven stages of the hotel guest cycle will help you optimize every part of the guest experience.
Research and booking: Provide a seamless reservation experience and offer the best prices and conditions possible to encourage bookings.
Pre-arrival: Once they convert, utilize email — sparingly — to make guests feel welcome before they’ve even arrived. A few days before their stay, send a know-before-you-go email with directions, and what they can expect when they arrive. This is also a great time to upsell extra services, room upgrades or other add-ons.
Arrival: On the day, reduce the risk of wait-times at reception by using a tool like Canary Contactless Check-In. This will allow guests to check-in on their mobile device so they can get on with their day.
In-house: Throughout a guest’s stay, communication and availability from hotel staff is a must. Not only will this make the guest feel looked-after, but it will encourage positive reviews.
Guest messaging technology such as Canary Messaging is a great way to stay in touch with guests and frees up time for your front-desk.
Departure and Post-stay: Ensure a smooth checkout process, and post-stay, send an email thanking the guest for booking with you. This is a great time to request feedback and reviews. Afterwards, share offers and updates now and again to encourage them to book with you again.
Good service will take care of inspiring good reviews, but what about harvesting the real-word quantity of those good feelings? Encouraging guests to leave a review at the right time with the right methods can help you significantly improve your Tripadvisor ranking. Guiding travelers to sites like Tripadvisor can be as simple as leaving a QR code in their room but there’s an even easier method.
Contactless Checkout technology is a fantastic way to improve your guests’ overall experience, free up time for your housekeeping and front-desk teams, and encourage great guest reviews.
Canary Contactless Checkout, for example, allows guests to choose a checkout time and even checkout later for a fee. Canary then drives your guests to Tripadvisor or Google with a brief, customisable survey.
Canary’s Guest Management System can help boost your reviews by up to 350% — while also helping reduce fraud and increase revenue. Ali’i Resorts LLC, for example, increased their average star rating from 3.5 to 4.6 with Canary Contactless Check-In and Checkout.
“The big benefit for our guests now is that when they arrive at a property, they’ve already handled all of the administrative tasks during the Contactless Check-In process,” said Sam Chesick, Assistant Director of Operations at Ali’i Resorts. “It is a much friendlier and more welcoming experience for our guests to show up at their vacation rental and have a member of our team tell them all the great things about where they’re staying and the surrounding area without the need to sign paperwork.”
Your reviews tell a story. If you read them close enough you’ll pick up on patterns and areas for improvement. Even good reviews may include some words of advice —not everything can be perfect, after all.
Listening to feedback, good or bad, is important for growth and will show repeat customers that you truly value their feedback. But when you have thousands of reviews and you’re stretched for time, trawling through reviews isn’t easy. This is where technology can help.
Positive reviews can also be of help. Find things that guests love about staying at your hotel and do more of it. Maybe multiple guests enjoyed a particular dessert or liked the cookies you left in their rooms. Perhaps a recent change has led to an uptick in positive feedback.
Perhaps you realize that you attract a certain type visitor or demographic of guest. Noting or analyzing this feedback will help you stay in tune with who your guests are and what they want in order to better provide for and impress them.
Negative reviews provide a lesson — and an opportunity. But negative experiences don’t always need to become bad reviews.
One of the best ways to prevent negative reviews and increase guest satisfaction is to fix issues while the guest is still enjoying their stay. Therefore, it’s a good idea to ask guests for feedback at various points throughout their stay.
Remind guests that feedback — both positive and negative — is encouraged as guests can sometimes feel hesitant when it comes to bringing up issues. Remember, acting on an in-stay survey or simple message can take a three-star review to a five-star review.
When it comes to negative reviews, respond in a positive, helpful manner. You’re not only speaking to the person who left the review, but to everyone else reading and deciding whether or not to book with you.
If a user decides to book, it’s likely they’ll be looking for the issues they read about in negative reviews — which makes it all the more important to address them.
You don’t need to offer fine-dining and chocolates on a pillow to receive a five-star Tripadvisor review. Often, guests just want to know that you’re doing your best to make their stay amazing. In addition, rectifying issues as they occur will play in your favor if something goes wrong.
A lack of transparency and honesty, overtime, will hinder your Tripadvisor ranking. Over-promising and under-delivering — especially where cost is involved — can lead to disappointment and irritation.
Avoid things like hidden fees as these can sour a whole stay from the get-go. During the booking-process, be transparent and inform guests of any changes before arrival.
Make sure your pictures on Tripadvisor, your website, or any OTAs are up-to-date and realistic to prevent disappointment. Train staff on these principles so that guests feel taken care of, even when hiccups occur.
Perhaps your kitchen is understaffed one night and you’re struggling to get appetizers out on-time. Let the guests know discretely that their food is coming and that they haven’t been forgotten about. Offering them a discount or a free drink even before their food arrives could even turn their dining experience around.
Improving your Tripadvisor ranking is a balancing act of quality, quantity, and freshness of reviews. To attain all three, it helps to employ technology to take the strain off your teams, which is all the more important when you’re working with a skeleton staff and squeezed for budget.
It’s always helpful to look at little ways you can impress or delight guests at various points of their stay with creativity, whether that’s with technology, small gestures when things go wrong, or thoughtful, well-trained staff.
The truth is you can encourage quality Tripadvisor reviews with every guest touchpoint, from pre-stay to post. Just be sure to find ways to actively encourage reviews, from asking at the right time, to using technology to send people to Tripadvisor. Finally, even when you think you’ve collected enough reviews, keep going.
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