Three Steps to a Better TripAdvisor Rating
By Jean Francois Mourier, CEO of REVPAR GURU
Booking a hotel room online requires a strong level of trust on the part of the consumer, because they aren¹t able to see the property until they arrive on their check-in date. This makes sites like TripAdvisor a very valuable tool for consumers. In fact, 86% of respondents to a recent MSNBC survey said that they rely on the reviews that they find on TripAdvisor (or other similar travel sites) before they make a purchasing decision.
If you aren¹t already closely monitoring your TripAdvisor rating, I¹m here to tell you that you need to start. And to help you do so, here are three steps that you can take to improve your TripAdvisor rating and your revenues.
Respond to Reviews
While it seems altogether too simple to actually have any effect on your rating, responding to both negative and positive reviews can have a huge impact. Seventy-six percent of travelers surveyed by TripAdvisor said they have a more positive view of owners who respond to online guest reviews. By doing so, you are showing potential customers that you pay attention and that you care whether your customers have the best possible stay at your property. Some hoteliers even find that they get more referrals from negative reviews being handled well (with professional, helpful responses) instead of positive reviews.
The best responses to customer reviews are:
- Professional and polite Avoid confrontation. Avoid using all caps or excessive punctuation.
- Be specific Don¹t use stock answers to respond to customer complaints. Try to draft a personal response tailored to the specifics of each individual concern. Never cut and paste from another response that you have used to another complaint.
- Always thank customers for their feedback, even if it is a negative review.
- Whenever possible, include specific actions that you will be taking to address the person¹s issue.
Renovate to Eliminate Negative Reviews
In October 2012, TripAdvisor added a new policy that allows the removal of negative reviews when a hotel renovates. In order to have negative reviews erased, hotels are required to provide proof of the structural changes (building permits, materials invoices, press releases, etc.). Once the proof has been submitted to TripAdvisor, the reviews are deleted, leaving no indication that the hotel had once been rated poorly. This is a huge opportunity for hotels to start over with a clean slate, which can have a positive effect on the number of bookings generated through TripAdvisor which can be a highly profitable channel, as no commission fees are charged for bookings that are referred from the site.
Encourage & Incentivize Customers to Leave Reviews
The best way to ensure that your TripAdvisor rating is reflective of your hotel¹s actual performance is to encourage past guests to leave a review. Often, it is the customers who have negative experiences who are the most vocal on review sites, so encouraging past guests who have had positive experiences to do a review is also important.
As each guest checks out, provide him/her with a card inviting them to share their experiences on TripAdvisor. By offering an incentive (like a discount off of the customer¹s next stay), more customers will be wiling to take the time to complete a review. An added bonus to offering a discount off of a future booking is that you are converting the customer (who may have originally booked through an OTA) to a direct customer which also increases your revenues. Within two days of the guest¹s checkout, follow up with an email to thank them for their business and again, ask them to write a TripAdvisor review (again with an incentive, if possible). Provide a direct link to make it easy for them to do so, and by using a free link-shortening tool like Bit.ly, you can track how many people click through to TripAdvisor from the email.
By following these three tips, you will find that your TripAdvisor rating increases drastically. If you don¹t believe me, ask Christelle Tropina, the General Manager at Hotel Impala, a luxurious boutique hotel in Miami Beach. When Christelle started at Hotel Impala, the property was rated 180 out of 196 hotels in Miami Beach. In only three months after renovation, Christelle was able to increase the hotel¹s position to 17 in the area. Since October 2012, the property has maintained a position in the top 10 hotels in Miami Beach and has even been ranked the top property in the area.
And it was all thanks to the hard work of Christelle, who used these three tips to push her property to the top on TripAdvisor and who saw the impact on her revenues because of it.
About REVPAR GURU
REVPAR GURU provides hotels around the world with an alternative revenue management software solution, designed to deliver maximum bookings and profits. As REVPAR GURU's custom-designed Yield Dynamic Price Engine is the only real-time revenue management software available on the market, it meets the rapidly changing needs of hotels in a very demanding business environment. REVPAR GURU"s solution offers dynamic rate optimization, real-time pricing, integrated internet and extranet yield channel management and GDS sales distribution, to increase a hotel's RevPAR intelligently and effectively, while maintaining rate integrity and automated rate parity. Since 2004, REVPAR GURU"s software solution has been used by hotels worldwide to increase occupancy and RevPAR. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, additional information can be found at www.revparguru.com or by calling +1.786.478.3500.