Travel companies have always relied on recommendations and referrals from satisfied customers to attract more clients. While word of mouth marketing is effective, it’s quite slow as a strategy and it’s success incredibly difficult to measure. Fortunately, travel agencies now have better avenues for showcasing their services and gaining exposure. One of these is TripAdvisor.
With over 390 million monthly unique visitors and more than 435 million reviews and opinions from real travellers, TripAdvisor is one of the largest travel review websites today. Travelers turn to TripAdvisor reviews when planning their trips because they trust real reviews from real people. Businesses that rank well often get noticed and get more clients, so it’s absolutely vital for a tour operator, travel agency and hotel to have a great rating to optimize their chances of success..
In this post, we’ll look at how you can leverage TripAdvisor reviews to grow your travel business. We’ll specifically address how agencies can boost their TripAdvisor ranking and maintain an edge over their competitors. So let’s dive into it!
An incomplete and unengaging profile is a massive turnoff for customers.
On TripAdvisor, as is in real life, first impressions matter– and your TripAdvisor profile is where you make a good first impression on potential customers. Make sure to enter complete details about your company, your services and include content that’s informative, engaging, and appealing. Optimize your profile by using relevant keywords, updating your business description, and adding high-quality photos and videos that show you in the best possible light.
The image below is the ‘About’ section of Umi Travel and Tours. The listing on TripAdvisor comes with all the relevant information a traveller may be looking for in a hotel. Not to mention, they have a section for review highlights that gives an overview of what potential customers can expect.
You can follow this example but remember to be honest and do not oversell yourself!
Simply having customer reviews isn’t enough. It’s also important that you engage with customers and respond to their queries and reviews–be it positive or negative TripAdvisor reviews. How you approach bad reviews, in particular, can help make your business more appealing to customers. If you respond well to negative reviews, such as apologizing to the customer and ensuring that their concerns are addressed, you’re more likely to be appreciated by customers and earn their trust. Of course, it’s also worth responding to positive reviews.
Monitoring and responding to online feedback shows potential customers that you care about their experience. When responding to reviews, be sure to leave a genuine, personal message. Keep it short but avoid generic and identical responses.
One of the best ways to improve your travel business ranking and your business as a whole is by collecting and analyzing customer feedback as well as looking at your competitor reviews. Tour reviews on TripAdvisor will highlight the areas that need improvement, upgraded marketing efforts, as well as areas of experience for repeat customers. Checking your competitors’ reviews, especially those that have a better ranking than yours, will also help you polish your services even further.
To gain a better understanding and deeper insights into how customers perceive your business, it helps to request as much feedback from customers as possible. But how? TripAdvisor says: just ask. Reminding customers that you value their feedback can make a great difference. Let them know that you’d like to hear from them as their feedback will surely help you improve your business. It’s important to note, though, that offering incentives (such as raffles, discounts, and special treatments) to customers in exchange for reviews is prohibited by TripAdvisor as it can affect the validity and accuracy of reviews.
To make it easier for customers to check and leave reviews for your services, consider adding TripAdvisor widgets on your website or Facebook page. There is a host of widgets you can use for free. These include Write-A-Review widget (allows customers to review your business right on your website), Rating widget (displays your business’ TripAdvisor rating), Rave Review widget (showcase your most recent excellent review), and more.
Bagging a TripAdvisor recognition or award can also significantly boost your ranking on TripAdvisor and your business reputation. There are two awards that TripAdvisor gives to businesses: the Travellers’ Choice award and the Certificate of Excellence. The Travellers’ Choice award is given to the best of the best in the travel industry, while the Certificate of Excellence is awarded to businesses that have consistently received excellent reviews from travellers.
To improve your chances of bagging any of these recognitions, you need to be listed on TripAdvisor for at least one year, get a minimum number of total reviews and have an overall rating of at least four out of five. Once you have received recognition, don’t forget to spread the news!
The best way you can have a higher ranking on TripAdvisor is to get more reviews. And, the one way you can do this is to encourage your guests to leave behind a review. You can manually send an email to your customers to request them to leave behind a review once the tour is finished.
For most companies, however, this is something that can easily be forgotten. Once the money has been collected and the service has been provided, they tend to forget about these things and move on to the next customer. This is why you need to come up with a system where you can stay on top of what needs to be delivered. And this includes getting as much quality reviews as you possibly can.
Vacation Labs software includes a feature that lets you send automated emails after the tour asking each customer to leave feedback and share their experience with you. With an automated solution, you’ll get more responses and spend less time sending emails. This lets you tick off two out of three factors that affect TripAdvisor rankings: Quantity and Recency.
Most of the information found on the TripAdvisor review platform has a strong influence on consumer decisions. According to studies, travellers rely more on online reviews compared to an ad. They would much rather trust the feedback other like-minded customers have left behind and use that to see how well you can provide your service.
Not to mention, a good ranking on TripAdvisor can help people locate your website when they are searching for something on Google. With the right practice, your SEO ranking can definitely improve when you have a lot of feedback on TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor has certainly become a huge influence on travel planning today. The transparent and authentic reviews posted on TripAdvisor have influenced 13% of international trips and almost 8% of all domestic travel worldwide, or over 350 million trips and 1.8 billion tourism nights in the year 2014 alone, according to Oxford Economics.
Given these figures, it only makes sense for every tour and travel operator looking to enjoy a wider reach and presence to boost their TripAdvisor rankings and leverage the popularity of the website. Fortunately, achieving a good presence and an overall rating on TripAdvisor need not cost you an arm and a leg. By following our tips, you’re sure to climb TripAdvisor rankings in no time. These tips are what many of the 5.3 million establishments, attractions, and businesses listed on TripAdvisor have been doing, and if they’ve worked for them. So, are you ready to try them too?
Let us know about your TripAdvisor experiences through your comments. We’d love to hear them.