Improve your rankings on TripAdvisor

By Hester Stuart | April 9th, 2015

Tips for hoteliers to build their presence on this influential website.

If you have seen your hotel’s ranking drop recently, or you’re making a fresh concerted effort to push your hotel to the top, we have sniffed out the best advice to help steer your approach to the top of TripAdvisor.

Essentially, the popularity index on TripAdvisor is determined by traveller reviews.  The algorithm reviews the quantity, quality and age of the traveller reviews.  The exact makeup and weighting of the algorithm remains as closely guarded as Colonel Sanders’ KFC chicken recipe, leaving the rest of us to navigate the best plan of action.

A recent study on the Bangkok accommodation market to find out how the popularity index performs, discovered that 1 extra point on the average review score increased the popularity index rank by 321 places.   And, that 1 extra review will increase the popularity index rank by 1.5 places.

So, it seems that efforts in generating more reviews, plus improving customer satisfaction work hand in hand,  which this handy video explains.

So, how can you best-make this work in your business’s favour?

Ask your guests to write reviews when they checkout  

You can get a sense if they’ll leave positive feedback by asking about their stay.  You could provide them with a flier which outlines your next accommodation promotion to build customer loyalty, along with a reminder to log into TripAdvisor.

Follow up stays with an email

You can do this by automating a post-stay email with a link to your TripAdvisor listing.  This is especially useful if you’ve captured their email addresses on reservation.  TrustYou offers a piece of software to automate this, and TripAdvisor themselves offer a solution Review Express which requires more day to day management.

Respond to all reviews on TripAdvisor, the good, the bad and the ugly

This will encourage others to share their reviews and your brand’s engagement will make all the difference in how your customers perceive your hotel.  It help builds a positive image.  Be sure to respond quickly as it demonstrates you’re receptive to feedback.  Remain professional and polite, your entire audience will be able to read what you respond with.  Readers understand that not all customers raise reasonable complaints and can see when criticism is unwarranted, so your response will win you brownie points.

Either embed or provide snippets from TripAdvisor on your own website

It shows confidence and allows your customers to see the reviews prior to staying, whilst remaining on your website.  This will also encourage them to leave their own reviews in time.

When reviews go very wrong

If you spot a review on your hotel listing that is incorrect or sounds suspicious, you can report it.  TripAdvisor keep a list of review guidelines to help them review fraudulent activity.  Here are the stops to do this.

Log into ‘Your Business’.  In the Management Centre, select ‘Manage your reviews’

Manage your reviews

Select ‘Concerned about a Review’ and then ‘See our guidelines and submit your comments’.

concerned about a review

Complete the form, remember to select the questionable review, and provide any evidence you may have.

Now it’s a waiting game, and there’s no guarantee that TripAdvisor will remove the listing.  So, whilst you’re waiting for their feedback, respond directly to the review.  Don’t lose your temper, remain professional, remember everyone can read your responses.   A good strategy is to invite the reviewer to call the hotel and ask to be forwarded to your direct line to discuss the problem further.  This should take conversations off TripAdvisor, and directly onto the phone.

Inventing reviews, a warning

TripAdvisor take the integrity of reviews very seriously.  They do not tolerate ‘black hat’ search engine optimisation techniques which boost ranking and traffic on TripAdvisor.   If you are caught faking the reviews, or find a 3rd party working on your behalf to generate fictitious reviews, your popularity index will be penalised.  How they uncover suspicious activity remains a closely guarded secret, but it has been reported an estimated 13,000 reviews fall into a ‘questionable’ category every day, and each one is investigated.

We would never recommend trying to engineering your results, this beast is best approached organically.  The best way to affect the results is through consistent, excellent product and service performance.  And don’t forget to regularly respond to reviews, be they positive or negative.

We hope you’ve found this article of interest.  If there’s anything else you’d like to ask us about improving your rankings on TripAdvisor, please get in touch.

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