Advertorial feature by Brian Payea, head of industry relations, TripAdvisor
A large number of travellers consult online guest reviews when considering which accommodations to book, and the quality and quantity of reviews they read about a property have a big impact on their choice of accommodation.
How much do online traveller reviews matter? According to a recent PhoCusWright survey* commissioned by TripAdvisor, 83% of respondents surveyed usually or always consult TripAdvisor reviews before booking a hotel.
The opinions of other travellers are particularly powerful because they represent the wisdom of the crowds and give travelers candid insights into the properties they are considering booking.
There are two major reasons travellers consistently seek out the opinions of other travelers online: accuracy of the actual guest experience and relevancy to their individual needs. According to the same survey, 98% of respondents have found TripAdvisor hotel reviews to be accurate of the actual experience, with 69% stating the reviews to be highly or extremely accurate. The survey also revealed that 92% of respondents agree that TripAdvisor hotel reviews “help me pick the right hotel for my travel needs.”
So, if the opinions of other travellers are so important to travelers’ purchasing decisions, what can lodging businesses do to encourage guests to share their experiences online? The following are a few tips on how to encourage and leverage online traveller reviews and opinions.
Register Your Property on TripAdvisor
Registering your property on the TripAdvisor Management Center is free and helps you begin taking advantage of a number of other free tools and resources. It’s a powerful first step in becoming actively engaged with the travellers visiting your property page. In the Management Center, you’ll find a wealth of new content and resources to help owners and managers market their properties and generate more traveller reviews.
Ask Your Guests to Share their Opinions
One of the best ways to generate more traveller reviews is to simply ask your guests to share their travel experiences online. While it is against TripAdvisor’s policies to offer guests incentives in exchange for reviews, it is perfectly acceptable to ask your guests to write a review on TripAdvisor.
The TripAdvisor Widget Center offers some great offline tools to invite guests to review your property while their experience is fresh in their minds. These include reminder cards and flyers.
We recommend that guests submit a review when they return home from their trip. A review submitted from a hotel lobby computer may appear to be written by staff.
Place Traveler Content on Your Own Website
In addition to these offline tools, the Widget Center also offers a number of online marketing tools that help you share traveller reviews on your own website and inspire guests to write more.
Widgets like “Bravo” and “Recommended On” help you display your latest reviews, while the “Write a Review” widget encourages customers to review your business. If you’re the recipient of a TripAdvisor accolade, like the Certificate of Excellence, you can display this award badge on your site, as well.
Widgets are among the best ways to market your property and increase engagement with travelers.
These are a few tips to help ensure a steady stream of fresh traveller reviews on TripAdvisor. But, of course, the best way to generate more traveller reviews is to offer an exceptional guest experience.
For more information and tips on how to inspire guest reviews, please visit our video at http://tripadvisor4biz.wordpress.com/videos/#GetMoreReviews.
Brian Payea leads the Trade Relations practice at TripAdvisor. His focus is on fostering communications channels with the travel industry and strengthening the ties between TripAdvisor and the hospitality community. His department is building new tools for hoteliers and other hospitality professionals to take advantage of the wealth of traveler-contributed information on TripAdvisor.
*According to a July 2011 PhoCusWright survey of 3,641 respondents. Participants for the study were solicited at random through a pop-up invitation link on TripAdvisor.com.