Travel review site TripAdvisor has made enhancements to its service for independent hoteliers.
Review Express was launched in May last year to enable small to medium-sized hotels and bed and breakfasts to efficiently generate users reviews.
It was developed specifically for property owners and managers that did not have CRM (customer relationship management) tools.
Severine Philardeau, vice president of global partnerships at TripAdvisor, said owners of smaller properties had been losing out because they did not have resources in this area.
“The challenge was that many [of these smaller properties] didn’t have enough reviews to have a profile on TripAdvisor,” she said.
“The tool allowed them to set up an email template in multiple languages so they could customise emails and email campaigns.”
TripAdvisor said the property owner benefited because they were able to take control of their marketing and drive more reviews.
Soon after its launch, TripAdvisor introduced the Review Express Dashboard to provide users with access to data reports relating to the effectiveness of their email campaigns.
But after carrying out more customer usability studies later in the year, TripAdvisor decided to make three extra enhancements.
Users can now save their templates, meaning they don’t have to start from scratch every time they want to send an email, and they can update photos and “from” email addresses on multiple templates using default settings.
Perhaps most significantly, the Review Express tool can now be linked to a property’s internet booking engine (IBE), making it easier to sync reservations and email address databases with the marketing template.
TripAdvisor claims Review Express users have seen a 33% average increase in reviews since its inception.
“We used to send out emails to people after they’d stayed with us but in the last couple of months we’ve started using Review Express,” said Peter O’Sullivan, the owner of Harington’s Hotel in Bath.
“It’s definitely making a difference to our business. We can see that a higher percentage of people we’re sending review requests to via Review Express are responding back to us and giving us their feedback and reviews, compared to the previous emails we were sending out.”
Hospitality business owners must be registered on TripAdvisor to use the free service.