Many small accommodation providers wonder how TripAdvisor can help them to manage their online reputation and more importantly, get them more online bookings.
To find out, we went straight to the source. Here are key insights from Heather Leisman, Vice President Industry Marketing for TripAdvisor for Business.
Heather leads global marketing to the hospitality industry, further building the sector’s understanding of what TripAdvisor can offer and helping hospitality professionals take an active role in managing their customers’ experience.
TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site, with 340 million unique users every month and domains in 45 countries worldwide. Now in its 15th year, TripAdvisor is a brand that travelers recognize and rely on when planning and booking their perfect trip.
According to the recently released TripBarometer survey, 88 percent of global travelers say reviews on TripAdvisor are influential when choosing where to book. The hospitality industry has understood the importance of this trend as well, with 92 percent of global hoteliers stating that reviews on TripAdvisor are important for generating bookings.
Looking at stats like these, it’s clear that TripAdvisor plays an essential role in today’s travel research and planning process, both for consumers and businesses.
TripAdvisor is a great platform for small accommodation businesses as it provides a level playing field for all providers to access potential guests. Small accommodations can take advantage of their presence on TripAdvisor to market their property to a huge, international audience of potential guests who are searching for a place to stay. And regardless of the size of their marketing budget, TripAdvisor’s highly qualified traffic makes it one of the most efficient ways a small property can attract and retain guests.
With TripAdvisor, it doesn’t matter if you are a large hotel chain or a small independent property, if you provide excellent service, you can rise to the top of the ranking.
According to TripBarometer, two thirds of travelers (59%) booked their last holiday online, so it is imperative for businesses to maximize and optimize their online presence. However, the cost and complexity of executing online marketing strategies and optimizing online bookings can be daunting or even inaccessible for small, independent hotels.
To address this problem, TripAdvisor has developed a suite of tools and resources that allow hotels to leverage TripAdvisor’s marketing expertise and technology to reach millions of travelers across the globe.
Upon registering their listing with TripAdvisor, all businesses are provided with a range of free tools including analytics, information resources and promotional collateral such as widgets and stickers, all aimed at assisting businesses to enhance their listing.
In addition to the free resources provided through the Management Centre, TripAdvisor also has a suite of marketing products available to businesses which provide further opportunities to engage with potential guests and drive bookings.
TripAdvisor offers small accommodation owners with a platform to reach and influence the booking decisions of millions of travelers worldwide.
TripAdvisor’s suite of paid marketing products are designed to be powerful channels that help convert browsers into bookers. A Business Listing subscription allows hotels to capture direct business by putting all of the relevant property information at travelers’ fingertips: direct contact information, special offers, announcements. It also offers a full suite of analytics tools, which help owners to get a deeper understanding of their properties’ performance on the site and identify new audiences.
TripAdvisor is also partnering with hotel technology providers, such as the Little Hotelier channel manager, to offer travelers a seamless way to book a room directly from their chosen hotel’s TripAdvisor property page via certified connectivity partners.
TripConnect instant booking is a way for hotel’s to capture bookings from their TripAdvisor page, enabling bookings directly, increasing conversion, and improving the customer experience for travelers looking to select a property and complete their reservation without leaving the familiarity of the TripAdvisor website and experience.
There are a number of ways for small hotels to improve their guest’s engagement and conversion online. Firstly, hotels should also be harnessing the power of the TripAdvisor brand and making use of the free widgets, tools and webinars TripAdvisor offers all businesses.
Millions of travelers visit TripAdvisor every month so it is critical for hotels to optimize their TripAdvisor listing, ensuring that they have correct and current information displayed and that they are actively managing their online reputation.
But these days, not only is it essential to monitor what travelers are saying about your hotel business; it’s also important to encourage guests to share their experiences and write reviews.
To facilitate this effort, TripAdvisor offers Review Express, a free review collection service whereby hoteliers can upload their guests’ email addresses and send them a customizable email asking them to write a review about their stay (all information is private and will not shared).
Fresh content is deemed more valuable by travelers who want to read about a guest’s experience from a few days or weeks ago, rather than from someone who visited the hotel last year and using a service like Review Express means not only more reviews but also, more recent reviews.
Responding to reviews is one of the most important things business owners can do and is another free tool available on TripAdvisor.
A study released by TripAdvisor last year revealed that hotels providing a management response to reviews are 21 percent more likely to receive a booking inquiry via TripAdvisor than those who don’t respond to any reviews. And properties that respond to over 50 percent of their reviews increase their likelihood of receiving a booking inquiry by 24 percent (compared to properties that do not respond to reviews).
For Business Listings subscribers, the top tips would be to ensure that they are utilizing all of the benefits. Develop and promote special offers, use the announcements feature to spotlight important news, display direct contact information and showcase beautiful images.
Hotels should also be using the property dashboard to gain competitive insights and make educated marketing decisions based on the comprehensive traveler, competitor and market data and trends provided.
Now with the introduction of the TripConnect Instant Booking feature, TripAdvisor also offers a powerful new booking channel enabling travelers to book directly with the hotel through TripAdvisor.
The bonus of this new feature is not only that the hotel owns the guest relationship from the moment of booking but also that hotels only pay for completed stays, in a pay-per-booking commission model.
Hotels using Little Hotelier’s channel manager are eligible to access this new service.
We’re always exploring new ways to enhance the user experience on TripAdvisor, both for travelers using the site to plan and book their trips and for business owners promoting their properties to potential customers and guests.
TripAdvisor recently released the 2015 edition of TripBarometer, which looks at the Global Travel Economy. According to that survey, the key traveler trends small accommodation businesses need to be aware of in 2015:
Price, travel reviews and convenient location are most influential for travelers when booking an accommodation. However, 77% say amenities are also influential during the decision process. Amenities that travelers find most influential when booking an accommodation:
When travelers worldwide were asked why they picked a particular destination, many said that local activities, experiences and culture are highly influential.
Common reasons for visiting a specific place in 2015:
Compared to other holiday expenses, sightseeing is the most common “special treat”. In fact, more travelers are likely to spend more on sightseeing than on shopping, souvenirs and nightlife combined.
Here are the most common things that travelers are willing to spend more on as a treat:
We asked travelers how many international trips they took in 2014, and how many they plan to take in 2015. Globally, the average number is set to increase by 15% this year.
Travelers from these countries are especially planning to increase their trips abroad in 2015:
32% of travelers plan to spend more this year than they did last year, compared to 16% who plan to reduce travel spending.
Which countries have the highest percentage of travelers increasing their budgets?
Further information and insights can be found here.
Three quarters of travelers say that hotel promotions and discounts influence their booking decision, according to the TripBarometer Global Travel Economy report. Nearly half say that special offers also have a big impact on their selection.
Business Listings subscribers can post customizable special offers on their TripAdvisor page. Considering the important role special offers and promotions play in travelers’ booking decisions, here are a few tips for creating a successful Special Offer on TripAdvisor:
We know that independent hotels and bed & breakfast owners are interested in getting more direct bookings, but this isn’t always easy to do:
Small hotels can take advantage of their presence on TripAdvisor; where they can reach a huge, international potential client base who are searching for a place to stay; where their property pages are already optimized in 28 languages and across all platforms (mobile, tablet and desktop); and make use of the same technology provider that powers reservations on their own websites to acquire more bookings on TripAdvisor.
Hoteliers using Little Hotelier’s channel manager are eligible to participate in TripConnect instant booking on TripAdvisor by adding this as a channel through Little Hotelier. More information about TripConnect instant booking can be found on TripAdvisor Insights.