What is TripConnect?

TripConnect is a feature offered to hotel managers listing through TripAdvisor. TripConnect is designed to more explicitly drive bookings to those properties.

TripConnect comes in two models: TripAdvisor Instant Booking and TripConnect Cost-Per-Click. 

Instant Booking is slightly newer, and allows guests to book with your hotel directly through the TripAdvisor website. TripConnect Cost-Per-Click is an established advertising feature, which allows you to boost the ranking of your listings by bidding for the top spots in search.

Like all features that are designed to grow revenue and increase bookings, TripConnect is something that hoteliers of all sizes – but especially smaller hoteliers – are trying to master. 

But how does it actually work, what’s the difference between Instant Booking and CPC, and is it the best choice to grow your hotel?

How does TripConnect work?

The TripConnect Cost-Per-Click model allows hotels to advertise on the TripAdvisor website to generate more direct bookings by sending users through to the hotel’s own website. You’ll pay a fee every time a click is sent through to their website regardless of whether that user actually makes a reservation.

The position of your property on the TripAdvisor results page will depend on the price you want to pay, increasing the likelihood that users will book on your website. This way you can compete directly with the major OTAs and have your price at the top of the results.

How much does TripConnect charge per click?

For TripConnect CPC, there is some variability around how much you are charged per click on your sponsored listing. It’s very similar to the model used by Google Ads, where the more you are willing to pay (i.e. bid), the more frequently your ad will be seen and thus clicked on.

Typically, you will set a daily cap, which determines the maximum amount you want to spend per day. From this, TripAdvisor will predict how many clicks you’re likely to receive and the final sum of your bill at the end of the month.

Depending on how competitive your ad placement is, in terms of how many other active advertisers there are in your region, the available exchange rates, and the available click inventory.

What is TripAdvisor Instant Booking?

Previously, TripAdvisor’s CPC offering only operated on a pay-per-click model. The higher your bid, the higher your property’s listing will appear in TripAdvisor’s Hotel Price Comparison Search box, thereby increasing the likelihood that TripAdvisor users will click the link to visit your property’s booking page. So it’s possible to outbid major OTAs and have your listing appear first in the results. 

Now, Instant Booking is a new way to seamlessly generate instant reservations from guests, who can book with you directly on the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor.

Once travellers find you on TripAdvisor’s search listing, they can browse your rates and availability and instantly click “Book on TripAdvisor”.

How does TripAdvisor Instant Booking work?

TripAdvisor has come up with a simple and easy way for travellers to book your small property safely on their website. Once travellers find you on their search listing, they can browse your rates and availability and instantly click “Book on TripAdvisor”. It’s really that quick and easy.

The direct booking goes to you and you own the relationship with your guest from the very start! The booking details of each guest that makes a reservation with your small property on TripAdvisor Instant Booking goes directly to you.

How much commission does Tripadvisor take?

TripAdvisor charges you on a commission per booking basis, which can be between 12-15% per booking. The different rate options available are based on the views:

  • 15% commission – your small property will get half of all “Book on TripAdvisor” traveller views and the bookings you receive from the views.
  • 12% commission – your small property will get a quarter of all “Book on TripAdvisor” traveller views and the bookings you receive from the views.

TripConnect: Cost-per-Click Campaigns vs TripAdvisor Instant Booking

TripAdvisor Instant Booking and TripConnect CPC both have the same broad goal – getting you more bookings. Both require some advertising spend as they aren’t free tools. However, they both work in very different ways in terms of how they charge you and how they’re used to boost your bookings.

Now, the three major differences:

1. Payment Model

Instant Booking charges you for every completed stay achieved through the tool, while CPC charges you a maximum amount per day for every click achieved through the tool, even if you don’t get a booking from that click. Note that a CPC campaign does not charge you commission should you get a booking from your click. They don’t double dip.

2. Pricing

Generally, CPC campaigns are far more cost-effective than Instant Booking. You can set a maximum amount of money charged per day, so it’s simple to ensure that it fits within your budget. A click through CPC may cost under $1, whereas an Instant Booking commission may be 12% or 15% of the base price of the reservation. This makes CPC a more popular option for smaller hotels.

3. Experience

Instant Booking handles the entire booking process within TripAdvisor and then sends the information to you. A CPC campaign, on the other hand, generally sends the guest over to your own website directly. This means you must have a well-optimised website and an excellent direct booking experience already set up on your site to take full advantage of CPC.

Should your small hotel sign up for TripConnect CPC or TripAdvisor Instant Booking?

TripConnect’s pay-per-click model is low-cost, but the traveller has to leave the site and book via your website to complete the booking.

On the other hand, TripAdvisor Instant Booking allows travellers to book your hotel without leaving TripAdvisor. It’s convenient for the guest, free for you (no need to have a business listing with them) and you own the guest relationship. There’s also no risk because you only pay the commission if the guest actually stays.

Additionally, Priceline has partnered with TripAdvisor. This means that if you’re with Booking.com, travellers who find you on TripAdvisor will be able to see your rate against Booking.com’s rate, and be able to book on TripAdvisor through this model. So if you don’t use Instant Booking, you risk losing out to Booking.com!

Both TripConnect CPC and TripAdvisor Instant Booking have their benefits. Some hoteliers prefer to leave the booking process to TripAdvisor and are happy to pay the higher commission. Other hotels are confident in their website build and listing quality and prefer to rely on the more cost-effective CPC method. And some hotels use both! It depends on where your priorities and strengths lie.

Quick tips for using TripConnect

Bidding more than someone else isn’t the only – or even the best – way to make the most of TripConnect CPC. As a small hotelier, you’re working with a smaller budget and you must compete against some huge names that are also advertising on TripAdvisor.

Here are four of the best tips to ensure you squeeze every drop of value out of your advertising spend:

1. Return and optimise

Once you have made your bid, TripAdvisor will automatically place you at the top of the list. But remember that this is only the initial situation, because OTAs will also compete for the same spot. Remember to return to your bid regularly and review whether it’s still competitive.

2. Start slow and experiment

If you want to be extra careful, experiment with how far you can go with the minimum bid. If in a few weeks you don’t see favourable results, then increase your bid gradually to see what happens.

3. Don’t lose track of your expenditure

While you can set maximum daily spending caps with TripConnect, you should still check in regularly to see where your link appears and how much you’ve spent, measuring it against the actual bookings you’ve received by your advertising.

4. Ensure you’re advertising across multiple devices

You should bid on both desktop and mobile devices. A huge number of reservations are made via mobile and by failing to get to the top of search results on your guests’ devices could mean missing out on a good chunk of bookings.

If this sounds like a lot of work – it is. Keeping up to date with TripConnect CPC and maximising your spend requires a lot of admin and tweaking. That’s why Little Hotelier has invested in Demand Plus, so we can handle this for you.

Top benefits of TripAdvisor Instant Booking

Amidst an array of tools and platforms, TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking offers simplicity and control. This powerful tool offers property owners a plethora of benefits, enabling them to take charge of their online presence and engage directly with potential guests from the get-go.

From the convenience of controlling rates and availability to the direct, personalised guest relationships it fosters, Instant Booking provides a streamlined, efficient, and cost-effective solution for managing your property’s bookings.

1. Full control of rates and availability at a lower cost

You can dynamically adjust your prices based on demand, seasonality, or special events. It also allows you to manage your availability in real time, ensuring that potential guests see the most accurate information at any given moment.

2. You own the guest relationship from the start

From the moment a potential guest begins their search, you are in direct communication with them. This facilitates better customer service, allows for more personalised interactions, and helps build loyalty and trust with your guests.

3. You pay only for completed guest stays

With Instant Booking, you only pay for completed guest stays through a straightforward pay-per-booking commission model. There’s no need to worry about upfront investment or hidden fees. This model ensures that you only pay when you earn, providing a risk-free way to increase your bookings.

4. Easy booking for travellers

Small property owners will particularly appreciate the convenience of Instant Booking. It allows travellers to easily book your property immediately, eliminating potential hurdles that might deter guests from finalising their booking. This can help increase conversion rates and overall bookings for your property.

5. Easy booking for you

Once you’ve set up your account, you can essentially “set it and forget it.” The intuitive interface makes it simple to maintain your property’s presence on TripAdvisor, saving you time and effort that can be better spent enhancing your guests’ experiences.

6. Straightforward integration with Little Hotelier

You can view all your TripAdvisor bookings and more on Little Hotelier. This comprehensive view of your property’s performance can help you make informed decisions and continue to grow your business.

By Shine Colcol

Shine is the SEO and Content Manager of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. With more than five years of experience and expertise in content strategy, creation, and management, Shine has produced informational content across various topics, mostly around improving daily operations and increasing business metrics. She aims to share well-researched articles in hopes of helping bed and breakfast owner-operators win more bookings and gain more control of their small property.