Owning a Tourism Business is awesome

16 Jun 2008

Promote your tourism business on TripAdvisor

In Australia and USA, TripAdvisor is possibly the best known online reputation checker. For those who do not know, TripAdvisor is an Internet site that allows anyone to comment about their experience at any tourism/hospitality related business.

I am asked every other day for a step by step guide to TripAdvisor. As I did not seem to find a 101 Guide to TripAdvisor guide for tourism business owners, I thought I would fill the information gap!

beach huts

image credit Steve Crane

Every established web surfers will check what is being said on TripAdvisor about the property he is about to book. Some even first start their search on the TripAdvisor site. What is fantastic (for those businesses who have a reputation management strategy in place) is that it can work as your best ally in terms of promoting your business. TripAdvisor has got such a strong online presence that your property’s page on the site will appear on the first pages of Google when your business name is keyed in the search field. Even before your own website sometimes (yep!)

TripAdvisor negative reviews : why you should be aware

abandonned hotel room

image credit this is your brain on lithium

TripAdvisor can also kill your best marketing efforts - that is, if you have not yet tackled the challenge of online marketing or have chosen to stay “passive”. Why? Well, because anyone can say anything about anyone (aka: YOU) on the Internet (this is formally known as User Generated Content). Let me give you an example:

I was conducting an online marketing training session the other day with tourism operators. Part of the workshop included the review of what potential guests might have said about their experience at your (accommodation) property on www.TripAdvisor.com. You should have seen the facial expression of a member of the audience, aka the accommodation property owner, when she realised that a past client has written an extremely negative review about her business.

If you are a tourism business for instance and decided to stay passive and not tackle the online world just yet, you are not simply staying in passive mode but doing your business some damage. People are most probably writing about you somewhere on the net. If not on TripAdvisor, probably somewhere else.

How can I take advantage of TripAdvisor to promote my business?

  1. First of all, you need to get listed on TripAdvisor. You can get listed as an accommodation provider, an attraction, a restaurant or a resource such as transport provider, information centre. You will be able to write a short review about your property, add a photo as well. Now, you have done the easiest bit. (if this is too complicated or you are starting to pull your hair out, drop me a line I just love to do all this stuff!). But how to get client reviews??
  2. How about about you ask each and every one of your client to visit TripAdvisor (make it easy for them, send them an email with the link to your property - just my 5 cents). If they have had a great experience, I am certain that they will be willing to help you out with your strategy a little. They can even upload their photos you know. If you would like more insight about this, contact me and I will give you a great little story!
  3. Next thing you can do is pull the testimonials of TripAdvisor straight into the homepage of your website so that any potential client can read about how much fun past clients had at your proterty! This is done using RSS feeds. This is how you add your trip advisor reviews to your website.

What will I do if someone writes a negative review on TripAdisor about my property?

  1. DO NOT STAY PASSIVE! Act! Respond to people’s reviews, and say your side of the story, and what you tried to do to fix the problem.
  2. You can also contact the unsatisfied client and offer them a free night at your property for instance. The end goal is for other TripAdvisor readers to see that you are aware of this unfortunate exception and that you are reacting. This is a very old term used in hospitality and called Service Recovery. You have most probably be doing so in the offline world. Now it is just time to realise that there are many more people reading and hearing about you online!

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