Online reviews are of huge value to hotels, with 96% of travellers admitting that they find reviews important when researching a hotel. And if ever there was a time when reviews are more valuable than ever, it’s now. Given the added uncertainty of traveling, plus new safety and distancing rules, recent reviews that are left post-COVID can be hugely reassuring for potential guests.
TripAdvisor is the most popular travel review site with more than 1.2 million hotels listed and ranked worldwide. Boosting your rating on TripAdvisor will increase the appeal of your property in your local region and, ultimately, help to drive more bookings.
Before looking in more detail at tips and strategies on how to boost your hotel’s ranking on TripAdvisor, we recommend that you start with an audit of your current TripAdvisor listing by taking into account TripAdvisor’s guidelines for accommodations and hotels.
Checklist to improve your TripAdvisor ranking
- Make sure all the information about your hotel is correct, including the contact information like phone numbers and email addresses, website links, your physical address, opening times and so on.
- Include an accurate and relevant description of your property.
- Include strong, representative imagery of your property, including rooms and amenities.
- All tick-boxes and categories that apply to your hotel must be double checked so that travelers can easily filter for your property.
Once you’ve addressed these four tips and amended your listing accordingly, you should have the basics down. Next, it’s time to see what else you could do to make it even better.
How does the TripAdvisor ranking system work?
Although we’ll never know the true inner workings of the TripAdvisor algorithm, we do know that TripAdvisor looks at three key factors for ranking hotels and attractions. TripAdvisor’s own guidance says that its ‘Popularity Ranking’ is influenced by:
Quantity of reviews
The number of reviews shows a potential guest that you’re able to consistently get customers in through the door, and that they’re ultimately willing to share their experiences online. It shows that you’re an established hotel doing good business.
Quality of reviews
Naturally, it’s important the reviews you get speak well of your business.
Recency of reviews
The Popularity Ranking algorithm gives more weight to recent reviews than it does to older ones. That means a hotel that has a history of mediocre reviews but has recently been getting glowing write-ups could theoretically rank highly. This helps potential guests see what sort of experience they’re likely to get in light of recent trends.
How to get good TripAdvisor reviews to improve your hotel ranking
So how do you get lots of good reviews? By providing an outstanding guest experience, obviously. It’s an easy thing to say, but not every hotel puts it into practice. Here are some tips to help you improve your TripAdvisor hotel rating and ranking.
1. Be transparent with your guests
Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Guests don’t like to be surprised – they won’t be happy to find out the 10-minute walk to the beach is actually a 15 minute trek across two busy roads and a parking lot. Ensure that all descriptions across your site are apt and accurate. If you don’t offer tea or coffee and the nearest supermarket is half an hour away, say so. People value honesty. Likewise, be sure to sing about your property’s best USPs to make up for anything that might be off-putting.
2. Take complaints seriously
Unhappy guests are likely to come to you first before leaving a negative review on TripAdvisor. If a customer makes a complaint, assure them that you’ll aim to fix the problem as soon as possible or provide a viable alternative. Fixing the problem quickly, then and there, can minimize the risk of the customer venting publicly about their grievance on a review site.
You can also let the customer know, either upon check-in or in their welcome book, that you offer an in-house feedback box or guest survey to encourage them to direct their feedback straight to you. There are few things more frustrating than feeling like you’re not being heard or taken seriously, so as long as you do this it can make a huge difference to your guest’s happiness.
3. Work with your staff
Your staff need to understand and be reminded of the importance of reviews for the success of your hotel. Staff should encourage reviews, especially when interacting with guests who talk to them very positively about their experience. You can nudge selected guests for a review on TripAdvisor by sending them an post-stay email asking if they enjoyed their time at your hotel, including a direct link to the hotel’s page on the review site – we recommend doing this as part of the contact-free guest journey.
4. Limit extra charges
Ensure guests don’t get any nasty surprises when it’s time to settle the bill by letting them know about any extra expenditures. Nowadays, certain services such as drinking water, shuttle buses and Wi-Fi access, should all be free of charge. If they’re not, customers will be straight on TripAdvisor to complain.
5. Always respond to reviews
Check your reviews constantly and aim to reply to each one promptly and with an impartial, understanding tone. Everyone gets bad reviews, that’s a given in the hospitality industry. However, replying to negative reviews isn’t so much about soothing the person who left the review, but more about allaying the fears of the many people who will read your response later. How you address the customer’s concerns will tell readers a lot about how your hotel staff and management conduct themselves in the face of dissatisfaction. Be sure to avoid responses that sound too generic – your replies should address the specific complaints detailed in the original review.
6. Take criticism on board
If you see the same complaints and suggested areas for improvement cropping up over and over again, you can’t afford to ignore it, hard as it might be to admit that there’s a real problem. Listen to your guests and work proactively to avoid further complaints by improving the experiences and facilities they’re mentioning.
If you have a few guests complaining about the quality of the towels in their bathroom, the loss of potential bookings due to their comments is likely to outweigh the cost of investing in newer, better quality towels. If you then reply to the original comment relaying that their suggestions have been implemented, future customers will see how well you have handled the situation and may consider booking.
Software to help boost your hotel ranking
You don’t have to do all the work on your own – there are plenty of excellent hotel tech integrations that can help you to improve your hotel ranking. Here’s a taste of the many solutions you can find on in the Mews Marketplace:
Reputation management integrations
GuestRevu and TrustYou: the first port of call in our Marketplace should be reputation management solutions. They let you automatically gather feedback from guests to help you manage your online reputation, including branded surveys and dashboards that compile all your reviews.
You’ll be able to use this guest feedback to make data-driven decisions about how to improve processes and features, plus turn reviews into content marketing to increase online visibility and ultimately drive more revenue.
Guest messaging integrations
Quicktext and Whistle: these solutions are focused on guest messaging, and make it really easy to talk to and respond to guests. Some guests may not feel comfortable talking face to face if they have a problem, so providing a digital channel through which they can immediately contact staff is a great way to ensure excellent customer service. These tools also help you respond quickly and boost the likelihood of receiving positive feedback.
Revinate and dailypoint: CRM (customer relationship management) solutions allow for segmentation so you can send targeted messages to guests with the right information. By nurturing guest relationships you’ll create better experiences, making guests happier and more likely to leave reviews. These solutions can also help you to better understand your guests, with consolidated profiles about individual preferences.
Different hotel review platforms to consider
TripAdvisor is not the only review platform to consider when it comes to managing your reputation. Your guest might leave reviews on Expedia or Booking.com, your Google Business Listing, your social media channels or localized review pages such as holidaycheck.de for Germany.
Trivago can be a good starting point to check your and your competitors’ reputations as the site pulls data from multiple review websites onto its platform.
Finally, don’t shy away
Many people are put-off by review sites because it’s scary exposing yourself to harsh criticism. But this could mean lots of lost business – many travellers wouldn’t dream of staying somewhere without checking the review sites first, so avoidance isn’t an option for any modern hospitality business.
As Sally Davey, Head of Industry relations at TripAdvisor recommends: “I would always suggest businesses view critical feedback as an opportunity to thank the reviewer for their feedback. Use it as an opportunity to improve and also to actually attract more business – we know, for example, that thoughtful management responses can actually increase future bookings, so there’s really nothing to lose!”
30 June 2020
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