One of my favourite restaurants is currently rated as number 35, out of 41 places to eat in the local area. The food is delicious and service is always friendly and efficient, so why isn’t it ranking higher? If I wasn’t already familiar with it, the TripAdvisor rating would probably out me off booking a table.
Whether you love the site or hate it, there’s no denying your rating on TripAdvisor is important. There are over 570 million TripAdvisor reviews and opinions and, each month, around 455 million people use the site to help them decide where they should eat, drink and stay the night.
Your TripAdvisor listing is your opportunity to showcase your business and attract customers. So are you making the most of it? There are obvious benefits to being highly rated and your spot is determined by the TripAdvisor Popularity Algorithm. So how do you improve your place?
The algorithm is based on three factors; the quality of your reviews, the recency of your reviews and the quantity of your reviews. Good reviews are better than bad reviews, newer reviews carry more weight than older reviews, and the more reviews you get the better.
So how do you optimise these factors?
Quality of Reviews
It sounds obvious, but the best way to generate excellent reviews is to give your guests excellent service. You don’t need to make lavish gestures for every customer, but empowering your staff to surprise and delight your guests in small ways will make a real difference to your customer satisfaction levels.
You can help to prevent negative reviews by training your staff to identify customer issues and empowering them to resolve these before they escalate. If handled quickly and correctly, a complaint is a great opportunity to turn a negative guest experience in to a positive one.
If you do receive a negative review, don’t ignore it. Responding shows that you care about your customers and their experience. TripAdvisor permits one management response to the review, so include all the relevant information and keep it professional. Your response should include:
- Thanks for the feedback
- An apology for the issue. If you do not believe that your business was at fault, then you can simply write something like “I’m sorry that you feel this way”.
- An explanation of the issue and how you have addressed this, or will address this.
- An acknowledgement that customer satisfaction is a priority for your business
- Your contact information so the reviewer has the opportunity to follow up with you.
Reviewers are able to remove and then resubmit their reviews, so a good response may occasionally lead to a more positive review being given.
Although TripAdvisor will not usually remove a negative review, you can request that one is taken down if it does not meet the TripAdvisor guidelines. These state that the review must be:
- Family friendly
- Relevant to travellers
- Helpful, First-Hand
- Respectful of Private Information
- Listed by TripAdvisor
- Easy to Read
If your believe that a negative review does not meet these guidelines, you can flag it for removal. This can take some time and is not guaranteed, so you should always respond in the meantime.
Recency of Reviews and Quantity of Reviews
You need to continuously generate customer reviews to increase the quantity and keep them current.
Ask your customers to leave a review for you. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Add a written request to any material that customers take with them such as receipts, business cards or leaflets.
- Include a request for a review in any follow up or thank you emails to your guests.
- Add the TripAdvisor widget to your website to encourage visitors to leave a review.
- Ask guests verbally as they are paying their bill or checking out.
- Use TripAdvisor Review Express to generate more reviews.
When you’re soliciting reviews, remember that it is against the TripAdvisor guidelines to offer any incentives or discounts in exchange for a positive review. There is also a zero tolerance policy for fake reviews, so don’t be tempted!
In addition to having lots of good quality, recent reviews, a good TripAdvisor page should also be checked and updated regularly. Make sure your contact details and opening hours are current. Have at least 20 good quality images on there and include a PDF of any menus. Make sure that you are including all relevant information for potential guests. For example, if you’ve recently added vegan or gluten free options, let people know this.
I love to help hospitality businesses with their administration, giving owners and managers time to focus on their guests. If you’re struggling to keep on top of your TripAdvisor profile or any other admin, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a completely free consultation.