News for the Hospitality Executive
|There has been a lot of debate recently about
whether or not
hotels should put a link to Trip Advisor on their website.
Some hospitality marketers are of the opinion that you shouldn’t call attention to reviews. They believe that you could lose business to your competitors because of the multiple ads on TripAdvisor. They also think you shouldn’t direct potential guests to view content that you have no control over.
Other hospitality marketing companies, O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing included, believe that you should most definitely include the TripAdvisor link on your site. Below are some reasons why.
Positive Reviews are Very Powerful
Guests trust previous guests and they want to read reviews to get honest, unbiased opinions that ‘tell it like it is’. If your hotel maintains high standards in cleanliness and customer satisfaction, then the majority of your hotel reviews will be positive. These positive reviews can be very powerful in attracting new business.
Some guests take the initiative to write reviews, however many others may not take the time to do so. From a marketing standpoint you should encourage reviews. As you know, it is unethical to offer incentives, such as room discounts, in exchange for positive reviews. However, Trip Advisor provides links that you can add to your post-stay emails which make it easy for guests to leave reviews.
There is also a write-a-review widget that you can easily add to your website. This widget allows guests to write their reviews without having to navigate through the Trip Advisor website. The Affinia Dumont in NYC has placed this widget on their website and reviews appear as shown below.
You display your confidence by encouraging users to link to the Trip Advisor reviews. It shows that you aren’t afraid to hear what guests have to say about their experience at your hotel. By linking to Trip Advisor you are saying that your hotel has nothing to hide and you expect you will receive many positive reviews, as well as a few negative ones.
You can graciously accept the positive comments and you can listen to the negative ones and respond appropriately, whether it be an apology or a promise to improve customer satisfaction.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most travelers will refer to the Trip Advisor reviews regardless of whether or not you have the link on your website, so you may as well display it confidently.
A Few Negative Reviews can be a Good Thing
Travelers know that everything on your website was written or approved by you. They also know that you are only going to write fantastic things about your hotel to convince them to stay there.
However, travelers want to see both the positives and the negatives before they decide on a hotel. Previous guests’ reviews allow potential guests to feel that they have received more authentic content – and the fact that your hotel support this content builds trusts.
Some negative comments can help prepare potential guests. For example, if a former guest wrote that the hotel is too far from the metro station, then future guests will know that they should plan on taking a taxi.
Negative reviews can also be good because they may reveal some real problems about your hotel that you may have overlooked or not known about. Once you realize what people dislike about your hotel you can put an action plan in place and make improvements.
Trust that your Guests Understand Review Sites
Most travelers are used to reading review sites, and they expect to see both good and bad reviews. Things that may pose a problem for one guest may not be a problem for another guest. For example, one guest may dislike an early-check out time but that will not be a problem for someone who always checks out early anyway.
You have probably referred to review sites yourself, either to travel or buy a product, and you trust your own ability to judge how much emphasis should be placed on the negative reviews as opposed to the positive reviews. Trust that your guests can do the same.
Listen and Respond to Reviews
Guests want to be heard and social media sites give them an opportunity to voice their opinions. You cannot ignore social media and you must stay current and join the conversation.
Hotel managers need to listen to what people are saying and respond. A well-crafted, sincere response to a negative review can show integrity and a desire to please the guest. Your hotel comment has the power to turn a negative into a positive.
Register at the Trip Advisor Owners’ Center. This is a Trip Advisor service that can help your hotel monitor its reviews. Some of the features of this center are that you can receive daily emails of your latest reviews, respond to reviews, upload videos and photos, or fill out a change of ownership form. There are also customizable widgets available.
One such widget allows you to stream your reviews directly onto your website. You can also add badges to your site with messages such as ‘Recommended on TripAdvisor’. Below is a screenshot from the Affinia Dumont website which shows how they display their TripAdvisor award badge, banner, and streamed-in reviews.
Build Relevant Links
Place a TripAdvisor link on your website and request that they link back to your site. Having a link from TripAdvisor to your site can help increase your Google page rank because it is considered an ‘authority site’ in travel and it is very relevant to your hotel website.
In conclusion, don't hide from TripAdvisor reviews. There really are more pros than cons to putting the link to TripAdvisor on your website. Just be sure to monitor your reviews and respond appropriately.
If you would like to learn more about reputation management and travel review sites please feel free to call us at 978-465-5955 or write an email at email@example.com
O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
Ways Hotels can Improve and Track Return on Investment from Twitter –
Oh wait, there is no investment! / August 2009
Blended Search and Boost your Hotel’s Search Ranking Position /
to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Natural Search / August 2009