Is your Los Cabos business on TripAdvisor?
If your business is a hotel, bed and breakfast, restaurant, vacation rental (yup, TripAdvisor does vacation rentals now, albeit paid listings), or activity-based, then it is imperative you capitalize on this lucrative source of business – now.
Your competition is active on TripAdvisor, and I assure you it’s working quite well for…. well, most of them.
Truth is, there is no way to “game” TripAdvisor, and that isn’t what this post is about. I want to convey the importance of TripAdvisor for your business and how to use TripAdvisor properly – without resorting to tricks and fake postings, as many local businesses do.
Yes, I have seen the blatent, over-the-top “reviews” posted by supposed customers of said business, and so have you. Don’t do it, it’s a waste of time, the comment will be flagged, and your TripAdvisor profile appropriately curbed, so you have less “weight” when voting on a business in the future. Or an outright ban on your TripAdvisor profile can also occur.
They have also started displaying the following message next to approximately 100 hotel reviews that were apparently being gamed:
TripAdvisor has reasonable cause to believe that either this property or individuals associated with the property may have attempted to manipulate our popularity index by interfering with the unbiased nature of our reviews. Please take this into consideration when researching your travel plans.
Needless to say, not a great introduction for the reviews of your business.
Travelers use TripAdvisor when they travel, but do so with the mind-frame that the travel industry is manipulating the site. They ignore the best and worst reviews (those are typically the fake ones) and whenever they read phrases like “best hotel ever” or “incomparable service” they collectively roll their eyes.
BUT - huge but – in order for TripAdvisor to work for you, obviously there must be positive reviews about your business. TripAdvisor rewards the good businesses and penalizes the bad. All you have to do is run a great business – how hard is that? Probably harder than it was for me to wiggle the words “huge butt” into my blog post
Yes, I know, you can’t please everyone. That’s very true. It seems no matter what you do to please some people, you simply can’t. But these experiences are few and far between and I’ll show you later in the post how to deal with negative comments on TripAdvisor.
Well what is TripAdvisor anyways?
From Wikipedia, we learn that TripAdvisor is:
“…a free travel guide and research website that assists customers in gathering travel information, posting opinions of travel related issues and engaging in interactive travel forums.”
The basis of TripAdvisor is primarily the traveler review. Anyone can post a review, good or bad, of a hotel, restaurant, activity company, or vacation rental. These reviews are subject to review by TripAdvisor employees before posted, and also the TripAdvisor community itself provides a simple method of regulating fraudulent or suspicious reviews. A popularity index is created based on these reviews.
The idea is other travelers will then use these reviews to form an opinion and help steer them in the right direction for their ideal vacation.
Real people with real experiences define TripAdvisor and is generally viewed as a trusted resource for any potential traveler. If you have used this resource before, you already know; it’s an indispensable tool for the frequent or even casual traveler. I would rather hear what someone has to say that actually stayed at that hotel, or used that whale watching company, than just flat advertisements from a business I know nothing about.
Take a look at the popularity of TripAdvisor over the past year in the graph to the right (courtesy of Alexa). Digging back even further shows that TripAdvisor has been steadily increasing in popularity, page views, and reach (% of all internet users that use TripAdvisor) since it’s inception in the year 2000. In short, it’s becoming a very well known resource for travelers and many start their vacation plans using TripAdvisor.
Some other interesting demographics and stats (source: Alexa):
- appeals more to Caucasians;
- its visitors also tend to consist of childless, highly educated women earning over $60,000 who browse from work;
- Visitors to the site view 4.7 unique pages each day on average;
- Approximately 39% of visits to Tripadvisor.com are referred by search engines;
- the time spent in a typical visit to the site is approximately four minutes, with 40 seconds spent on each pageview.
- Daily Pageviews: 3,431,372
- Daily Visitors: 2,639,516
The following numbers are from TripAdvisor’s fact sheet posted on their own site:
More than 35 million honest travel reviews and opinions from real travelers around the world
- 1+ million businesses
- 70,000+ cities
- 450,000 hotels
- 90,000+ attractions
- 560,000+ restaurants
- 2,000,000+ candid traveler hotel photos covering 100,000+ hotels
How can TripAdvisor help my business?
By sending you business customers with a HIGH interest in what you are selling. These aren’t casual “tire-kicking” search engine users, these are potential customers with a strong interest in your business – your chance for a sale via TripAdvisor is much better than other common sources of web traffic.
With over 2.5 million travelers visiting every day, tapping this resource effectively is a must. Can you survive using TripAdvisor alone? Probably not. But it should be part of your overall online marketing strategy.
Uh-oh, I have a negative nelly!
Negative comments/rating on TripAdvisor. It happens, indeed. It can mean one of two things:
- If most of your TripAdvisor reviews are positive in nature, and far exceed the negative comments, you are probably doing things right in your business. The adage “you can’t please everyone” comes into effect here.
- If most of your TripAdvisor reviews are negative in nature, it’s time to point the finger inward, instead of brushing it off as an anomaly. You had better listen to what is being said, and fix the problem(s).
You should never ignore a negative review, regardless of how few or many you get. The proper thing to do is to address it immediately, on TripAdvisor. When I say “on TripAdvisor”, I mean try to ensure your dispute resolving is done through the TripAdvisor website, and not via private methods, ie. telephone, emails, etc..
Be genuinely concerned and reasonable, try to make things right. Just like you realize you can’t please everyone, so do your potential customers – if they see a genuine concern and effort to fix the situation, it will be recognized – and you can turn a negative into a positive.
For more information on exactly what you can and cannot do as a business owner on TripAdvisor, check out the management response guidelines (available only to current business owners on TripAdvisor).
How about a real example?
I have a SEO client here in Los Cabos that I do periodic work for – the amount of business they get through TripAdvisor is nothing short of amazing. TripAdvisor is actually the #1 source of traffic for this client, over Google search, Yahoo, and Bing search engines combined! While this could also mean their organic search engine rankings are poor, I assure you this is not the case, they get their fair share of that too, and rank on the 1st page of Google for several important terms.
Why does this business get so much business and traffic from TripAdvisor? Simple: lots and lots of glowing reviews from happy customers. If you do good work, or have a good product, TripAdvisor will reflect that. It’s not magic! Without giving too much away, this Los Cabos business is in the TripAdvisor Top 5 popularity index for Los Cabos – out of 133 businesses in the area! So the cream really does rise to the top.
So the #1 source of traffic for this business, is TripAdvisor – a site that sends a lot of traffic that is much more likely to buy. Did I mention this business is doing REALLY well right now?
How many businesses do you know in Los Cabos that are doing well right now? In the middle of the summer in low tourist season?