Maximize Your Hotel Marketing Strategy with TripAdvisor
Posted at Mar 26, 2010 11:20:01 AM by Taylor De Luca | Share
How do you approach hotel marketing with TripAdvisor? Strategically! The goal is to leverage the incredible reach of the travel powerhouse - without letting it control your brand and profitability.
Dreaming of a Getaway
Guests begin their journey long before they make travel plans; they start with a dream - or as Google calls it an “I-want-to-get-away moment.” At this stage, the vast majority (82%) of travelers haven’t chosen an accommodation provider. They’re wide open, and they’re searching for you.
What are they finding? Your hotel - or TripAdvisor’s results? The global giant boasts 455 million unique visitors. They’re scouring over 570 million reviews of over 1 million hotels to begin moving from dream to reality.
The prominent positioning in search results (the third party site often outranks hotels even in brand-specific searches), combined with the abundance of user-generated content, create trust and authority among consumers. As a result, it is almost as critical to have a great TripAdvisor rating as it is to rank well for keywords related to your hotel.
Pictured below: the TripAdvisor rating widget
TripAdvisor offers a free plugin that touts your ratings success to guests on your own site. You can select the style and size you want for your brand, and it automatically updates to include new reviews. One other key feature: the rating widget links directly to your TripAdvisor page so “guests can easily see your full collection of reviews.”
Sounds great, right? You can display your rating right on your website; and if they want, guests can check out TripAdvisor to see more evidence of how terrific your hotel is! But wait. Yes, it does this, but the widget also accomplishes a few other less favorable actions:
It can impact conversion by taking people off your website. When guests click on the widget to visit your TripAdvisor page, you risk losing them. They can be distracted by other brands or even book through TripAdvisor itself, which saps profitability.
TripAdvisor embeds a keyword-rich text link that includes your brand’s name to direct users to your hotel’s TripAdvisor page. This boosts the odds that they will rank highly in searches for your property’s name.
TripAdvisor has a high volume of these valuable links, which helps them dominate the search results.
In other words, you often end up sending your hard-won traffic off site - and into the arms (or, rather, rooms) of competitors.
Playing Nice with TripAdvisor
There’s no doubt: this site is a juggernaut in the travel world. The big question is how do you maximize hotel marketing with TripAdvisor while reducing the less desirable side effects mentioned above? Your options:
Great. When you have great TripAdvisor reviews, you want to boast a little (or a lot). You can do so by creating your own image promotion which highlights your prowess and demonstrates your unique value proposition to potential guests.
Good. If your reviews are more of a mixed bag, leave TripAdvisor off your website altogether. But what about the good ones? They’ll be overshadowed by the disgruntled guest who complained that the bed was too lumpy or the one who said the front desk person was in a mood. These may or may not be strictly true, but it’s all about optics. So let your website, onsite testimonials and UGC, and other digital assets do the talking for you.
Workable. What if you are bound by corporate mandates and superiors insist on integrating the TripAdvisor rating widget? You can satisfy them without losing link credit: use an iframe to display the widget and disallow the widget file for search engines. This tells Google and other engines not to attribute link credit to TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor can be a useful tool, if you can use it deliberately. These options allow you to retain greater control over your position in search results, with onsite traffic, and with your brand’s future.
How do you approach hotel marketing in general? Strategically! Contact the experts at THAT Agency to get started on your hospitality marketing plan today.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published March 26, 2010 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.