Hotels are Missing The TripAdvisor Opportunity – Skift

Hotels are Missing The TripAdvisor Opportunity – Skift

In its latest report, “Luxury Hotels: Regional Search Strategies,” New York-based brand consultancy L2 suggests upper upscale and luxury hotel brands should work towards making TripAdvisor a bigger part of their strategic marketing.

Source: How Hotels Are Failing to Take Advantage of TripAdvisor – Skift

Hotels are Missing The TripAdvisor Opportunity

Hotel brands responding to less than 50% of their TripAdvisor and on average respond just once per week. As the Skiff article states “The average response time to a negative review is 6.5 days. ” This is not the way to build a 5-star reputation and with over 90% of consumers looking at reviews before they buy, its strategically a disaster not to have a strong review focus.
As hotel brands are in a crowded marketplace with online travel agencies (OTAs), Google Hotel Ads, major chains and other hotel all competing for 10 places on the fitrst page of search results. its xxx it’s really important to find a way to break through the clutter. Reviews are perhaps the last change to shine and make it to page 1. But it has to be planned. First lets look at the findings of L2, a New York-based brand consultancy which suggests upper upscale and luxury hotel brands should be looking to TripAdvisor more often than they are now.

Lastest Findings on TripAdvisor Use

  • Brands that invest in affiliate site pages like those on TripAdvisor and establishing partnerships with them can compete against OTAs in search and create new conversion channels
  • Brands should prioritize their search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) budgets to regional areas that align with the brand’s areas of growth or match its regional footprint
  • More brands should optimize their SEM/SEO efforts abroad to attract international travelers who may not be familiar with the brand

TripAdvisor ,  says Grant Torres, is “One of the most highly trafficked sites for hotels and for reviews and information,”  and are dominant in search results. Its on the first page for 99% of organic search results and 72% or paid search results on Google. It also ranks in organic search 7% for brand terms, even “competing against brand’s own sites (63%) and social media properties (16%).” Its dominance in travel has no parallel in other industries. “That’s kind of a massive amount [7%] when you look at other industries,” Torres said. “In other industries you wouldn’t see those kinds of numbers.”

How to Optimize TripAdvisor For Your Hotel

Hotels can partner with TripAdvisor in a number of ways, the report cites “Instant Booking”  as Marriott has done.  Marriott pays a commission to TripAdvisor much like it would with an OTA. But i personalty do not think that is the best way to optimize TripAdvisor, that simple substitutes one OTA for another.

Torres adds that “Hotels can also improve their visibility within TripAdvisor by using popular keywords in descriptions for specific markets, investing in content for their property page, and improving guest review response rate and time spent on the platform.”

International Variants in Search Ranking

He advises hotels to pay attention to regional search and keywords: For example Asian consumers who search on for a “luxury spa in Miami,” will see Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), Mandarin Oriental, and W Hotels. European customers will see  SLH, Four Seasons, and The Ritz-Carlton. “For customers based in the Middle East, the most visible brands are The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, and Jumeirah. When consumers based in the U.K., France, and Germany search for hotels in the U.S. using non-branded search terms, only five U.S. brands had top search visibility.” The L2 report suggests hotels should begin marketing more to international travelers with these variants in mind.

Make Reviews Your Own Brand Building Machine

All this is true and good but in my mind the best strategy is to lever TripAdvisor reviews to build your own hotel reputation and brand integrity.  This is covered in some detail in my latest book a number 1 bestseller on  Amazon in Hotel Marketing. The book is a series starting with how to perfect your HOTEL WEBSITE to get more direct bookings.

Amazon Book "website" reputation branding ch8

Book 1 is followed by “how to use DIGIAL MEDIA to promote brand” and finally how to get the most out of the latest   “TECHNOLOGY” innovation in tourism marketing. Book One “WEBSITE” has an entire chapter dedicated to reputation marketing and talks specifically about the pros and cons of TripAdvisor. It proposes a new way to really maximize the review and build a lasting brand with more direct bookings.

WEBSITE Chapter 8

How to make Reviews work for YOU. Build your brand and get more direct bookings with this strategy: Website chapter 8 outlines an innovative approach to building reviews, monitoring, managing and syndicating 5 star reviews with animated videos by Holiday Hotel Reviews.

Related Posts

Why Hotels Need To Offer Benefits For Booking Direct



Is Instant Bookings on Tripadivisor Good for Hotels

Is Instant Bookings on Tripadivisor Good for Hotels

Source: (Español) Cuál debe ser mi estrategia en instant booking

Instant Booking is not likely to Increase hotel Direct bookings

While the answer to the question,  “Is Instant Bookings on Tripadviser  good for hotels” is generally YES, it is not necessarily good in every respect. In this analaysis of the pros and cons of using TripAdvisors Instant Booking (TA-IB) Hotel Miraie in Barcelona Spain, says do not expect TA-InstantBookings to increase your total sales. It is an alternative distribution for the same channel that you will already have your OTAs competing in. It may be a more cost effective alternative as TA-IB commissions are 10-15% whereas OTAs may be 20-35%.

In their words “total sales will NOT increase with instant booking, but rather you will be able to distribute them through more coeffective channels. In other words, you will NOT sell more. The advantage is in the transfer of bookings through channels, in that positive cannibalisation from OTAs to your direct sale.”

The article concludes “As a hotel, you have two options: do nothing -and leave OTAs like to make the most of the opportunity- or jump on the bandwagon yourself and compete with the OTAs face to face.”

More about Instant Bookings Evolution

For more on exactly  what TripAdvisors instant bookings is and how it evolved see this article on Tnooz

Some of the significant point in the article follow:

TA-IB is a commission based “bidding” model for all partners like online travel agencies, hotel chains, global distribution system, etc. With trip connect it is also avalab to hotel who have thrir own branded booking engine approved by TA.

It differs from the standard metasearch model where “partners bid via a cost-per-click (CPC) value for each click that a user makes on their link. It is similar now to the agent model now popular with OTAs where they charge hotels a commission paid after a guest’s stay.

For a hotel ownerthe  advantages are taht the CPA fees are tracked and paid on actual stay out of real revenue.

Useful Facts

  • Estimates are that TripAdvisor gets  13% commission on metasearch
  • For every $13 in bookings OTAs spend on TripAdvisor metasearch ads they get roughly $100 in bookings, on average.
  • Hotel pay about 13% commission to get top spot on metasearch
  • Small hotel pay about 15% for customers from OTA sites like
  • Rates for TA-IB is expected to fall to 10% once the market is working well next year.



How TripAdvisor Changed Vacation Planning – The Washington Post

How TripAdvisor Changed Vacation Planning – The Washington Post

How TripAdvisor changed vacation-planning universe – The Washington Post.

“TripAdvisor has more than 84 million reviewers, and their critiquing styles vary wildly. Balanced and tempered. Highly observant and specific. Overly enthusiastic. Nit-picking and negative.”

Object Reviews are Key

Its the overly enthusiastic that are often fraud which is something that TripAdvisor works very hard to eliminate and because of thta it has the best rating and viewership of all review sites (see graph below)

Eliminating Fraud a Top Priority

Adam Medros, in charge of fraud at TA pointed out that they have 5o or more filters to detect suspect behavior.  He compared the process to a biologist singling out And says “A team of inspectors investigates the claim, and if their suspicions are verified, TripAdvisor may affix a red badge to the hotel’s listing, a scarlet letter that could scare away business.”
Apparently fraud is found in only a fraction of reviews. “The owners know it doesn’t pay,” Medros says.

Users of  TA like Ginny Cunningham, pint out that TripAdvisor has freed them from having to rely on hyped reviews from company that have a vested interest and as he says “want to profit from my choices.”  He adds “Frommer’s, Fodor’s and travel agents are great, but they’re exceedingly limited in the real-life feedback they offer.”

And that i think is the key to TAs success, real reviews by real people, not glossed over comments that are nothing more than an advertisement. That too is the reality of the digital age, which makes one wonder just what is the future of advertising – see blog on advertising at a crossroads


Will Reviews Replace Ads?

Not only has TripAdvisor Changed Vacation Planning, it has changed travel and it may be on its way to change how we advertise or for that matter the entire advertising industry! 

Cleraly there is a move to more authentic adverting and marketers are keen to use more social content and sharing to Engage and Influence buyers rather than just Promote and Market to them. This will become the standard in the future!


Dark Clouds on the Horizon?

But not all is smooth sailing, as we shared in a recent post, and TripAdvisor Strategy may be on Shaky grounds as it mixes its old mission of having the best reviews, to becoming just another OTA.

Is TripAdvisor Strategy on Shaky Ground

Is TripAdvisor Strategy on Shaky Ground

CC BY-NC-ND by Scott Beale

Is Mixing Reviews & Bookings a Shaky Strategy

In this article by SeekingAlpha, LN Investors looks at the rise and pitfalls facing TripAdvisor from an investment and financial point of view. In terms of investment it concludes that TripAdvisor is “a more attractive stock than its direct competitors, Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) and Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN)”.

Although TA began life as hotel review site is now a “one-stop shop” travel booking business. As LN says “Early investors must be ecstatic from the share price tripling from about $30 to as high as $110 within the first three years.”

Of course all this comes down to marketing! First by having a clear focus and delivering to that promise.  Now as TA moves into direct competition to its major partners we wonder how clear the focus is and if indeed it is not sabotaging its primary business for added growth and putting TripAdvisor Strategy on Shaky Ground.  Already the OTAs have barked and turned away form support of the TA booking app. But to be fair transaction based services are where the opportunities for TAs growth seem to be.  The authors tell us “The online travel reservations business is highly competitive. And for TripAdvisor to maintain its previous double-digit earnings growth it either has to expand its ad revenues or get more involved directly with hotel, flight and tour reservations.”

As LN says TA has to be careful as it moves forward to compete with the major customer who are the OTAs.”About 80% of the revenue comes from ads, 69% click-based and the other 10% from display. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s actually why the company has been as successful as it is. Viewers come for the extensive reviews and holiday ideas, and TripAdvisor gets revenue for ads and referrals. Like many others, I myself have used the site to find interesting locations and good restaurants, and it is helpful because I get the viewpoint of fellow travelers and diners.”

But 46% of total revenue was from Priceline and Expedia in 2014. There is where TA has most vulnerability – Priceline and Expedia will not like when TA erodes their business with deals like it has with Marriott Hotel where it bypasses the OTAs altogether. These mammoth OTAs may well respond in ways that put “pressure on TripAdvisor and competition can become expensive.”

TripAdvisors Margins fall

TripAdvisor’s profit margins are on the decline and net income margins has trended down since 2012. We can expect greater competition, higher operating costs and lower margins in the future, especially as TA grows its competitive booking and OTA type business.

For More see SeekingAlpha

TripAdvisor Moving to Assisted Bookings

TripAdvisor Looks For More Hard-Hitting Advertising in 2014 – Skift.

This is sad news for hotels who are looking for more friendly marketing partners.

TA CEO, Kaufer, has noted that while some hotels and online travel agencies are supportive other online travel agencies “might prefer for us not to change the model.”

The transitioning to assisted booking will see travel shoppers complete the booking in the TripAdvisor app, is expected to increase conversions as “leads often evaporate” if TripAdvisor hand off the consumer from its app to a hotel or online travel agency site”. Naturally many online travel agencies prefer to get the leads themselves rather, and we believe hat is the case with many hotel partners also.

Kaufer said the transition to hotel metasearch “was the most transformative usability improvement in our customers’ history”. He added that with the move to assisted booking is not as urgent as was the 2013 meta transition.

Kaufer offered no timetable for when TripAdvisor will implement assisted bookings on mobile, but added that TripAdvisor is known for moving quickly.

TripAdvisor Ends 2013 with a Profit

DRAFT – TripAdvisor_Reports_Fourth_Quarter_and_Full_Year_2013_Financial_Results.pdf.

In spite of runaway expensive jumping 50% in last quarter TA  ended the year with a profit and substantial growth in revenue. Looks like they are on course to become the supplier (hotels and Tourism Cos) friendly marketer. But competition is hot on the heels and cost of marketing will be an ongoing issue.  Maybe they don’t need to spend big bucks on TV and in Media like all the other OTAs. They recently cut their TV campaign and are rethink ad spend in 2014.

There is one cloud in the think tank. Is TA moving away from its mission?

Kaufer, CEO OF TripAdvisor has  said that while hotel metasearch was the company’s prime focus in 2013, the introduction of “assisted booking,” where TripAdvisor handles hotel bookings on mobile instead of referring consumer leads to hotels and online travel agencies, will be a top priority in 2014. Is TA moving away from being the supplier friendly site to becoming just another OTA?

What do you think?