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.
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 Google.uk 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.
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.