TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. It boasts nearly 315 million unique monthly visitors, and 70 million TripAdvisor members who have generated 190 million reviews and opinions. In recent years, many timeshare companies have turned to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Booking.com to leverage unused inventory at their resorts and as a result have seen an increase in customer generated reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor.
Why So Glum?
Unfortunately, timeshare developers often suffer from the effects of a low number and frequency of reviews. Primarily it seems there are two types of people who leave reviews on TripAdvisor. The main one is a regular TripAdvisor user that loves to catalogue their travels and share their experiences with the rest of the community whether they are good, bad or indifferent. The other is the person that feels compelled to create an account to share what is normally a bad experience as they feel empowered with the ability to vent their frustration when a vacation does not live up to their expectations.
Combined, these two types of people represent only a very small amount of a typical resorts weekly guests, and so very few reviews are generated, and that means when there is a negative review it stays visible and can affect future bookings for quite some time. The majority of timeshare resort guests just don’t think about posting a review, and with no call to action to do so, those that have had a great time simply check out and go home, creating a missed opportunity by the resort that could be costly.
How TripAdvisor Can Increase Revenue
Put simply, More Reviews = More Revenue. Having more positive reviews increases your visibility and rankings on OTAs, thereby improving your chances of securing more bookings. Additionally for timeshare developers, more positive reviews can lead to a reduction in rescission when new members check you out online to see what others say about you.
We are heading towards good times for the travel industry. The World Travel & Tourism Council projects that the world will welcome nearly 1.8 billion international visitor arrivals per year by 2025, which is a 58% increase from the 1.1 billion international arrivals in 2014.
Furthermore, domestic U.S. travelers will spend more than $1 trillion per year by 2025 compared to the estimated $279.4 billion that international arrivals will spend, so there’s booms on both fronts – but more travelers means more reviews, especially for the world’s largest travel website, so hotels and resorts need to prepare a guest engagement strategy to turn this wave of social sharing to their advantage.
How To Get More TripAdvisor Reviews
In September 2014, Perspective Group was approved as a TripAdvisor Official Partner, enabling them to provide their clients with a number of marketing tools to assist with increasing TripAdvisor Reviews.
The Joint Review Collection service provided by Perspective Group enables its resort clients to solicit reviews from all guests via a number of methods.
The primary method is via a Post Vacation Stay survey where a licensed TripAdvisor widget is embedded as one of the questions, providing a seamless one-step survey and review system.
How It Works
The licensed review widget enables guests to submit a review to TripAdvisor without ever going to TripAdvisor.com. They do not need to create an account and then verify their email address first. They do not need to log in to an existing account if they have one. The required information is passed from the survey data through the widget and either a review is assigned to an existing account based on the guest’s email or a new account is opened for them.
This seamless exercise removes the massive fall out of asking guests for a review after already taking a survey. In this case the conservative estimate of 20-30%+ of guests that will complete the survey will also by default leave a TripAdvisor review. So when you equate that to the number of checkouts per week of any given resort, it produces a significantly higher penetration than any other method currently available.
Furthermore, the widget can also be embedded into a specially created landing page, and co-branded in-room and on-site marketing which includes website links and / or QR Codes can direct guests to a dedicated page that the resort controls, where they can submit their review, whilst also viewing any other resort or brand messaging.
The same links can then be added to email marketing, included in member magazine ads and much more. When a guest leaves a review, they receive an email from TripAdvisor, thanking them on behalf of the resort and themselves for posting the review. TripAdvisor then also provides the review data back to the client, enabling them to associate specific reviews with specific guest contact information. This allows resorts to deal with any negative conversations offline rather than on TripAdvisor.com, as well as identify their brand ambassadors and incorporate them in future marketing campaigns.
Why It Works
Jointly Collected Reviews have proven to produce on average higher ratings for resort stays than organic reviews. If you look back at the two primary types of people that post organically on TripAdvisor and remember that they account for a small percentage of your guests, then it’s easy to understand that if you could harness 20%-30%+ more of your guests and the majority of your guests are happy to very happy with the vacation they had, then this system would clearly produce more positive results.
This is particularly relevant for timeshare resorts that are seeing complaints about the sales presentation being added into resort reviews. Producing a higher number of positive reviews helps to dilute these issues, and the way the survey can The world will welcome nearly 1.8 billion international visitor arrivals per year by 2025 24 Perspective Magazine March/April 2015 TECHNOLOGY REVIEW be structured can also help to deflect those comments away from the actual resort review.
TripConnect & Instant Book
TripAdvisor has also brought out some other useful services for hotels and resorts recently, and Mark McCullough, Senior Territory Manager North America, TripAdvisor discussed these with GNEX 2015 attendees in San Diego.
TripConnect offers Business Listing clients a cost-per-click option to steer a percentage of the traffic generated by the Hotel Price Comparison feature, whilst TripConnect Instant Booking doesn’t require a Business Listing account and offers a commission-based option for travelers to book directly with your resort through the TripAdvisor website. These rates, starting at 12% are lower than other OTAs and provide resort developers with the details of each customer so they can continue to market to them before their stay.
“TripAdvisor has evolved as the key resource for travelers to plan and now directly book properties with our Business Listings and Instant Book products,” said Mark McCullough.
While OTA’s decline as a source of direct bookings for hotels, TripAdvisor is one of the top sources for direct bookings and following friend and family recommendations. Hoteliers and resort developers who leverage TripAdvisor’s global reach to drive instant bookings directly to their properties benefit in a number of ways. They receive top placement in the hotel price comparison search box; are able to provide a faster and more reliable booking path for customers that is optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile devises; and are able to establish a relationship with the customer from the start.
“TripAdvisor Business Listings and Instant Book products drive direct
reservations allowing properties to own the relationship with their guests before, during and post stay,” says McCullough.
To get the full benefit of these extra bookings a resort needs to be visible and attractive to prospective travelers, and it is not all about the price that is offered, it is also about the reviews, and the better the resort reviews the higher up the resort appears in the TripAdvisor rankings when potential guests search for a desired destination.
There are four main factors that affect TripAdvisor rankings.
1. Total Number of Reviews.
2. Percentage of Positive Reviews vs Negative Reviews.
3. Frequency / Age of Reviews.
4. Percentage of Reviews Answered by Resort Management. The Joint Review Collection service by Perspective Group helps to increase the first three of these factors, producing enough content for a resort to effectively implement the fourth factor.
A recent study by Cornell University showed that “If a property can increase its review score by one point (on a five-point scale) on OTA channels, it could increase its prices by about 11.2% and still maintain the same occupancy rates.” For more details about increasing your TripAdvisor Reviews and Rankings as well as a number of other customer engagement services, contact Perspective Group on 321-948-1319 or email