TripAdvisor receives 350 million unique visitors a month, so whether you love it or hate it, if you aren’t using it, you are missing out on reaching arguably one of the most massive audiences you could possible target. So not only do you need to use it, you need to use it well. And like almost everything else in life, it requires some heavy lifting. But I can promise you this: if you do put in the time and effort, you will reap some serious benefits (a.k.a. you will sell more tours).
To give you a MASSIVE head start, I’ve compiled 37 (now updated to 42!) of our very best TripAdvisor tips. Follow them like the bible, and you’ll start seeing your tour business moving up the ranks in no time.
#1: TripAdvisor’s ranking system
Here are the three main ranking factors on TripAdvisor for tour operators, according to them:
1. Average review score (far and away the most important!)
2. Quantity of reviews
3. Recency of reviews
#2: Get more reviews with follow-up emails.
Follow up with an email just thanking your guest for coming along and asking for a review at the same time. That’s not so hard.
Insider tip: If you follow up with photos of their trip in that email, this will work even better for you. Because they have just received a bunch of photos, they have a reason to be grateful. Deliver the photos and at the end of the email, say ‘if you had a great time, could you leave us a review? Our business depends on the 5 star reviews we receive. Thank-you!’
#3: Leverage your booking software system to get more reviews.
The golden ticket to getting more reviews:
1. Take online bookings using a specialist tour operator booking software system.
2. Schedule follow-up emails for bookings to ask them for a review. The automated nature means that you have a steady stream of reviews trickling each week. TripAdvisor gets what they want – more active users – and you get what YOU want – higher rankings.
#4: Re-frame your email subject lines.
Alex Bainbridge of TourCMS states:
Use a subject line such as ‘welcome home’ rather than anything to do with feedback. These two changes alone increased response to one tour operators welcome home email by 200-300%.
#5: Respond to ALL of your TripAdvisor reviews.
A few of you might wonder if you should even reply at all to reviews – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Does it actually help, or is it just a waste of time? Here’s the answer: in a user survey conducted by PhocusWright, one of the results was this: ‘57% of users agreed that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally makes me more likely to book it.’ I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to suggest that this is also relevant to tour operators.
TripAdvisor’s own statistics show that listings with 5 or more management responses receive 10% more engagement! More engagement = more bookings.
#6: Keep your responses casual.
Taking your marketing cues from the pages of the AT&T Manual for Customer Service is not clever, yet so many do it!
#7: Keep it short and sweet.
Use as many words as necessary and not one more. Here’s an example straight from TripAdvisor that did a decent job: ‘Thank-you for taking the time to leave a review. Your family was a lot of fun. You were a champ! It was a pleasure showing you around.’
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