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I received an email the other day from someone who was perplexed. Why didn’t TripAdvisor accept their multi-day tour company?

This is a common occurrence, with operators around the globe being rejected around the world. But if companies like EscapeGoat(opens in a new tab), Sawtooth Adventure(opens in a new tab), Mike’s Bike Tours(opens in a new tab) and Laxnes Horse Farm(opens in a new tab) can do it, this means there’s a way. But rather than talk about why you can’t get on, why don’t we talk about your options to get your own listing on TripAdvisor. It’s not all that difficult.

First, we need to look at TripAdvisor’s own standards and hear it directly from the horse’s mouth:

‘The attraction must have an official name, address, and published telephone number. It must be open/available to customers on a regularly scheduled basis. Pre-determined hours or departure times must be published on an official website or in a printed brochure.

If the attraction is not in a fixed place (e.g., tour or cruise), then scheduled departure times, place of departure and destinations (if applicable) must be provided on the website or in the brochure. We list companies that offer day tours or day cruises.

Tour companies that offer private tours may qualify for a listing if:

  • The company offers day tours (not overnight or multi-day).
  • The company is licensed/recognised by local city or tourism officials.
  • The company has a website.
  • The word “Private” appears in the listing name.’

The above means that you can choose from two options:

  • Offering a new day tour and hence, rejigging your business model a bit OR
  • Just keep on doing what you’re doing and forget about TripAdvisor

What you eventually decide upon clearly depends on your own business priorities, but all you need to do is adjust your website and marketing materials so it reflects the needed criteria.

I have heard of businesses being rejected even after going through the above process, so it’s worth mentioning that if you just put one day tour and hide it somewhere on your site, you’ll probably be rejected.

Now That TripAdvisor Owns Viator, Will They Accept Multi-Day Listings Soon?

I doubt it.

While Viator has itself become more flexible(opens in a new tab) in the kind of tours they allow operators to upload – stretching to allow some multi-day trips – it will still remain a separate site in the TripAdvisor stable. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it: if you really want on, create a day-tour component to your business and go from there.

Not only that, Viator has indicated that they plan to accept few multi-day tours and only in the situation where a day tour wouldn’t make sense.

To quote Viator CEO(opens in a new tab) Barrie Seidenberg:

‘We’ve always offered a limited amount of multi-day tours, mainly for places you can’t effectively visit in a daytrip and that have iconic attractions, such as Ayers Rock in Australia, which is too remote for a daytrip from Sydney. We’ll continue to add short-duration guided stays, which is a small and interesting category for us. But we don’t have plans at this point to go into 14-day safaris, etc.’

What would I do?

If I had a tour business, it would be a relatively simple choice: create day tours and sell them on my site.

The tougher part is dealing with licensing. If you can get that dealt with, then the next step of creating a new section on your website for daily tours is a snack.

Are you a tour operator who has gone through this? Did you get listed and did it help your business? Get in touch, and let me know.

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