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Tripadvisor – To link or not to link…

30 July 2014


Our CEO Steve Lowy takes on Tripadvisor…

Tripadvisor has been the bane of the independent hotel manager for many years. I would argue that Tripadvisor was the original big data social media platform, used by many whilst offering lots of peer –to- peer engagement. What annoyed hoteliers was the lack of reliability on all reviews but I guess that given the various newspaper scandals, the average person has to make their own mind up on what is true, whether it is an article in the tabloids, or a review on Tripadvisor.

Over the years I believe that hoteliers have started embracing the fact that Tripadvisor is here to stay and that they are better off handling comments rather then hiding from them. Tripadvisor’s recent proactive work of interaction with the industry really helps (they were justly accused of not being approachable in previous years), as does the Tripconnect option of a commission-free but really efficient PPC model that is accessible to all.

When I was managing hotels, we were really active in engaging with Tripadvisor (some 5 years ago) and we were happy to put the Tripadvisor widget on the site as we felt it provided transparency to our clients despite the risks that the widget brought with it. It’s also a great tool for staff and management to maintain and drive service standards. An issue that was brought to my attention at one time was when an acquaintance of mine decided not to book the hotel due to a bad review that she had seen on the widget, on our site.

The question is, was she likely to have seen it anyway, on further research across the internet?

The other risk is that potential customers visiting the website can click on the widget and get taken into the realm of the OTAs; as the OTAs have a stranglehold over the advertising of your individual hotel location when it comes to Tripadvisor. I understand that if you have spent a lot time and effort getting people to your site that you don’t want them bouncing off. However, in my humble opinion, I believe that customers are likely to have seen the Tripadvisor review on their journey (as well as reviews from other sources), prior to their direct site visit and the transparency and honesty of having the live widget on the site can add a lot of support. There are also plenty of good customer review management tools now with front end widgets that display centrally managed reviews. They don’t re-direct people to the review website itself (Customer Alliance is an example of this service). Integrating live reviews is really important in current times and there are now ways to have it work in the best way to suit your business.

Like me, many feel that testimonial pages are untrustworthy as the reviews are “static” and can have been doctored.

Live reviews are there and will remain there whether they are good or not and it is important to embrace their presence.

As with most things, there is no complete right or wrong way, it is very much up to the individual hotel and/or brand as to how they want to deal both with the reviews but also the transparency of the review on the site through widgets like the Tripadvisor one.

It would be great to see what your thoughts are on this matter, good or bad, with using the Tripadvisor widget or other such review tools, that may take visitors away from your site. Leave a comment and let’s see if we can collaborate within the industry to find a way of best dealing with the issue.

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