Online review sites provide a venue for people like you and me to weigh in on what they like – and sometimes don’t like – about local businesses and places they frequent when they’re traveling. There are a number of them out there, but today we’ll be focusing on the “big two” – Yelp and TripAdvisor.
There are any number of good reasons why hotels should participate in online review sites.The sheer number of people who use them to research their trip and book travel, the ability to improve your search optimization, the opportunity to talk with your customers, and maybe most importantly …
… know what’s being said. Now I’m sure no one here has reviews like this one, but wouldn’t you want to know if these things were being said about your property?
They say that knowledge is power. Once you know what people think, you are better equipped to address concerns, make appropriate changes, and more often than not, sincerely thank your customers for their kind words.
You’ve got some questions to answer internally before you jump in.
Yelp had an average of approximately 66 million monthly unique visitors in Q4 2011Yelpers have written over 25 million local reviewsEvery business owner (or manager) can setup a free account to post photos and message her customersYelp makes money by selling ads to local businesses - you'll see these clearly labeled "Yelp Ads" around the site
Once you’ve created your business account, you can add information about the property and even the General Manager.
About TripAdvisorTripAdvisor is the world's largest travel community.More than 50 million monthly visitors20 million membersOver 60 million reviews and opinions
Social Spaces: Online Review Sites and How To Be a Part of the Discussion
Social Spaces:Online Review Sites and How To Be a Part of the Discussion
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Social spaces represent physical locations.People can add ratings, reviews, and conversations. Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Social Spaces for Hotels• More than 114 million Americans will research travel online in 2011, and 94 million will book online (Hotel Marketing, April 2011)• Sites like Google Places, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Facebook Places improve search optimization and allow you to directly talk with customers• And maybe most importantly … Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Know What’s Being Said … Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
…and Join the Conversation Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Create a Game Plan• Accessibility – Use a shared or neutral email account, not a personal one – Consider setting up a Gmail or another shared email address that can be forwarded to multiple people• Responsibility – Who will monitor on an ongoing basis? – Who decides which reviews are responded to? – Who is in charge of updating photos every 3-6 months? Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Encourage Reviews • Encourage, but don’t ask for reviews – “Check us out on…” works better than “Write a review on…” – Include URLs in follow-up emails or on receipts – Signs or cards in lobby – Focus on one space, or encourage them to use the space of their choice • Remember that reviews from your lobby computer may get flagged Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Claiming Your Yelp Place• Step 1: Search for your business – If your business is not listed, click Add a Business• Step 2: Click “Work here? Unlock this business page”• Step 3: Create a business account using a neutral email address• Step 4: Phone authentication process• Step 5: Fill out profile information• Great video tutorial in Yelp Support for Business Owners Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
TripAdvisor“According to an MSNBC poll, 86% of respondents use travel sites to gauge traveler sentiment before they make their accommodation choice…Responding to reviews is key, too: a recent TripAdvisor survey found 76% of travelers think more positively about owners who find the time to reply.” Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
TripAdvisor• Please make sure you encourage reviews when guests get home. A review from an internal IP address could result in getting flagged• Of course, never add your own reviews of your property! Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Claiming your TripAdvisor Place• Step 1: Start at the TripAdvisor Owners page – Choose Hotel and search for your business• Step 2: Register with TripAdvisor when prompted• Step 3: Fill out your information and confirm to register your listing – Business listings are available for a monthly fee – If this step is unavailable, you may need to contact TripAdvisor through a form• Step 4: Manage your listing – The Manage Your Listing page makes it easy to add photos and manage reviews• More info available on Owners’ Help Page Source: Fargo-Moorhead CVB
Sources and Resources• Sources – Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau – Yelp.com – TripAdvisor.com• Resources – Hotelmarketing.com – LCRA’s Social Media Glossary – Social Media Strategy for Hotels (PDF)