The following post is from Jonathan Brinksman, Senior Web Marketing Analyst.
TripAdvisor rankings are based on their own metric called “The Popularity Index,” a proprietary algorithm that determines rankings based on the quantity, quality and frequency of reviews for any given property. But how exactly does ranking translate to room nights?
We’ve known for some time that even a small change in TripAdvisor ranking can have a significant impact on web traffic – the higher the ranking, the higher the traffic to the hotel’s website.
But traffic, these days, doesn’t mean much. What we want is qualified traffic. How much of that traffic from TripAdvisor is actually converting online?
That’s hard to say, to be honest. It stands to reason, however, that if a large number of people are using TripAdvisor to research your property, then your ranking must play a pretty sizable role in your bookings.
To put this theory to the test, we took a random sampling of the MICROS eCommerce client base. The data speaks for itself – the closer a property is to a Number 1 ranking on TripAdvisor for its given market, the greater its direct online bookings.
The information breaks down like this:
- Properties ranked #20 in their market see 10% more directly booked room nights per month versus those ranked #40
- Properties ranked #10 in their market see 10% more directly booked room nights per month versus those ranked #20
- Properties ranked #5 in their market see 9% more directly booked room nights per month versus those ranked #10
- Properties ranked #2 in their market see 7% more directly booked room nights per month versus those ranked #5
- Properties ranked #1 in their marketing see 11% more directly booked room nights per month versus those ranked #2
What does this all mean exactly?
According to our data, efforts to improve a rank from the bottom 25% to the top 25% are beneficial, but additional and greater opportunity for an increase in room nights as a result of improved ranking exists when the new ranking represents the top 20% of any market. Working to increase your TripAdvisor ranking should be a key component in your overall web strategy.
Looking even deeper, a review of properties that jumped from a top 5 ranking to a first place ranking reveals that these properties saw massive increases in TripAdvisor referral traffic and, as a result, directly booked room nights.
The Popularity Index also relies heavily on the age of reviews; with older reviews carrying less weight than more recent reviews. As a result, a ranking increase (or, heaven forbid, a ranking decrease) can be almost immediate (sample below).
So what can I do to increase my TripAdvisor ranking?
A TripAdvisor ranking can be quickly improved by:
- Offering services and amenities above customer expectations
- Monitoring and responding to hotel guest reviews (sometimes there are opportunities’ where the customer is still on property)
- Be honest and forthright with responses
- Suggest to customers that they post a review on TripAdvisor – you have to be very careful about how you solicit reviews, though. TripAdvisor has approved free marketing tools available for you if you sign into your listing and click on the aptly named “Free Marketing Tools” button.
Ultimately, responding to the feedback in your reviews—either to correct those elements that have drawn the ire of a customer or to support an aspect of your property that has been praised—is the most direct course of action that a hotel can take to increase a TripAdvisor ranking, and probably the most effective.
One final piece of advice: it might be tempting to try to skirt the system by leaving false, invented, or even fudged reviews on your own property’s page – TripAdvisor takes the integrity of their reviews very seriously (their business model is based on it, after all).
Under no circumstances should you give in to the Dark Side. You’ve just seen how much a good TripAdvisor ranking can positively impact your bookings – imagine how negatively something like this would impact them:
Have you seen first hand how a TripAdvisor ranking can help your hotel book more nights? Let us know in the comments section.
Interested in ramping up your online strategy? Check out the full suite of MICROS eCommerce interactive marketing tools, send us an email, or give us a call +1 301.841.4700(US) | +44 (0)20 3004 9468(UK).