With 167 million monthly visitors, TripAdvisor is one of the most popular travel and tourism websites worldwide. With all those visitors, no wonder tour operators are interested in learning how to increase their TripAdvisor ranking.
Featuring this OTA’s first page means having your product in front of thousands of potential customers. But in order to reach the top, you should understand TripAdvisor’s ranking method and learn strategies to increase your listing relevance.
This article teaches tour operators how to increase their TripAdvisor ranking and boost their bookings through this platform.
Businesses that manage to be in the top positions for their category usually receive more bookings when compared to the ones that are on the second page and further.
Even businesses that are on the first page, but not on the top three positions experience a difference in booking numbers.
You must be asking yourself: How to increase my TripAdvisor Ranking?
We will get there, but first, let’s take a look at how TripAdvisor’s algorithm chooses which product will be in the first position, second, and so on.
One of the reasons why OTA’s exist is to make travelers’ lives easier.
Imagine you are planning a trip to Aruba and you want to book a diving tour. You will probably search on Google for tour operators in that area.
A fast search will return dozens of operator websites of which many are poorly designed, without enough information, or even without an online booking option.
Under these conditions, how to choose the best option to book a tour?
Instead of scraping Google hoping to find a great deal, one can simply search on TripAdvisor and find within no time the perfect travel experience to book online.
This is only possible because the OTA uses an algorithm that matches the searcher’s keyword and filters with an extensive database of travel experiences and returns a list of results ranked from the best to the worst.
Sounds like magic, isn’t it?
The truth is that TripAdvisor is only able to assist travelers to find the best hotels and experiences to book because reviews are at the core of its algorithm.
In order to best rank the results, its algorithm considers three main aspects:
To understand better how things work behind the curtains and how to increase your TripAdvisor ranking, let’s take a deeper look into these three aspects.
TripAdvisor uses a 5-star system to rank the products listed on the platform. The more positive reviews a product has, the higher it will be ranked on the search results.
Probably you are familiar with this system. The thing is that having a larger number of 5-star reviews will not necessarily put your listing ahead of your competitors.
That happens because the total number of bad reviews, 1-2 stars, is also taken into consideration by the algorithm when ranking the products.
For example, a product with 100 good reviews and 20 bad reviews will be positioned below another with 70 good reviews and only 1 bad.
Now you might be thinking, how can I increase my TripAdvisor ranking by getting more good reviews than bad ones? There is no other way but to provide great service from start to finish.
Take a look at these two experiences listed on TripAdvisor:
Although the first tour has fewer 4-5 star reviews than the second one, it has also fewer 1-2 star reviews. This combination was enough to put it in a better position.
TripAdvisor’s algorithm uses a weight function to evaluate each review, and recency is a key aspect that is considered. In other words, the more recent the review, the higher its weight when ranking a listing.
The recency of reviews favors operators that have improved their products over time. Listings with a higher number of recent good reviews will be listed ahead of others with fewer recent good reviews, even though they have more bad but old reviews.
Another consequence of this system is that experiences with a smaller number of good reviews can have a better grade than the ones with a larger number of high, but old reviews.
A common question tour operators ask is: how to increase my TripAdvisor ranking if I have lots of bad reviews? Should I create a new account?
Don’t panic. The first step is to investigate why you are receiving many bad reviews and address the issue. Over time, after improving your service quality and start receiving good reviews, your product will reach higher positions.
Many operators think that their product page will reach the top only when they have more reviews than their competitors. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.
By doing a fast search on TripAdvisor, you will find many examples of tours in the first position with fewer reviews than the ones in lower positions.
In the image above, you can see that the first position is a tour with around half the number of reviews compared to the one placed second, and one-third of the tour placed third. Notice that all of them have an overall grade of 5 stars.
According to TripAdvisor’s website:
“When we talk about review quantity, it’s important to note that a business just needs to have enough reviews to provide statistical significance and allow for a confident comparison to other businesses.”
In short, experiences with a similar grade will have their positions determined only by the recency and quality of the reviews rather than the total number of reviews.
It happens because when you reach a certain amount of reviews, TripAdvisor’s algorithm has enough data to evaluate the potential that a listing has in terms of delivering a good travel experience.
The fastest way to reach the top of TripAdvisor’s results page is by regularly getting new reviews.
If you are not having success in doing that, below we give you some ideas:
Never underestimate human contact. Hardly one of your guests will decline your request if you ask for reviews in person right after a tour. Use a sympathetic approach and a mobile device to collect the reviews. That will save you a lot of time.
In order to increase your chances to get reviews, you can offer a small gift to the customers who leave feedback. That could be a souvenir, such as a postcard, a picture of the tour, or even a gift card.
Review Express is an email service offered by TripAdvisor for its partners. Through it, past guests will receive a feedback form after the tour. This can be very useful to get new reviews if you don’t have an email list of your past guests.
If you are collecting your guests’ emails, you can create your own email marketing campaign and ask for reviews. For this purpose, you will need an email marketing platform. Don’t worry, there are many free options in the market.
Tip: Remember to use a personal approach when asking for reviews. This will increase the chances of a customer to leave you one.
Tour guides are great for asking reviews. They can use their charisma to pretend a competition for more reviews. Another idea is to give them a bonus in case they reach a certain number of good reviews.
Learning how to increase your TripAdvisor ranking is only part of the job. If you want to receive more bookings through this OTA, you should also pay attention to:
Let’s understand them better.
The content of reviews matters a lot to your target customers. Basically, complete reviews are more relevant than short reviews and they can help increase your overall number of bookings.
A relevant review is one that has a detailed description of your tour, uses a personal tone and is filled with pictures.
Such a review has a strong positive impact on the guest’s decision process on whether or not to book with you.
You can notice that the review above is very complete. It describes what the experience was like, has pictures of the tour, and even mentions the guide’s name.
On the other hand, a simple review looks like the one below.
Compared to the previous example, this one doesn’t give many details about the experience to the reader. But all in all, a short review is better than no review.
No one wants to book a tour from a business that doesn’t care about their customers.
But how do you know if an operator cares about their customers when searching for an experience on TripAdvisor? You might check if they are answering their customer’s reviews.
Answering promptly and professionally to reviews while addressing any complaints and positive comments will have a positive impact on prospective customers.
Furthermore, if past guests see that you answer to all reviews they will be motivated to leave their own.
According to a BrightLocal study, 89% of consumers are ‘highly’ or ‘fairly’ likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews.
If you wanna leave a good impression on your potential guests, you should answer not only negative reviews but also as many positive reviews as you can.
But please, don’t give a standard answer to each and every review you receive. It is important to show that you read the reviews before answering them. Leaving a personalized comment is the best way to show that you care about your customers’ opinions and thoughts.
If a guest writes about one of your tour guides, make a comment related to their work or personality. If the review is about a food tour, it is a good idea to mention the recipe or talk about the chef.
Remember, the more personal the approach, the more delighted your customer will be. Take a look at an example of a good answer to a positive review:
On the other hand, if it is a negative review, the first thing to do is to read it and then chill out. Then, proceed to answer.
Never take any criticism personally. Some bad reviews may actually help you improve your business.
Here goes an example of how to answer a negative review:
When facing a negative review, you should understand the customer’s side of the story. Be helpful and always show that you are trying to improve your services. If necessary, schedule a call or send an email to discuss the issue further.
If the review is short and lacks information, in your answer, ask what the issue was and try to get as many details as you can. This way you show potential guests that service quality does matter for your business.
This article gave you many tips on how to increase your TripAdvisor ranking. However, its most important outcome is that keeping your services at the top positions is a daily job. Don’t assume that only adding a product page to TripAdvisor will do the job.
Naturally, having a nice listing page is important, but as previously discussed, getting new reviews and answering to them is at the core of the strategy to boost your bookings on this OTA.
If business A is above business B, in most cases, this is because A has a statistically better set of reviews (based on quality, quantity, and recency) than B.
Never create fake accounts to leave reviews on TripAdvisor!
Cheaters are penalized in order to keep the platform’s credibility. If you are caught, a warning is added to your page and you will be unable to rank at top positions.
Not to mention that fake reviews have a negative impact on your bookings and are very harmful to your business image and customers’ trust.
TripAdvisor can be a great OTA to drive bookings to your business. But remember that old saying, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
The best strategy to have a healthy cash flow is by investing in multiple sales channels. Do that by listing your tours on different OTA’s, and most importantly, have a direct channel to sell your tours.
If you don’t have a booking engine, it’s time for you to meet Orioly. Our solution comes with a channel manager that centralizes your bookings from the main OTA’s, and also, a simple-to-use booking system that will turn your website into an online sales channel.
Try Orioly for free and boost your online sales.
on August 31, 2022
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