Just as one would not buy a car sight unseen, travelers are not going to book a room at a hotel without first reading reviews and looking at pictures of the property. So what are hoteliers to do when their properties frequently receive negative reviews on TripAdvisor that damage their online reputation? Unfortunately, many hoteliers resort to TripAdvisor fraud - posting fake positive reviews themselves or encouraging their personal network to do so - in an effort to boost the hotel's TripAdvisor reputation. While false TripAdvisor reviews may seem like a good idea to the uninformed, it is a practice that results in critical, and sometimes debilitating, consequences from which hotels may never recover.

Why would hoteliers feel compelled to commit TripAdvisor fraud?

TripAdvisor is the second most visited travel site in the world, with an average of 260 million unique visitors per month and more than 150 million total reviews. Those stats clearly indicate why a positive representation on TripAdvisor is so crucial to a hotel's online reputation and financial success.

Any marketer worth his or her salt knows that word-of-mouth is one of the biggest influences on purchasing decisions. TripAdvisor has enabled naturally occurring word-of-mouth on a global scale. No longer is a traveler limited to their personal network of friends, family, and colleagues for hotel reviews. Now, they simply have to visit TripAdvisor to learn what hundreds of guests had to say about their stays. Studies show that 81 percent of travelers usually or always reference TripAdvisor before booking and that over half of all travelers would not even consider staying at a hotel that has no reviews.

If a hotel has a lot of positive reviews, then travelers will be more likely to book. If travelers are more likely to book, then that means a likely increase in…? That's right, every hotelier's favorite word - "revenue." Simply put, higher TripAdvisor ratings equal more money for the hotel. By moving up one point on a five point rating scale, hotels can increase their rates by up to 11.2 percent without seeing a decrease in occupancy. With hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue on the line, it is no wonder hoteliers consider posting fake positive reviews.

Okay, TripAdvisor is important, but how could someone spot a fake hotel-written review?

Because thousands of reviews are written on a daily basis, it is understandable why hoteliers may think that their fake reviews will slip through the cracks and appear legitimate. In an attempt to discover fake reviews, TripAdvisor claims to track the IP addresses of computers from which reviews are written. The site is alerted if multiple reviews come from the same IP address, signaling that hotel representatives may be writing fraudulent reviews from their offices. Even if they are writing reviews from different IP addresses, many hoteliers are treated to a rude awakening upon learning that their fake reviews were easily discovered by both TripAdvisor and travelers due to five common tells that signal the review is hotel-written.

  1. Perhaps the most obvious sign of a hotel-written review is one that includes "hotel speak" that the average traveler would not typically use. So that review singing the praises of a hotel's "well-appointed rooms with complimentary high-speed internet access and ergonomic desk chairs"? Fake.
  2. Multiple reviews for the same hotel that include the exact same or almost the same wording are almost always fake. In these instances, it is apparent to TripAdvisor and travelers that these reviews were written in an effort to increase the hotel's overall rating.
  3. A sudden burst of positive reviews all around the same time is a clear indication to TripAdvisor and travelers that the reviews are likely fraudulent.
  4. Positive reviews with a general lack of detail, an excessive use of superlatives and adverbs, and an unnecessary amount of exclamation points are the calling cards of many hotel-written reviews.
  5. Obviously, every TripAdvisor user will have a first review, but if a review already seems suspicious and also happens to be a user's first review, it is probably hotel-written.

Individually, all of these hallmarks of hotel-written reviews make them quite easy to spot. When these attributes are combined in a single review, hoteliers might as well just include, "by the way, this review is fake and an attempt to boost the hotel's rating." That would not make it any more obvious than it already is.

Even if people know the reviews are fake, a better overall rating is all that matters, right?

Wrong. One of TripAdvisor's core tenets is that the success of the site is based on honest reviews by real travelers telling it like it is. Fake reviews upset this balance and lead to travelers losing trust in the site and possibly not using it in the future. That is the last thing TripAdvisor wants. Upon detecting fraudulent reviews, TripAdvisor imposes a number of penalties designed to punish the hotel and discourage them from writing fake reviews again.

Almost immediately, the hotel's listing may be dropped several pages in the TripAdvisor popularity index. That means potentially thousands of lost guests and lost revenue, as most travelers do not search for a hotel past the second or third page of listings.

Hotels that have been caught writing fake reviews are ineligible to be included in all of TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards and top 10 lists. These honors provide valuable free marketing and have been shown to greatly boost the online perception of the hotels that receive them.

The biggest penalty that TripAdvisor levies on hotels posting fake reviews is the dreaded "red flag" that is placed on the listing itself. This large red label is prominently displayed at the top of the listing, informing all who view it that the reviews are not to be trusted (screenshot below). One hotelier claimed to have seen a 75 percent drop in revenue and a "catastrophic collapse in bookings" after her hotel was flagged.

tripadvisor listing with red flag

If hoteliers do not write fake reviews, how can they ever increase their hotel's rating?

One of Blue Magnet's Managing Partners Chris Jones wrote an excellent blog article answering this very question. Hoteliers should always use the reviews of their hotel - the good, the bad, and the ugly - as free market research to learn negatives that the hotel must improve upon and positives that the hotel can further enhance or promote.

Hoteliers should be candid in all communication and marketing regarding the hotel's quality and what guests should expect from the hotel. Guests do not want to be misled. Marketing a three star hotel as a five star hotel is an invitation for negative reviews from travelers whose expectations were not met.

Happy guests love to leave great reviews. At an industry conference earlier this year, Andrew Wiens, International DMO Manager at TripAdvisor, mentioned that 77 percent of all TripAdvisor reviews receive either four or five "bubbles."

Whether reviews are good or bad, all of them should elicit a hotel management response. 78 percent of TripAdvisor users say that seeing hotel management respond to reviews makes the users believe that management cares about their guests. Positive perception is everything.

At the end of the day, the best way to receive positive reviews online is to provide an excellent offline experience for guests. As long as hoteliers focus on delivering positive experiences, TripAdvisor fraud will not even be a consideration.

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TripAdvisor’s newest feature, Questions & Answers, is a trip-planning tool that offers an easy way for your hotel to interact with potential guests. When browsing a hotel on TripAdvisor, travelers can scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter a question in the designated box.

 
TripAdvisor's Questions & Answers Box 
 

A representative of your hotel, past reviewers, and other members of the TripAdvisor community can then provide timely answers and feedback. This gives your hotel the opportunity to set travelers’ expectations by giving them all the information they need to choose your property for their next trip. The tool basically offers a more personalized version of the already popular TripAdvisor forum. Travelers can ask questions specific to your hotel like, “What time is breakfast served on weekdays?” or “We are planning to visit in December, will the renovations be complete by then?”

How Your Hotel Can Get Involved

When a new question comes in, your property’s registered TripAdvisor email will receive a notification. Login to your hotel’s TripAdvisor page to address the traveler’s inquiry as directly and concisely as possible. Responses must be family-friendly, original, and cannot include links or contact information. As a property representative, your response will automatically go to the top of the responses, giving it priority and authority over the comments from the rest of the TripAdvisor community. TripAdvisor community comments are sorted based on upward and downward votes by the rest of the users. As a hotel representative, you can answer the same question multiple times if something has changed at your property over time.

Other hoteliers in the same market will not be able to answer traveler questions for your hotel.  Additionally, competing hotels in the area cannot ask questions about your hotel. These rules have been implemented by TripAdvisor to combat spam on the site.

5 Ways TripAdvisor Questions & Answers Benefits Hoteliers

  1. Hoteliers can engage with potential guests before the purchasing stage
  2. Hoteliers have the ability to answer questions more than once, keeping the information as correct and up-to-date as possible. This is particularly useful because OTAs and local listings are not always updated every time there is a change on property, which can confuse shoppers. This platform allows travelers to get clarification on necessary information and eliminate confusion.
  3. Hoteliers can help humanize the hotel brand by showing guests that the hotel cares about their questions and concerns and takes the time to respond. Guests appreciate personal interaction!
  4. Hoteliers can improve their overall image by being honest and proactive. Not only does the person who asked the question appreciate the response, but other hotel shoppers will respect the hotel for responding as well. 
  5. Hoteliers can essentially audit their communication. What messages are clear across their channels and which messages need to be reworked?
 

In the first example below, the Marriott Oakland City Center effectively uses the Questions & Answers tool to communicate with potential guests. The hotel representative provides a brief but detailed answer to the traveler’s question in a timely manner. Now that the guest is well-informed, she can book an accessible room at the hotel with confidence.

 
TripAdvisor's Questions & Answers Positive Example
 

In the example below, the hotel has the opportunity to reassure a guest so he does not cancel a block of rooms. However, no one from the property has responded to the guest, who asked the question 7 days ago. The hotel’s failure to respond is detrimental to the hotel, since they will likely lose this reservation.  Plus, as you can see in the screenshot below, another TripAdvisor community member responded with her own warning to avoid the hotel, so the hotel’s silence will likely negatively impact the hotel’s reputation.

 
TripAdvisor's Questions & Answers Negative Example
 

5 Things to Keep in Mind before Getting Started

  1. Make sure your property is registered and that you have a designated staff member to answer questions in a timely manner. If travelers are inquiring about your property, they are probably ready to book. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to convert shoppers into guests!
  2. Balance your answers with brevity and helpfulness. Readers don’t want to sift through a lengthy response to find the answer to their question.
  3. Emphasize the positive. If the answer to a traveler’s question is “no”, supplement it with a positive remark. For example, if a guest asks whether you have a spa on-site and the answer is no, let them know that you have two top-rated spas less than 5 minutes from the hotel and that your concierge is more than happy to assist with scheduling and directions.
  4. If you are seeing travelers ask the same question time and time again, think about how you can display the information more clearly on your website, OTAs, and social media. 
  5. Although you want to respond to questions quickly, make sure you also evaluate your answers carefully before posting them. Answers can receive positive and negative votes from the community, so think about rephrasing your answers to ensure they are viewed as helpful and the votes are positive. 

TripAdvisor’s new Questions & Answers feature is a valuable tool for your hotel and potential guests since it opens up a direct line of communication. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to engage with travelers, improve your property’s online reputation, and convert shoppers into hotel guests.

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In an increasingly technologically savvy world, it has become second nature for both business and leisure travelers to turn to the internet to research for a hotel destination, whether through a search engine, social media channel, brand website or online travel agency.  The internet has made it fast and easy to research properties, view photos, read traveler reviews, and compare rates from virtually anywhere--at desktop computer in their own home, on their mobile phone or on a laptop computer.  With the increased availability and access to information, hotels are not the only ones controlling their brand image and the content available to travelers and consumers.

The growing sophistication of online marketing in the travel industry has created more sophisticated consumers, who cut through the hype and marketing provided by a hotel and seek out independent opinions and reviews as their most influential source of information.  In a recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor and Forrester Consulting, 81% of travelers said reviews were important when deciding which hotel to book, and almost half said they wouldn't book a hotel unless it had reviews.

The relationship between OTAs, review sites and hotels has always been complicated, but with the proper knowledge and practices, the hotel and third party sites can grow to have a loving, successful relationship!  A major part of regaining control of the content about your hotel and making a significant impact in the minds of travelers is to respond to the reviews that travelers have posted online, often known as reputation management.

Here are Blue Magnet's top tips on how to respond to online traveler reviews of all types--the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Until proven guilty, assume all reviews are real and true

Online Hotel Review

Do your due diligence in investigating each review.  If a guest review is negative, investigate the issues presented by the guest and take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of the issue.  Look to see if the guest issued a complaint while on property and ask your Director of Operations if there have been any issues in any departments that could attribute to the review.  There are going to be false and misleading reviews posted about your hotel, but it can only help your cause by taking the high road and treating these reviews as real.  If you do discover that the review is false, be sure to report it to the site with all of your supporting information in order to have the review removed as soon as possible.

Take a deep breath before submitting a response

It is easy to get defensive about your property and the criticism that a reviewer posts publically.  But remember, you are representing the hotel brand, the property and all of its employees.  Your response should demonstrate that all feedback, both positive and negative, is important to you by being polite and professional.

The guest is always right...online

No matter how much you believe this to be true or false deep down in your gut, your public online response must address the needs and concerns of the guests first.  For example, a guest writes a review that they were unable to control the temperature of their room because the directions on how to use the thermostat were hard to understand.  If you were to look at the directions, as part of the hotel staff they might be clear to you since you are familiar with the thermostat system.  However, the guest is always right and there is usually a kernel of truth to extract from their experience, which you can use to improve your product.  Take the opportunities that guest reviews provide to reevaluate the issues that guests bring up to strengthen your property thus enhancing the guest experience.

The following steps will help hoteliers structure their property's online reviews and manage their online reputation more effectively:

  1. Sign up for notification emails
    Most consumer review sites allow management to receive notifications when a new review is posted. Ensure that the correct members of your hotel staff are signed up to receive these notifications and are available to act on behalf of the property. Preferably, a hotel's response should be sent from the General Manager, Hotel Manager or Director of Guest Services.
  2. Respond in a timely manner
    Once you receive a notification that a new review has been posted, respond as soon as possible.   This demonstrates to the guest that their feedback is important and that you value customer service.
  3. Remember one of the first rules your mother taught you: "Say please and thank you!"
    The very first line of the response should read:

    "Dear [insert the username of the traveler to make it personal], Thank you for taking the time to write a review on [insert name of travel website].  We truly appreciate your feedback regarding your stay with us at [insert the name of your property] [and include the time/date of the stay if the review mentions it]."

    It is important to express your genuine appreciation to guests who have taken the time to sit down, type out and submit their review about their experience at your property--good or bad.
  4. Highlight the positive
    Highlight the things that the guest noticed/appreciated during their stay.

    "Thank you for your kind words regarding the service you received from our Front Desk Guest Service Agent and the Bellman.  We pride ourselves on superior customer service and I am glad to see that these team members went above and beyond to make your stay more comfortable.  I'll be sure to share your feedback with them and their supervisors."
  5. Address specific complaints
    If the guest voices a complaint, your response should include an apology and direct acknowledgement of the specific complaint.  You should also include a description of the action you are taking to improve the situation and what the guest can expect during their next visit.

    "I'm very sorry for the inconvenience you experienced when housekeeping did not refresh your room or provide clean towels or new amenities.  I will address your concerns with the Director of Housekeeping to ensure this situation is avoided in the future.  During your next stay with us, please do not hesitate to call down to the front desk and inform them of the situation as they will be happy to make sure a room attendant addresses your room right away."
  6. Be original and transparent
    Avoid using a cookie cutter response for all reviews by personalizing your comments to each response you receive. This will demonstrate to the guest that each individual review and all feedback are important to you and that you took the time to actually read the review.
  7. Don't offer public service recovery
    If a review is bad enough it warrants a very personal response. Take the conversation offline.  Provide a direct phone number or an email address where the person can contact you directly about the issues they experienced.  Since online channels protect the anonymity of the reviewers, management is not able to get the direct contact information of the guest.  By providing your contact information you are inviting the guest to have their comments directly heard and addressed by the management.  This will help you resolve the issue faster than working through the online system and it will alleviate the potential for miscommunication.

    "Dear Traveler, Thank you for taking the time to write a review on TripAdvisor.  We truly appreciate your open and honest feedback about your experience at our hotel over the holiday.  I'm very concerned with the comments you made specifically about the appearance of bedbugs in your guest room and I would welcome the opportunity to address your comments personally with you over the phone.  Please feel free to call me at your earliest convenience.  Your satisfaction and well-being are of most importance to us and we hope to rectify the situation as soon as possible.  Thank you."

TripAdvisor Management Response Center

According to TripAdvisor, 50 million travelers are utilizing the site every month, so it is crucial to your hotel business to be an active part of the online correspondence.   Management responses give you the opportunity to engage with your past guests and market your property to future guests.  Industry research shows that management responses are highly influential with travelers during the booking process.  When an owner responds promptly and professionally to a review, addressing any specific complaints as well as the positive comments, it can make a big impact on prospective customers!  While responding to reviews might seem like a trivial, grass-roots public relations effort, it does make a strong impression on travelers when it comes time for them to book.

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Google Alerts is a free tool that every hotel should be using to manage their online reputation and monitor the web presence of competitors at the most basic level. Essentially, Google Alerts notifies you via email any time Google discovers your hotel's name (or any search query you specify) within any webpages it crawls. We at Blue Magnet know the importance of managing a hotel's online reputation and Google Alerts is just one of the many tools we use.

When you set up a Google Alert, you are automatically notified when Google crawls new web content that matches a search term you select. For example, I have created a Google Alert for "Blue Magnet Interactive," which means that I receive an email notification every time Google finds a new mention of that search phrase ("Blue Magnet Interactive") anywhere on the web. This can include content from news, blogs, videos and discussion groups, letting me quickly monitor discussions or posts about Blue Magnet Interactive. This is a quick and easy way for hotels and other businesses to monitor the online gossip about their particular company.

How to Set Up a Google Alert in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Google Alerts - Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Search Query - Add the business name or search term you would like to track in the Search Query field. It's a good idea to set up an alert for any variance of your business or hotel name. For example, the Hilton Chicago should add alerts for "Hilton Hotel Chicago," "Hilton Chicago" and "Chicago Hilton." You can do the same for the names of your direct competitors.
    Google Alerts for Hotels
  3. Add result type - Results type allows you to choose what type of alerts you would like. You can choose from news, blogs, videos, discussions and books. It's best to choose "everything" so you receive alerts for any mention of your hotel name across the web.
  4. Add notification frequency - You can choose how often you receive alerts: "As it happens," "Once a Day" or "Once a Week." "Once a Day" is the option I choose, as it gathers all of your alerts for the day and sends them in a single email.
  5. Designate the number of results - You have the option to receive "Only the Best Results" or "All Results."
  6. Add your email - Simply specify the email address to which you would like your notifications sent.
  7. Create alert - Clicking "Create Alert" will send a verification email to your designated address. Once you verify your email address, the alert is created! You will soon receive emails, like the one below, for each search term you added.

Google Alerts

How Google Alerts Work for Hotels

There is no limit to the number of alerts you can set up. This free tool not only allows hotels to regularly monitor their own online reputation, but also helps keep hotels updated on their competitor's online presence. With competitor alerts, you can stay informed about new hotel specials in the area, competing hotel events or a wide range of guest reviews--and it all comes straight to your inbox!

Online reputation management for hotels is important and requires a strategic approach. Google Alerts isn't the only ingredient in our recipe for online success, but it's definitely a great jumping off point for hotels looking for simple (and free!) reputation management solutions!

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When it comes to your hotel's online reputation management, think of the internet as high school and you’re trying to win the popularity contest. With Google’s plans to incorporate Google+ into personalized search results and the backlash of TripAdvisor’s misleading reviews, I think it’s fair to say that there’s a considerable focus on what people are saying about your brand. More than ever before, people are turning to each other through the internet to glean opinions about hotels, their staff, and even how the hotel dealt with problems, before making any concrete decisions about where to stay.

Here’s the real clincher: consumers aren’t just looking for their peers’ reactions; they’re also taking into account how the hotel responded to both positive and negative reviews. Your online reputation management will continue to be increasingly important as “likes,” “+1’s,” and reviews are intertwined into how we discover new information on the internet.

So, how will you amp up your online reputation management to make sure small blunders inside the hotel don’t go viral?

1. Listen to the locker room gossip

Know what people are saying about your hotel. Like any good prom queen in the running, you need to know what’s being said and where people are saying it. One simple and free way to oversee mentions of your hotel is to set-up Google Alerts. With Google Alerts, you’ll be notified via email every time your hotel name (or whatever keywords you deem relevant) are mentioned anywhere in search results.

Google Alerts for Blue Magnet Interactive

Another key strategy is to monitor your social media profiles daily. There are more opinions posted on those sites besides just reviews. Tracking the increase in visits, likes, re-tweets, shares, etc. can give you a good idea over how buzz worthy your hotel is or not.

Finally, if you’re a one-man show and need some minions to help build your reputation, you can employ technology services to help manage the process. Bookassist offers a service called “Reputation Alert” which not only collects reviews from guests who book through your brand.com, but it also crawls hundreds of sites to gather comments or reviews and brings them to you in one place. Some more comprehensive products to consider are ReviewPro or ReviewAnalyst. Not only do these services monitor and collect all reviews, but they also compile the data into easy-to-use reports.

2. Be a social butterfly

Be engaged with your online community. If you’re going to gain entrance into the cool crowd, you need to be outgoing and diplomatic to others. The same goes for your hotel’s image online. Similar to how you want to be accepted and liked by others, your guests or reviewers want to be heard and acknowledged, too! Responding to positive reviews about your hotel is easy enough to do, but a lot of hoteliers shy away from responding to negative reviews or complaints. These are the reviews that need the most attention, as these guests may have felt as though their issue was ignored on-property or not handled properly. Now they want to lambast your hotel for the whole world to see.

By simply acknowledging that there was an issue and offering a diplomatic response, you are engaging in an online conversation that other potential guests will see. People are eager to see how the hotel will respond or react to a negative situation.  Furthermore, the way in which its handled will give potential guests insight as to what they’ll be up against if a problem occurs during their stay. In fact, there have been cases in which a once disgruntled reviewer was so satisfied by the hotel’s response to their issue that they removed the negative review and became a cheerleader for the hotel. The more you engage with your online community through responses, blogs, and social media, the more positive your brand image will become.

3. Transform your ugly duckling into a beautiful swan

Interesting images and other content are key to growing your community. If you’re going to be a front-runner in the popularity game, it’s important to always highlight your best features. High quality and complementary images of your property will draw consumers’ eyes away from any negative reviews and into your photo gallery. New social media sites, like Pinterest, showcase destinations with beautiful landscapes or neat décor with a link back to the source (aka your brand.com).

What’s more, gaining new followers on your social media channels is more than just skin deep; you have to show your inner beauty. Provide content that followers will want to share with their networks. Interesting blog entries, fun contests, and “featured guests” posts are sure fire ways to gain attention and keep your current followers interested. Finally, posting pictures and posts about hotel staff events allows your followers to feel a connection with the hotel and helps make your hotel staff seem more approachable.

4. Campaign like a class president

Promote guest reviews. Although “Vote for Me” posters aren’t exactly within brand standards, there are other ways that you can encourage your guests to leave reviews on your social media channels that will help keep your content and reviews fresh. Adding links to your TripAdvisor, Google+, or Yahoo listings on your Facebook page is one way to ensure writing reviews is top of mind for your guests. More subtle methods include adding a link to your listings on email signatures, newsletters, and brand.com. Providing easy access to your business listings will keep reviewing from feeling like a chore to your guests.

The most obvious way to encourage exceptional guest reviews is to provide the guest with a great hospitality experience. Even if there are blunders during their stay, the way in which it’s handled can make or break a raving review. It’s important to train your staff that what happens inside the hotel may be reflected online, and reviewers aren’t shy about naming names if they’re really upset. They also aren’t shy about naming names when a hotelier helped make their stay really wonderful, so just ask yourself what kind of publicity do you want?

In the end, will you be a popular student or a wallflower? If your hotel stays in touch with their reviews and reviewers, provides valuable content on its social media channels, and encourages positive reviews when the opportunity arises, I could foresee Prom Court in your future. And remember, it’s the negative reviews that need the most nurturing and what happens inside your hotel doesn’t always stay inside your hotel. Good luck!

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As a hotel internet marketing guy, I get asked this question by hoteliers all the time: "What can I do to improve my hotel's ranking in TripAdvisor?"

For your convenience, I'm just going to set the record straight: TripAdvisor ranks hotels using an automated tool they call their "Popularity Index." According to official TripAdvisor website, they describe this Popularity Index as such:

The TripAdvisor Popularity Index incorporates Traveler Ratings to determine traveler satisfaction. Emphasis is placed on the most recent information. We calculate the Popularity Index using an algorithm.

TripAdvisor's Popularity Index is:

  • Pure: Completely organic. No paid results influence rankings.
  • Fresh: Constantly incorporates new information.
  • Global: Reflects reviews from around the world.
  • Unbiased: Based on the good and the bad!

Well, what a shocker. Just like Google, TripAdvisor is pretty opaque when it comes to disclosing to hoteliers what needs to be done in order to improve their hotels' TripAdvisor rankings. To shed some light on these vague guidelines, I'll provide some tips on improving your TripAdvisor rankings based on our experience and various discussions with TripAdvisor market managers.

Important factors that may impact the TripAdvisor Popularity Index:

TripAdvisor Best Practices for Hotels:

  • Claim your TripAdvisor Business Listing
  • Keep the content in your listing updated and fresh
  • Encourage customers (via on and offline means) to write reviews of your hotel (but do so in a way that doesn't violate TripAdvisor's Terms of Service--ie, don't "reward" customers for leaving reviews.  If you do, you may find your hotel penalized for this violation.)
  • Monitor your customer reviews
  • Respond to BOTH negative and positive reviews
  • Use your customer reviews as free market research to enhance your hotel's internal operations
  • Enhance the good and fix the bad features of your property
  • Repeat all the above on a regular basis

Managing your online reputation takes a lot of time if you want to do it effectively. Constant management of these various review channels (TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc) is necessary to be successful in social media marketing and management. At the hotel level, be sure to assign a staff member to serve as your "social media champion" and ensure that your entire hotel team is aware of the social media initiatives. In the end, there are many hotel internet marketing companies (such as yours truly) that specialize in hotel social media marketing and management.  Agencies like Blue Magnet can help monitor and manage your listings to ensure you're always on top of your hotel's online reputation.

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