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:
- Claimed TripAdvisor Business Listing for the Hotel
- Complete and up-to-date content
- Quality of reviews
- Quantity of reviews
- Recency of reviews
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.