Chocolate Pillow | Online Reviews – It’s not just about TripAdvisor!
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Online Reviews – It’s not just about TripAdvisor!

13 Jun Online Reviews – It’s not just about TripAdvisor!

Welcome back peeps!  It has been far far too long since I posted and I am sorry; life has gotten away with me and, to be honest, I haven’t really had much inspiration!  But here I am, back once again!

This time round I want to once again re-raise that old faithful talking point – TripAdvisor!  Love it or loathe it I think it is far too large a beast of online reviews and social media to ignore it; its like that dripping tap in the bathroom, because try as hard as you want but you simply cannot ignore it!

However, it is the focus of all too many hotels and businesses to ‘Get TripAdvisor Right’ – in fact the most common searches that bring people to my blog have ‘TripAdvisor’ in them somewhere!  This is quite revealing to me and to many other industry insiders who want to be ‘ahead of the game’ (and yes, I am going all out with the 1990’s yuppy sales cliches!).  The sad truth of the situation is that far too many hotels spend far too much time dealing with TA and too little time dealing with other review sources.  Let me give you an example:

The Lowry Hotel Manchester (sorry to call you out on this folks!) – this has 1913 reviews on Tripadvisor (at the time of writing) and 2058 reviews on, so which one deserves more activity and more attention?  You may be inclined to say ‘Tripadvisor – it has more people look at it’ or you may say ‘ – it has more reviews on’ – the truth is that neither deserves more or less attention than the other.  I will be writing another post soon about reacting to reviews, but it is important to bear in mind that regardless of where the review is online, it will be seen by someone.  And that someone, plus another someone, plus another 1000 someones, could add up to a lot of lost money!

I have written before about reviews and responding to them, so I wont go down that road, but I have spent time in many different hotels, often involved with TripAdvisor reviews, and have seen so many hotels simply disregard other review sites.  But why?  Quite simply because usually the person making the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators – targets to meet), sets them based on what they believe is ‘right for the business’.  They are based on the ‘industry shouting about stuff’ – everyone talks about TA so we should do it too, right?

But is ignoring other sources ‘right for your business’? Or put it another way – would you choose to only respond to complaints by fax and not by email?  You never would do this as that is ridiculous for any business to do, but you are doing the same thing by choosing to deal with reviews on one site but not another!

Lets look at this another way – you run a hotel and want to be business focused, not attracting leisure guests to stay with you.  Does that mean you only contract with corporate agents or do you still sell rooms online on third arty travel agent sites?  Well, the simple answer is, you still sell online through third party sites.  You do not simply avoid a potential revenue stream because it does not match with what you have as a vision for your clientele.  So if you are not ignoring potential revenue streams, why are you ignoring potential feedback sources also?

Lets look at it from a slightly flipped angle here – all sources of social feedback are a source of revenue!  It’s true!  Don’t believe me?  well think about where all that feedback is posted…. mainly on sites that allow you to book a hotel!  And why are the reviews there?  To allow people to make a decision about whether to stay at a certain hotel or not!  Its simple:

  1. Someone stays at your hotel
  2. They write about their stay online
  3. Someone is looking for hotels in the area
  4. They see your hotel and read the reviews
  5. They make a purchase decision based on those reviews*
  6. They stay and write a review of your hotel
  7. ….. The cycle continues….

*Purchase decisions are made on a number of factors and reviews are not the only driver for a purchase decision, in fact many other things often drive the choice before ‘shortlisting’ a few choices and using reviews to further refine that decision.

It still amazes me how many hotels are so concentrated on TripAdvisor and responding to and dealing with reviews posted there, yet disregard other sources of reviews – TA is admittedly a big site that many refer to, but bear in mind that if someone is on Expedia, or Laterooms to name but a few, then the reviews on there are surely to hold just as much weight, if not more than those on TA.  Also bear in mind that and expedia both offer ‘verified’ reviews – the review cannot be written by the guest until they have reached their departure date of the hotel, TA infamously cannot offer this guarantee so some people are less enthused to believe everything they read on TA.

So, will you know open your eyes to other sites apart TA for your reviews?

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Matt Shiells-Jones

Husband, Author, Hotel Manager and ambitious 'old cat lady'

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