Why Tours and Activities Companies Need to Start Leveraging TripAdvisor
If you are like me, when you are either planning a trip or are already at your destination and your looking for something to do you probably searched “Things to do in [enter your destination HERE]”
I would bet you a good portion of my paycheck, that TripAdvisor dominated the first page of search results.
TripAdvisor is the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) of the Internet
As the Guardian described them, “TripAdvisor is to travel as Google is to search, as Amazon is to books, as Uber is to cabs…” TripAdvisor has been around longer than Facebook and have been a driving force in the Online Travel Agent (OTA) market.
When they first introduced reviews from the public, not just professional travel journalists, the industry thought they were going to die off immediately. They have clearly shown their critics wrong. If TripAdvisor isnt front and center for your tour company’s marketing & sales strategy, then you need to re-evaluate your plan.
Similar to Google or Facebook, TripAdvisor’s success comes from two key pillars, providing a service or content that people want (and because of that, massive adoption by the public) and a robust online advertising presence. In the above image, you see TripAdvisor’s Ad, show up second. If you scroll down, you’ll also notice the #2 organic (non-paid) search result is also TripAdvisor.
Since 2000, TripAdvisor has collected over 760 million reviews and receive an average of 470 million unique users per month. Travellers, trip planners and tour dreamers all pour over the website for honest reviews, travel tips and hidden gems that can take their trip to another level.
Tour Operators Need TripAdvisor
As a tour operator you need to make sure that when their eyeballs are looking at things to do in your market that your company is there and has a complete profile with reviews. It all comes down to the idea of no matter how great your guides are, how unique your tour is and how well executed your marketing plan is, if you aren’t there when your guests are looking for info, it doesn’t matter.
Because TripAdvisor understands how their relationship is tied to extensive online research tied to Google they have become experts at SEO. For any travel terms on Google you would be hard pressed to find a combination of words that don’t end up with some links to TripAdvisor on the first page of search results. From direct links to specific tour options to “listicals” there is nothing wrong with riding their SEO success with your business. Use their success in SEO to give yourself the bump.
With their ubiquitous stance in the industry and as the main leader in the OTA market, tour operators need to leverage their user base and their SEO work.
How to start Leveraging TripAdvisor
The best way to piggy back off all the work and money TripAdvisor has poured in to become an online tourism leader is to sell your products on their platform with an integration through your reservation system.
Make your guest experience start off exceptional by making it easy for them to book your tour (and read about how great it is from PEOPLE THAT AREN’T YOU).
Make sure your Reservation System can connect automatically (ie: in real-time) to TripAdvisor to manage your products, inventory and automate the bookings so they flow into your centralized booking system. If you have a direct connection and channel manager like we have on Zaui, you will never overbook or manually have to transfer over the details from a booking from TripAdvisor!
The guest experience starts from the time a guest starts researching so be there with a good profile and an easy way to accept their booking. It is the easiest way to start making sure you are maximizing their experience. Your potential guests are already researching on TripAdvisor, so you need to be there too!
How to Expand your TripAdvisor Strategy (Next Steps)
We are just getting warmed up here with strategies and tools to use for TripAdvisor. In the in-depth on-demand webinar, guest speaker Chris Torres, the godfather of tourism marketing, provides tools and strategies to help you dominate your TripAdvisor listings and take your business to the next level. Watch the recording below.