Importance of TripAdvisorTwo noteworthy articles came across my desk last week. Both involved the same company and after reading each all I could say was, “Wow!” Both were about TripAdvisor and confirmed the company is becoming an indispensable part of the social fabric in the travel purchasing process.

The first article announced TripAdvisor’s fourth quarter and full year 2013 financial statement. The second is a research study of 12,000+ global travelers conducted by PhoCusWright on behalf of TripAdvisor.

These articles demonstrate not only TripAdvisor’s continued reign as the #1 travel site, but the increasing importance it has on the marketing foundation  for any hotel.

The Financial Report

TripAdvisor’s 2013 financial report shows continued growth. Here are the highlights:

  • According to Steve Kaufer, President and CEO of TripAdvisor, last year, “More than two billion unique visitors came to TripAdvisor to be inspired, to conduct research and to plan or share the details of their trip.” Two billion unique visitors!”
  • TripAdvisor remains the largest travel website in the world with 11% of the world’s monthly unique visitors.
  • TripAdvisor has more than 125 million reviews and opinions on more than 3.7 million places to stay, places to eat and things to do – including more than 775,000 hotels and accommodations
  • While TripAdvisor provides reviews on 775,000 hotels and resorts around the world, it has business listings for less than 10% of them – just 69,000.

Full year 2013 revenue was up 24% vs. 2012. Not mentioned in the report is that TripAdvisor’s stock price (TRIP) more than doubled last year.

The Research

In December 2013 PhoCusWright, a leading travel, tourism and hospitality market research firm, conducted a study of 12,225 global traveler’s use of TripAdvisor. A few highlights of their findings:

  • 67% of travelers check TripAdvisor a few times a month or more
  • 80% of travelers focus on the most recent/freshest reviews
  • 80% of travelers read at least 6 – 12 reviews before booking a hotel
  • 66% of travelers ignore extreme comments when reading reviews

The research shows TripAdvisor is incredibly important in the hotel planning and purchase process and offers 24 tips to shape your TripAdvisor strategy. A majority of travelers are deeply dependent on the opinions of others who post online reviews.

As impressive as these numbers are, they are just averages. Research among our client Caribbean luxury hotels and resorts has shown that virtually no one shows up at registration without first having read the properties’ TripAdvisor reviews.

Fortunately, many of our properties carry a 5.0 TripAdvisor rating and are ranked at the top of their destination. Furthermore, when you look at the website statistics, TripAdvisor is their #1 referring site.

The Bottom Line

Small luxury properties are not selling a hotel, but a memorable vacation experience. To succeed, there must be a high level of customer satisfaction – not just with the physical plant but with everything including the service, food and overall price. And isn’t that why people rely so heavily on TripAdvisor? The reviews and  ratings offer insights into the overall level of customer satisfaction they can expect.

So successful hotel marketing programs need great TripAdvisor reviews and rankings. But that’s only the beginning. In today’s hyper competitive environment hotels need to integrate their marketing efforts to both attract and retain profitable customers. It can be done. More on this next week.

Where does your hotel rank on TripAdvisor?

If you are not at the top, what are you doing to get there? If you are at the top, what are you doing to stay there? There are strategies you can employ and actions you can take that will get you there.

See how several hotels have succeeded in these TripAdvisor hotel case studies.


AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt
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