The TripAdvisor Toolkit for Small Businesses

Introduction Image

Introduction

It’s time to get serious about TripAdvisor.

With nearly 500 million unique monthly visitors, TripAdvisor has changed the way we dine, drink, travel and play forever.

Rather than simply relying on sheer luck or the experiences of our friends, family, or coworkers, the world’s biggest travel review site has provided us with thousands upon thousands of reviews, rankings, lists, and user-submitted photos on which to base our leisure-related decisions.

But what does all of this mean for the humble business owner? Are hoteliers, restaurateurs, and cafe owners destined to be forever at the mercy of users’ reviews?

Well, yes and no.

It’s true that TripAdvisor has given members of the public an enormous amount of authority online. But it’s also true that TripAdvisor can be an incredibly powerful tool in business owners’ hands. You just need to know how to use it.

That’s why we created this: the TripAdvisor Toolkit for Small Businesses.

Over the course of seven chapters, we’ll be exploring every aspect of TripAdvisor, walking you through the process of getting your business established on the site, sharing tips on how to climb the ranks, exploring the site’s hidden features, and much more.

Ready to get serious about TripAdvisor? Let’s go!

(And if you want a copy to read offline, click here to grab a PDF.)

Table of Contents

An Introduction to TripAdvisor

Chapter One Image

TripAdvisor is an online travel and food review site that receives almost half a billion unique visitors every month.

You’ve probably used it to help you decide which hotel to book or cafe to visit.

You might have left one or more of TripAdvisor’s 700 million reviews.

And seeing as you’re reading this guide, you might well have a business listing on TripAdvisor — or be in the process of creating one.

TripAdvisor first launched in 2000, and was intended to be a home for travel reviews from guidebooks or newspapers. But the site also had the option for visitors to leave their own reviews — and it was this feature that really proved popular. In the years since, the scope of the site has expanded to cover restaurants, cafes, flights, and holiday rentals.

Today, TripAdvisor’s influence on the travel and hospitality industries is huge.

Visibility on TripAdvisor is just as important as visibility on Google and other search engines.

Other review sites

TripAdvisor might be the most important review site for hotels, restaurants, and cafes, but it’s certainly not the only place you’ll see online reviews.

  • Facebook is probably the second-most important review platform for smaller hospitality and travel businesses. A user review might be seen by a large proportion of their network, so a single positive endorsement could reach hundreds of users. A bad review can travel even further…
  • Google reviews are also key — they’re one of the first things a potential customer will see when searching for more information about your business or service.
  • Online Travel Agent (OTA) websites like Booking.com and Expedia are important for hotels and resorts, and often host their own user reviews. Usually these are verified, so that readers can be certain they’ve been written by actual guests.

These review platforms vary significantly, both in terms of the type of reviews you can expect to see, and the amount of control you have over them.

This guide will focus exclusively on how to climb the ranks at TripAdvisor.

Why TripAdvisor is Important for Small Businesses

Chapter Two Image

Once upon a time, businesses talked and customers listened. With enough advertising clout, business owners could shape public perceptions of their brands and paint themselves in a positive light without too much trouble.

With the advent of the internet, however, all that changed. Today, members of the public have the power to make or break businesses by posting detailed, glowing, and scathing reviews of them on the web for all to see.

TripAdvisor has helped consumers all over the world make better, more informed decisions when it comes to choosing hotels, restaurants, and cafes. Before reaching for their credit cards, users will scroll through dozens of reviews so that they know what to expect.

It’s in business owners’ best interests to keep close tabs on the conversations that are being had about them online — and that counts double for small businesses.

How Reviews Influence Guests and Customers

Consumers are far savvier than they used to be. They want to be confident that their time and money will be well spent with you. Which is precisely why they turn to TripAdvisor.

With roughly 60 million registered users (plus the millions of people who browse the site but do not have accounts of their own), TripAdvisor is the first port of call for those searching for accommodation, days out, and places to eat and drink.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the larger the number of positive reviews your business has — and where your business appears in the site’s rankings — will have an enormous effect on the number of bookings you take.

But how influential could a bunch of amateur reviews really be? Insights published by TripAdvisor shed light on just that.

  • 79% of TripAdvisor users read an average of 6-12 reviews before choosing a hotel.
  • 58% will read at least 6-12 reviews before choosing a restaurant.
  • 80% of users will reference reviews before choosing an attraction to visit.

It’s not just the number of reviews a business has that TripAdvisor users are concerned with, however. How business owners respond to these reviews (the practice of which we’ll discuss in more detail later on) is also a motivating factor for many.

  • 85% of users said that a ‘thoughtful response’ to a negative review improved their perception of a hotel.
  • 65% of those surveyed agree that they are more likely to choose a hotel whose management respond to reviews over one that does not.
  • 80% of TripAdvisor users feel that hotels that respond to reviews care more about their guests.

It’s clear that both the number of guest reviews and how their owners respond to them can impact users’ decisions and influence bookings. But what would happen if you were to steer clear of the site entirely and let nature take its course, as it were?

The Risks of Ignoring TripAdvisor

Imagine if, before you headed into a big job interview, a random selection of people you’d met over the years were invited to share their opinions of you with the interviewer.

The things they say about you might be positive, negative, or somewhere in between, but you’ll have no way of knowing. If someone outright slanders you, you’ll have no opportunity to refute it or attempt to clear your name.

This is a purely hypothetical situation, of course, and no employer in their right mind would do such a thing. But if you aren’t keeping close tabs on what people are saying about your business on TripAdvisor, then you’re effectively giving the general public free rein to determine your business’ reputation.

Remember: TripAdvisor isn’t a marketing tool for your business: it’s a tool for individuals to use to plan where they’ll stay, what they’ll do, and where they’ll eat.

Therefore, opting out of TripAdvisor doesn’t make it go away. TripAdvisor won’t remove your listing just because you don’t want your business on their site.

If you don’t like TripAdvisor, your only chance to gain control over your listing is to claim and manage it — not ignore it.

How to Set Up and Manage Your TripAdvisor Listing

Chapter Three Image

So, TripAdvisor matters. And gaining control over your profile is essential.

In this section, we’ll run through the practicalities of setting up, claiming, and managing your TripAdvisor profile.

If you already have access to your TripAdvisor listing, skip ahead to the next subsection - Keeping Your Listing Up to Date.

Adding Your Business to TripAdvisor

If your business is new or isn’t listed on TripAdvisor, you’ll need to add it to the site. This requires filling in an online form with information about your business, and details on you, the page owner. Providing you have all the info you need on-hand, this’ll only take you 5-10 minutes to complete.

You’ll then need to verify your connection to the business. Usually this is done through a text or phone call, or using a credit card.

You should then have access to the TripAdvisor Management Centre where you can edit and manage your listing.

manage your TripAdvisor listing flowchart

Claiming Your Listing

If you’re the new owner of the business, or simply taking over TripAdvisor management duties from someone else, you’ll need to claim the listing.

To do this, first create a user account on TripAdvisor. Next, search for the existing listing, scroll to the end of the page to where it says ‘Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?’, and click Claim Your Listing. Follow the on-screen instructions, then go through the verification process.

Populating Your Listing

When you’ve successfully verified your link to your business, you can now start to populate it with content and make adjustments to the information already in place. Your first step should be to add plenty of high quality photos to your page.

These ‘management photos’ give you the opportunity to showcase the best of your establishment. There’s no limit on the number of photos you can upload, so we recommend adding plenty, particularly if there aren’t many visitor photos on your page. See below for on an example of a listing's management photos.

tripadvisor management photos example

You can select one of your photos to act as a ‘primary photo’ that’s displayed prominently on your listing. Be sure to choose a photo that appeals to your target market and shows off one of the best features of your establishment or menu.

Don’t forget about the other elements of your listing, either. Make sure your business’s description appeals to your target market and feature a couple of important keywords. Add opening times, your website address, and populate any other fields you can, to give potential visitors as much information as possible.

Keeping Your Listing Up-to-Date

One of the most easily avoidable types of negative TripAdvisor reviews are those caused by incorrect information. Many visitors to TripAdvisor will take note of the opening times listed on the page and, quite rightly, expect them to be accurate.

If they're wrong however...

Can't comment on food as we turned up at 8.15 on a Wednesday and on the intercom they advised the restaurant is closed. The reason I am leaving a bad review in relation to this is because of the times noted on here.[...] Since I can't trust the opening times on here we won't be visiting again any time soon.

My friend and I travelled into town especially to go to this deli as it has such lovely reviews. It said the opening times were 10am-2pm on Sunday but it was closed when we arrived. No sign indicating why. Not sure if this is the deli or TripAdvisor advertising wrong time but we were really disappointed as it looked nice.

The above are real quotes from two-star TripAdvisor reviews.

All you need to do to avoid this is to take the time to update your TripAdvisor listing whenever your opening times change. If there’s a new menu or your rooms are refurbished, add new photos and remove the outdated ones.

It only takes seconds to update your listing — there’s no excuse not to!

Understanding TripAdvisor Rankings

part four header

As all hotel and restaurant managers know, a well-optimised TripAdvisor profile counts for nothing if no one visits it. If you want your business listing to get clicks in TripAdvisor, climbing the ranks is the best way to go about it.

Of course, not every establishment can reach the top spot. And we’re not going to pretend that it’s easy to get there, or get close.

However, by understanding how TripAdvisor’s algorithm works, even the smallest business can start to make significant gains in the TripAdvisor rankings.

The Popularity Ranking Algorithm and Your TripAdvisor Rating

When we talk about TripAdvisor rankings, we’re referring to the ranking of an establishment within its local area or city.

example of TripAdvisor ranking

For example, Los Moros is currently the highest ranked restaurant in York. Depending on the nature of your business, you might be more concerned about your ranking in a smaller subset of businesses, such as York breakfast restaurants, or romantic Italian restaurants in York.

Broadly speaking, a high ranking in a main location category translates into high rankings in relevant subcategories — so everything we discuss here applies across the board.

You’ve probably noticed that some businesses rank more highly than you even if they have a lower average ‘bubble rating’ (TripAdvisor’s equivalent of star ratings) on TripAdvisor. That’s because there are several other factors that determine your ranking — not just your average rating.

There are three main factors you need to know about: review recency, quantity and quality.

Recency, Quantity and Quality

Let's look at each of these variables in turn.

  1. Quality. The higher the average review rating, the higher you’ll rank on TripAdvisor, all else being equal. This one’s common sense.
  2. Quantity. The more reviews, the higher the TripAdvisor ranking — up to a point. The algorithm favours establishments with plenty of reviews because the higher sample size means that reviews are more likely to reflect the reality of visiting your establishment.
  3. Recency. More recent reviews are given greater weight than older reviews. A review from within the last month is more likely to represent the current experience at your business than a review from two or three years ago.

To sum up: you should not only aim for good reviews on TripAdvisor, but also boosting the number of reviews you receive. This’ll help you out with both recency and quantity, assuming you can keep reviews coming in for months and years to come.

Remember: rankings update daily.

Other ranking factors

TripAdvisor haven’t disclosed all the factors that contribute to the ranking algorithm, but there is one other variable that we know makes a difference, and that’s fraudulent activity. If TripAdvisor has found evidence of reviews that break its rules, a penalty may be applied to the establishment’s ranking. The magnitude of rankings penalties are determined on a case-by-case basis.

As for other ranking factors: we don’t know. There’s some speculation that review length, the reviewer’s reputation, and traffic could all play a part, but there’s no way of knowing!

TripAdvisor's 2016 Algorithm Change

The biggest change to TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm came in 2016, when the site made a tweak designed to reduce ‘fast risers’ — new properties that had a handful of excellent recent reviews that would quickly outrank established businesses, before gradually settling into a lower, more accurate rank.

The change to the algorithm essentially increased the importance of quantity and consistency of reviews when determining ranking, so that rankings tend to be more stable and accurate overall.

TripAdvisor rarely publicly announce algorithm changes, so the 2016 change was particularly significant.

How to Get More TripAdvisor Reviews

chapter5 header

Improving your TripAdvisor rating is all about providing your guests with an exceptional experience, but as we’ve seen, high review scores aren’t all you need to worry about.

We’re assuming that you’re already doing everything you can to provide that aforementioned exceptional experience.

But you might not be attending to the other two pillars of the TripAdvisor algorithm: recency and quantity of reviews.

For small businesses in particular, gaining more reviews on a consistent basis could be the key to climbing the TripAdvisor rankings.

Ask

In many cases it’s as simple as politely asking guests if they’ll leave you a review on TripAdvisor. This approach can be particularly successful for small businesses that have plenty of regulars who might not otherwise think to leave reviews.

When asking for reviews, getting your timing right is crucial. After their meal or when they’re checking out, ask your guests if they enjoyed their meal or stay. This query gives guests another opportunity to raise any issues they’ve had, instead of doing so in a negative TripAdvisor review!

Whenever guests reply positively to this question, you can then follow up by asking if they’d write a TripAdvisor review of their experience.

Cards, Brochures, and Other Prompts

Visual prompts can also help you gain more reviews. Place the TripAdvisor logo along with a review prompt in places such as:

  • On business cards in guest information packs
  • On leaflets presented alongside the bill or a receipt
  • On a blackboard within your restaurant or cafe
  • At the point of sale

There’s one main rule here: don’t go overboard, or you’ll look desperate for reviews!

Follow-Up Emails

Sending out follow-up emails to guests is standard for chain hotels, and where stays are booked through OTAs. Smaller businesses with plenty of direct bookings should also send out follow-up emails (assuming you collect guest email addresses).

You can send these emails through marketing software like MailChimp (or TripAdvisor’s own Review Express tool), or your usual email client (Gmail, Outlook etc.). If there’s a huge volume of emails you need to send, you can use a spreadsheet of guest information and merge this data with your email client, so that you don’t need to enter every address manually.

If you only want to send a few emails out each day, we recommend starting with a template and personalising much more than just your greeting. Mention something you discussed during their stay, or ask them about their journey back. End by politely requesting a review on TripAdvisor.

This tip mainly applies to hotels, but if you collect email addresses through your restaurant’s booking software, you could also use this approach.

Provide an Exceptional Experience

The best way to get more reviews is to provide an experience that’s worth talking about. By offering exceptional customer service and surprising and delighting your guests, they’ll be far more likely to leave reviews.

Responding to Negative Reviews

chapter6 responding to negative reviews

You can’t dictate what people write about you online, but you should be aware of what they do. You should also be responding to reviews individually — especially if they’re downright scathing.

Without paying close attention to TripAdvisor reviews, you might also be passing up an opportunity to catch potential problems before they start to significantly impact your business.

If two or three people mention in their reviews that a particular table in your cafe or restaurant is draughty, for example, or several people who stayed in a certain room in your guest house noted that traffic noise kept them awake at night, then you have an opportunity to remedy the situation.

Failing to keep tabs on your business’ TripAdvisor listing means missing out on all of this valuable feedback.

Read, respond, and react to what your customers are saying about you online. If you don’t, not only are you allowing others to dictate the tone of the conversation, but you’re missing out on opportunities to improve.

Why a Response is Always Preferable to No Response

Sometimes a company’s response to a negative review can do more harm than good. There’s always a chance that things could escalate, and social media and even the press could pick up on your virtual argument — so that you’re left wishing you’d never responded at all.

But in almost every instance, a review response is preferable to no response.

If you don’t respond to a negative review, your customers will likely surmise that one of the following three things is true:

  1. The negative review is completely accurate and they should avoid your business at all costs.
  2. The negative review is false (or at least greatly exaggerated), but you don’t care enough about your business’ reputation, so ignored it.
  3. You’re either too lazy to respond or some kind of technophobe luddite and who has no idea what TripAdvisor even is.

And there’s plenty to gain from responding, too.

  1. The chance to clear up any misunderstandings, so that anyone who sees the review is accurately informed.
  2. The opportunity to potentially win back their custom by offering them an apology and an incentive to return (where appropriate).
  3. A chance to impress potential customers with a professional and thorough response to a poor review.

Of course, the success of your response will depend on many factors — not all of them within your control — but the wording of your response is down to you.

Dos and Don'ts

We can’t craft your response to a poor review for you, but there are some general rules that it’s a good idea to follow.

Do: Get the full story

Speak to your staff and find out exactly what happened during the guest’s visit. Find out if there were any circumstances (staffing issues, supplier problems) that led to the issues described in the review. By taking this approach, you’ll better understand what went wrong and if and how your establishment was to blame.

Don’t: Give excuses

Reviewers don’t want to hear excuses for their poor experience. By all means explain why problems occured, but follow this up with an explanation of what you’ll do to avoidthe same situation in the future — and stay true to your word.

Do: Accept responsibility for what went wrong

Don’t try to blame other parties for the problems guests experienced. From their point of view, they’re not interested in what wrong behind the scenes — they’re only concerned with the end result — the service you provide.

Don’t: Shut the door to further communication

TripAdvisor allows only one response to a review, so it’s important to open up another avenue of communication at the end of your response, where appropriate. Leave an email address or a phone number — just make sure you choose one that you don’t mind the public seeing.

Do: Respond when you’re calm, not angry

As much as you dislike seeing your business torn apart in a public space, responding to reviews when you’re upset isn’t a smart idea. Wait until you’ve calmed down and gathered all the facts before formulating a response to a negative review. Once you’ve written it, take a quick break and re-read it before clicking that button.

Examples of Review Responses

Here are a few management responses on TripAdvisor we’ve seen. First, over the page, a highly professional response from a high-end restaurant in RotaCloud's home city of York. This response was to a three-star review which you can read in full at this link.

We've edited these review responses slightly for clarity.

Many thanks for your review, we appreciate all feedback given to us and appreciate you taking the time to give us your thoughts. As I am sure you will appreciate, the empty seats in the restaurant when you dined are not something we choose to have. We would very much love the restaurant to be full every night, however the popularity of the night is a little out of our control I am afraid.

We will admit that it is easier for our kitchen when tables are a little closer together, hence our inviting you to arrive earlier only if you wished to, although that was never meant to imply you could not have kept your reservation and dined with us at the orginal time. The 'other couple' on the evening were slower eaters than yourselves, and thus came in line with the same stage in the tasting menu as yourselves after some time.

I am very sorry you felt rushed through, I can assure you that we did not want to rush you and do not get out significantly earlier on quiet nights due to the length of our tasting menu. Our kitchen team only start cooking the next dish when the previous has been cleared and we are very compliant in giving diners an extra break between their courses whenever they should ask for it.

We are still very curious to hear your review of the food so welcome your feedback if you could take the time to email us.

We do very much hope that this will not put you off joining us again at another date, we are fully booked every Friday and Saturday night with a fantastic atmopshere.

In particular, this response shows a good balance between explaining the reasons for the reviewer’s poor experience and also taking responsibility for what went wrong. The language is clear and professional, and ends on a positive note.

Room for improvement

Next up is a response to a two-star review for a popular independent restaurant in York. This response ticks some boxes, but falls short in other ways.

Apologies for the late reply to your review.

Sorry to hear that your experience wasn't up to your expectations. Very happy you enjoyed the nachos, they are a favourite.

On the night you were in, as was explained to you, our ordering system decided to sporadically send some orders but not others to the kitchen, meaning that the staff didn't realise until some time had passed. This resulted in late orders of other guests as well as yourself which in turn created a rush and backlog for the kitchen. We apologise again for that as we did on the night by deducting drinks from the bill without prompt.

Regarding dish assembly, yes, dishes are assembled as in any restaurant, as you ordered the 48hr brisket it would have been a rather longer wait if it was cooked 'fresh' for your order and would've required a sleeping bag! And in respect of the chips, the reason they are pale is because they are hand cut each day then fried in clean oil — this is actually how fresh chips should look!

The cornbread at the time you were in was still being developed as it is cooked in house daily, so if it was not to your liking, we apologise. The meat being tasteless is a matter of taste, we take you at your word and everybody has different tastes.

We would love you to come back and try us again sometime and would be sure that the negative aspects of your experience would not be repeated.

While the restaurant provided explanations for what went wrong, the language used feels quite defensive in places, perhaps even a bit patronising. Even if the customer should’ve realised that the 48-hour brisket wasn’t cooked to order, the responder could have used a more conciliatory tone when explaining why their food was ‘assembled’ instead of cooked fresh.

Copy-paste

Chain restaurants sometimes assign employees from head office to respond to reviews and complaints, instead of managers of each particular branch. This approach usually results in dangerously impersonal responses as seen in this example at the York station branch of the West Cornwall Pasty Company. The original one-star review called the establishment a 'health hazard' and 'disgusting'.

Good afternoon, we are very sorry that you did not enjoy your visit to our York store and appreciate your valued feedback. Please contact us via info@westcornwallpasty.co.uk if you would like to provide further information. We'd love to hear from you and have the opportunity to make it up to you.

Sure, the response is professional and the company provides a route for the reviewer to communicate further with them, but it’s clearly a template that hasn’t been customised based on the reviewer’s complaint. To anyone else reading the review and response, they’ll assume the company didn’t take any steps to resolve the reviewer’s problem — instead trying to buy them off with a freebie or discount.

What not to do

Finally, there’s this one-star review response from a chippy in Northumberland, which specialises in rather interesting TripAdvisor review responses. The original review was less-than complimentary about the food!

If none of your chips were edible and you were down at the harbour, then you were literally one minute's walk from the restaurant. Any normal person would have come back into the shop to complain, but you didn't do that. Instead we are supposed to believe that you meekly went home and wrote about it on TripAdvisor. We would never serve food items that were poor quality and when something doesn't sound right it's usually because it's not true. We think you are a fake and a liar.

Don't do this.

How do I respond to negative reviews that clearly haven't been written by a customer?

You’ve probably read reviews that don’t seem legitimate. Maybe they slated a dish that hasn’t been on your menu for years, or described a member of staff that doesn’t match any of your current or recent employees.

You can report these reviews to TripAdvisor by clicking the flag icon in the lower-right corner of each review, but there’s no guarantee that TripAdvisor will remove them. If the review isn’t removed, you may wish to respond, writing that some of their facts don’t add up. Stay polite, and explain clearly why you think they aren’t a legitimate customer. Other users browsing your negative reviews will form their own opinion based on the review and its response.

What about responding to positive or neutral reviews?

By all means respond to positive reviews if you have the time to do so — but remember that there’s much less to gain by responding to positive reviews than negative reviews.

Acknowledging praise can quickly become a little awkward, repetitive, and robotic, so do your best to personalise your messages, or switch out who responds to reviews.

TripAdvisor's Extra Features

chapter7 extra features header

Aside from user reviews and listings, TripAdvisor offers a range of other services to businesses, both free and paid for. These added extras aim to improve your company’s success rate on TripAdvisor and beyond.

While none of these extra services directly impact your TripAdvisor rating or ranking,they’re worth investigating if TripAdvisor is an important platform for your business.

Review Express

Who's it for? Hotels and other accommodation providers, attractions, some restaurants.

Free or paid? Free.

What does it help with? Gaining reviews from guests.

This email marketing tool lets you send emails asking for TripAdvisor reviews to multiple former guests at the same time. You can add your own photo, text, and subject line, or stick with default template, which is available in 30 languages. The tool filters out email addresses that are already associated with recent reviews of your establishment, so there’s no chance you’ll email someone who’s already left a review.

TripAdvisor claims Review Express is more effective than other email marketing tools or sending out your own follow-up emails because TripAdvisor’s branding features on the emails, and business owners also have access to reports and analytics.

To automatically send out follow-up emails via Review Express, you’ll need to use software provided by one of TripAdvisor’s connectivity partners.

Instant Booking

Who's it for? Hotels and other accommodation providers.

Free or paid? Paid.

What does it help with? Securing bookings.

Instant Booking lets TripAdvisor users book hotel stays through TripAdvisor without having to leave the site. Availability and room information is pulled through from your connectivity partner, so there’s no need to manage another channel.

Once Instant Booking is implemented, visitors to your TripAdvisor listing will see a ‘Book Now’ button instead of the usual ‘View Deal’ button 25% or 50% of the time, depending on the commission rate you opt for.

Commission is charged at 12% (for visitors to see Book Now 25% of the time), or 15% (for 50% visibility), but only when the stay is completed. You also retain access to email addresses and other personal guest data for stays booked through TripAdvisor.

Of course, Instant Booking won’t be the right answer for every accommodation provider — that’ll depend on the software you use and whether or not you want to focus onboosting direct bookings.

Restaurant Premium

Who's it for? Restaurants and cafes.

Free or paid? Paid.

What does it help with? Making your TripAdvisor profile more appealing to potential guests.

Standard TripAdvisor profiles don’t allow for much in the way of customisation, short of adding some photos and changing your establishment’s description. Restaurant Premium unlocks more options for owners, including:

  • Highlight a favourite review which will appear in the second review space on your page
  • Create storyboards that combine your best photos and reviews in one promotional presentation on your page
  • Add ‘Top 3 Reasons to Eat Here’ to your page, which combines photos and review snippets (or your own descriptions) to highlight your restaurant’s top selling points
  • Access additional data and insights relating to your TripAdvisor page.
  • A new dashboard for managers of multiple restaurants to respond to reviews and track performance

Your restaurant’s TripAdvisor ranking is not affected by Restaurant Premium.

As for the cost of Restaurant Premium, that’ll depend on the number of users who visit your TripAdvisor page, as well as your location and several other variables. You can see the pricing for your establishment here.

Business Advantage

Who's it for? Hotels and other accommodation providers

Free or paid? Paid.

What does it help with? Making your TripAdvisor profile more appealing to potential guests.

Business Advantage is directly comparable with Restaurant Premium — it gives you more tools to tinker with your TripAdvisor page, at a cost. There are two tiers of pricing: Standard Access, and Preferred Access. You'll need the latter in order to unlock all of the below features.

Features include:

  • More media options, including a storyboard (combining photos and reviews in a visual presentation), the ability to highlight favourite photos, set a cover photo, and upload videos of your property
  • Choose a favourite review to feature in the second review spot on your page
  • Share exclusive special offers on your TripAdvisor page
  • Share announcements (news, improvements, events and so on) prominently on your TripAdvisor page
  • Add more contact info to your page, including mobile click-to-call functionality
  • Access to detailed analytics, including how your page is faring compared with those of your competitors

Pricing varies depending on your hotel’s size, location, and TripAdvisor traffic.

Sponsored Placements and TripAdvisor Ads

Who's it for? Hotels and restaurants

Free or paid? Paid.

What does it help with? Giving your establishment improved visibility on TripAdvisor

If you want to rank higher on TripAdvisor, perhaps the only shortcut available to you is to pay for a higher placement. This is essentially what Sponsored Placements (for hotels)and TripAdvisor Ads (for restaurants) achieve, but with some limitations.

Your listing will be given preferential treatment in TripAdvisor’s search results, and, in the case of hotels, will appear on your competitors’ pages (under the ‘Nearby Hotels’ section). You only pay for the clicks you receive (ie. when a user clicks on your sponsored placement), and can cancel your ad campaign at any time.

While all this sounds promising, there are a couple of caveats. First, a prominent ‘Sponsored’ label will be shown next to your listing’s preview when its ranking has been boosted. Second, even if you have a poor ‘bubble’ rating, it’ll still be shown in your TripAdvisor ad. Finally, once a user clicks through to your page, they could easily be put off by poor recent reviews — and you’ll still need to pay for the click.

Pricing varies significantly depending on the locations and categories you’re targeting.Sponsored Placements could be worth a look if you’re a new establishment with a high review quality, but low review quantity, or if you’re looking to draw customers away from specific competitors.

In Closing

Not many restaurateurs and hoteliers enjoy dealing with TripAdvisor and its effects. Many would rather it didn’t exist at all! But the reality is that TripAdvisor does exist, and your business is on it.

If you can identify whether it’s the quality, quantity, or recency of reviews that’s holding you back, you can start working towards a solution.

The odds can be against you as a small business, but by tweaking your TripAdvisor strategy and focusing on providing an exceptional service to customers, you can soon start to climb the ranks — and perhaps even win an award from TripAdvisor themselves.

About RotaCloud

RotaCloud is online rota planning software for SMEs, designed to make managing and communicating staff schedules a breeze. Ditch the clunky spreadsheet-based rota for easy-to-use specialist software to manage shift swaps, leave requests, and employee availability all in one place.

With RotaCloud's Time and Attendance add-on, track actual hours worked against scheduled hours. Monitor patterns in absence and lateness, prepare payroll, and automatically generate timesheets based on clocking in data.

Ready to get started?

Start your trial