TripAdvisor Success Stories
Businesses listed on TripAdvisor share tips and best practices.
Success Story: A Jaipur Hotel Uses TripAdvisor to Drive Inbound Marketing Learn how the Royal Heritage Haveli attracts travelers with Sponsored Placements and converts them with Business Advantage. The Royal Heritage Haveli is a small family-owned boutique hotel that won the Travelers’ Choice award for multiple years in Jaipur, India. See how Shambhavi Singh, the Haveli Director, uses TripAdvisor as an instrumental part of her inbound marketing strategy. Challenge: Maximizing the busy season
Singh strives to get as many travelers to book as possible during the busy season. "Our busy season is short so it's crucial that we make the most of it. It's hard to fill rooms during the off-season because it's very hot in Jaipur," says Singh.
Many other local accommodations providers are pursuing a similar strategy. "It's challenging to stand out among our competitors in Jaipur. We're a small business that competes with well-known hotels for a limited number of travelers who visit during the busy season. So, we need to differentiate ourselves from properties similar to ours," she says.Solution: Using TripAdvisor to drive inbound marketing "To address this challenge, I use inbound marketing to attract, convert, close, and delight guests, and TripAdvisor is crucial to my strategy," Singh says. "Inbound marketing creates awareness among travelers, and it builds trust and credibility for the Haveli."...
How a New Lisbon Hotel Is Succeeding on TripAdvisor Corpo Santo built a strong online reputation and amplified that success with TripAdvisor Business Advantage and Sponsored Placements. Corpo Santo Hotel is an independently-owned historic hotel that became a top Traveler Ranked property in Lisbon after opening in 2017. We caught up with General Manager Pedro Pinto to learn about his strategies for success. Building a strong online reputation
Building a great online reputation starts with providing great service. To achieve this, Pinto has invested in staff and constant improvements: "Our strategy is to provide exceptional service and delight guests with new things. Great staff is key so we're careful about who we hire and regularly communicate the feedback we receive," says Pinto.
He then encourages guests to share their experiences with other travelers on TripAdvisor. "We work to outperform ourselves instead of our competitors, always focusing on service and reviews. It's not only about providing a quality experience, but also a commitment to using TripAdvisor to get the word out about Corpo Santo," he shares.
Through a commitment to building Corpo Santo's online reputation with guest reviews on TripAdvisor, Pinto has been able to attract guests — and he continues the cycle with fresh review content. "We encourage guests to write reviews with Review Express," Pinto says. "Guests love our hotel so they're keen to share their experiences — for many, it's even their first review. People who read these reviews arrive excited to stay at our hotel and are then inspired to write us a review after their stay."
Pinto also uses Management Responses to make a lasting impression on past guests and influence potential guests to choose his hotel. "Collecting reviews doesn't guarantee success. We respond to reviews, personalizing our responses and thanking guests," says Pinto. "We also show how we're incorporating feedback to improve. For example, we replaced windows that let in too much noise and then contacted each guest who mentioned the noise to let them know the enhancements we made based on their feedback."Capitalizing on success with Business Advantage and Sponsored Placements
"With all of our reputation management activity, we've been climbing the Popularity Ranking for Lisbon. We saw from our analytics that 40% of our traffic was coming from TripAdvisor. We wanted to grow our traffic and get more guests so I purchased Business Advantage and Sponsored Placements," says Pinto.
Using Business Advantage and Sponsored Placements together helps Pinto amplify Corpo Santo's presence on TripAdvisor. And the results exceed what he had hoped for. "It’s like winning the lottery. The traffic to our website has grown by 500% with both products. Sponsored Placements has expanded our reach — we've received roughly 69,000 impressions in 6 months with the ads and gotten more clicks to our property listing," Pinto explains. “And thanks to Business Advantage, our direct bookings have increased — and we're achieving a 90% occupancy rate."...
How an Independent Hotel Chain in Europe Increased Direct Bookings by 150% Central Hotel and Forum Hotel in Bulgaria drive more traffic to their websites with TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements. Background Travelers' Choice winner Central Hotel and Certificate of Excellence holder Forum Hotel are jointly-owned independent boutique hotels in Sofia, Bulgaria. Hear how Zhivko Zhelyazkov, Hotel Manager, has increased direct bookings at both properties with TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements. Challenge Because fewer travelers visit Sofia in the winter, demand for Central and Forum Hotels is much lighter. As Zhelyazkov notes, "January and February are difficult months, and we are very focused on driving more direct reservations during that period." Solution...
Case Study: Derby Hotels Collection Boosts Bookings by 25% with Sponsored Placements How the Derby Hotels Collection maximizes visibility with TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements to compete effectively in a challenging market. The Derby Hotels Collection is a family-owned, 14-property hotel chain based primarily in Barcelona. We recently caught up with David Martinez i Urgell, who leads the group’s Digital marketing and eCommerce strategy, to learn how he leveraged TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements to compete more effectively in a challenging market: Challenge: Competition for Fewer Travelers Tourism in Barcelona, Derby’s primary market, is expected to decline in 2018, particularly during the low season. Anticipating this downturn in travel, Martinez knew he needed something different to compete with larger hotel chains for fewer travelers. "We knew it was going to be a hard season because of the difficult economic situation in the market," Martinez says. "We also know most travelers don't know about our hotels until they start searching a specific location and discover us through TripAdvisor or OTAs."...
How Kings Inn Uses TripAdvisor to Reduce Reliance on OTAs Kings Inn increases traffic with TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements and drives conversions with Business Advantage. Kings Inn operates affordable and family-friendly properties in San Diego and Anaheim, California. We chatted with Richard Espinoza, Director of Sales and Marketing, to find out how he's driving more traffic and conversions by leveraging each properties' presence on TripAdvisor. The value of TripAdvisor "Of all the things that lead guests to my door, TripAdvisor and our website are the main sources," says Espinoza. "We get an amazing amount of traffic from TripAdvisor compared to social media, search engines, and OTAs." He continues, "The number one value of TripAdvisor is that those guests really know who we are. They choose us after they have shopped and considered many options. When they arrive, they have high expectations and are prepared to love our property and services. TripAdvisor is a guest pre-qualifier."...
How This Sorrento Hotel Increased Direct Bookings by 20% in 40 Days Grand Hotel Aminta Owner, General Manager and Marketing Strategist Gianfranco Acampora shares top tips for marketing his Sorrento boutique hotel
We recently spoke with leading hotelier and marketing expert Gianfranco Acampora, Owner and General Manager of the Grand Hotel Aminta in Sorrento, Italy — who shared these important insights into digital marketing best practices for hotels:
Can you tell us about the Grand Hotel Aminta and your role at the property?
The Grand Hotel Aminta is one of the largest hotels in Sorrento, set on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Naples with a commanding view of the city. Today, my brother and I divide management of the hotel’s operations. I’m focused on the Sales, Marketing and Guest Registration aspects of the business.
Can you provide more details on the seasonality and customer demand for the Aminta?
The Aminta is one of the only hotels in the area that’s open year-round, but it’s really a summer resort. Busy season is April to October, and low season is November to mid-March — with the exception of New Years’, thanks to the amazing fireworks display here in Sorrento.
Today, the vast majority of our customers come from the United Kingdom. We also work with a lot of Americans and Canadians.
You’ve been marketing your hotel online for many years. Can you tell us more about your strategy and how it’s evolved over time?
I’ve always been very interested in digital marketing — it’s not only my job, but also my hobby and passion. We were the first property in Sorrento to launch a website back in 1995, and the hotel has always done well in organic search. As others have started to move online, we’ve tried different things to maintain our competitive advantage like advertising with search engines and OTAs.
We quickly found that it’s quite hard to reach our target customers with search engine ads. There’s too many competitors bidding on top keywords and it’s really hard to be ranked first. However, TripAdvisor’s often among the top organic search results for those terms. Plus, guests often tell us that they actually found us on TripAdvisor. So, we evolved our strategy to be very focused on marketing on that site.
Can you say more about the searching behavior of your guests?
Sure, so we were bidding on search terms like “Sorrento Hotel with Pool.” Guests today tell us they usually do an initial query on a search engine for a term like “Sorrento Hotels,” but then there are just too many search results that are difficult to sort through. They quickly find TripAdvisor and use the site to do more specific research to find a property that meets their needs. Effectively, TripAdvisor becomes the search engine that’s used within a destination that guests use to find hotels, restaurants, etc.
What’s your strategy for working with TripAdvisor, specifically?
TripAdvisor is currently our most effective marketing tool. For example, with the new Sponsored Placements, the Aminta can appear above search results for Sorrento. That’s been so important for us. The ad drives traffic to us and people are able to contact us directly via our Business Advantage links. I’ve found it’s saving me commission costs because people are contacting us directly or booking on our website.
How has Sponsored Placements performed for you?
We’ve been very happy with the product. We continue to test it, but so far we’ve seen a 20% increase in direct bookings in 40 days. The tool is fantastic, is really easy to use, and the cost is minimal relative to the return on investment we’re seeing. Customers from this channel also seem to be quite valuable — they’re booking longer stays and above average room types.
What will your strategy be for using Sponsored Placements moving forward?
There are three budget options for Sponsored Placements. During the busy season - when our property is full - we’ll probably scale back to the lower budget option, but still run a campaign. It’s important to always maintain visibility for future bookings. Through the rest of the year — particularly in January and February as people start to plan for the summer — we’ll use one of the higher budget options to drive more traffic to our property.
What would you say to other hoteliers who are considering Sponsored Placements?
It’s definitely something you should try. The tool is easy to use … there are no keywords to choose or bids to set. Just choose what you want to spend on a daily basis, set it up and forget it.Last Updated: February 22, 2018
Dubrovnik Hotel Uses TripAdvisor to Drive Visibility & Bookings How Berkeley Hotel & Spa uses Sponsored Placements to stand out in a highly competitive market.
Berkeley Hotel & Spa is a 24-room, family-owned hotel in Dubrovnik, Croatia. General Manager Katarina Elez has been focused on building Berkeley’s online presence to encourage more travelers to book directly on the property’s website. Read on to learn how she’s crafted a successful online marketing strategy:
A TripAdvisor Focus
When Berkeley Hotel first opened, Elez quickly determined that she needed to focus her marketing efforts online, particularly on TripAdvisor. "We were one of the first hotels in Dubrovnik on TripAdvisor, since our opening in 2007," she explains. "We’ve always used TripAdvisor extensively, and it’s one of the best things that could have ever happened for our business."
This commitment to online marketing via TripAdvisor continues to benefit Berkeley Hotel, even today. Elez says, "We’ve been able to increase our visibility to travelers searching our destination because we’ve had a strong, consistent presence on TripAdvisor from the start. We have always been among the top 15 properties in Dubrovnik."
Maximizing Visibility to Travelers
As a small 3-star hotel in a city dominated by 5-star hotels with larger marketing budgets, Elez has to be smart with her marketing investments in order to maximize visibility.
"Our guests are coming to us from huge markets like the UK, US and Australia," says Elez. "With our budget, we’ve found it’s really difficult to use tools like AdWords to reach and influence these travelers."
Elez recently invested in an enhanced website that is closely integrated with her channel manager. This allows her to track all of her booking sources — and evaluate what’s driving them. After experimenting with various marketing tools, Elez has found success by leveraging Berkeley Hotel’s already strong presence on TripAdvisor.
In January, Elez upgraded Berkeley Hotel to a Business Advantage Preferred Access subscription because she was looking for a way to increase booking referrals to her website.
"We’ve just finished a renovation and will use the Preferred Access features—like Storyboard and Favorite Photos—to show off these enhancements to travelers," Elez says.
She also uses the Special Offers feature to gauge Business Advantage’s impact on her bookings.
"We post a TripAdvisor exclusive offer and carefully track how it comes back to us. We found that people who booked through our website mention it, and it shows up on bookings from OTAs as well, so we know that travelers went to our TripAdvisor page at some stage."
Once Business Advantage was in place, Berkeley Hotel started using TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements. Elez says, "We know TripAdvisor guests are more confident and more likely to book directly. So, our goal is to use Sponsored Placements to get more guests to book directly on our website, and increase occupancy and ADR during the high season."
Given that Dubrovnik is one of the world’s most seasonal markets, she also thought that Sponsored Placements would drive even more traffic ahead of the high season. As there’s limited demand during low season, Berkeley can’t make up for missed opportunities.
"As guests get closer to booking, they become more price sensitive. Boosting our visibility creates opportunities to influence guests to choose our 3-star property, since our prices are lower than those of the 5-star properties that dominate Dubrovnik."
"It’s definitely cost effective to pay for the Sponsored Placements clicks and have guests book directly with us," says Elez. "We like that our ad appears at the top of the list. Repetition is important, especially given the shopping patterns in our market. Even if they don’t click right now, more people will remember us as an option. Then, when they do click, they’re more likely to book."
Elez plans to continue leveraging Sponsored Placements as a key part of her online marketing strategy. "We take a long-term view on our investments. We’ll continue to track the number of clicks, website traffic and confirmed number of direct bookings from Sponsored Placements over the next six months. So far, our bookings for this season have been quite strong," says Elez.Last Updated: March 12, 2018
How This Bangkok Hotel Tripled Its Clicks in a Month Best practices for marketing on TripAdvisor from a boutique hotel in Bangkok.
The 32-room Bangkok Loft Inn is a 7-time TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winning boutique hotel, with a "cozy atmosphere and contemporary style" in the Thonburi section of Thailand’s capital city. It’s currently listed as #10 on the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice list of Best Bargain Hotels in Thailand.
Recently, Marketing Manager Kantapong Tanachotevorapong shared some of the property’s strategies for success, which include a strong commitment to guest service, increasing visibility through online solutions like TripAdvisor and use of Sponsored Placements to drive traffic and occupancy.
A Commitment to Guest Service
"We focus on providing the best possible experience for our guests," says Tanachotevorapong, who is responsible for the hotel’s marketing strategy. "We believe this will motivate them to come back to us - again and again."
As of February 2018, 94% of the property’s 1500+ reviews are "Very Good" or "Excellent," reflecting this strong commitment to guest service. Reviews consistently mention the welcoming and helpful staff and that the team is always smiling, friendly and willing to jump right in if there’s a problem that needs solving.
Tanachotevorapong indicates that this commitment to service influences future bookings. He says, "Guests often book with us initially via one of our OTA partners. However, once they’ve stayed with us - and gotten to know our staff - they tend to book through our direct channels for future trips."
Gaining Visibility with TripAdvisor & Other Online Resources
Bangkok Loft Inn has partnered with TripAdvisor for several years and has been a Business Advantage subscriber since 2012.
"We were one of the first hotels in Bangkok to really use online solutions to build our business. A big part of that has been working with TripAdvisor. Today, most of our guests find us on TripAdvisor," says Tanachotevorapong. "We heavily promote our awards, and offer competitive pricing, so we get a lot of visibility on the site."
Despite that success, Bangkok Loft Inn is facing a challenging marketplace with lots of new market entrants, particularly larger chain properties.
"Those new hotels are also very invested in online marketing. We’re finding it’s increasingly more difficult to stand out from the crowd in our online channels," explains Tanachotevorapong. "To help drive occupancy from our target market, we’re trying lots of new things this year, including focusing on both social media and content marketing."
Using TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements to Drive Occupancy
"TripAdvisor has always been a great partner, and we’ve been very happy with Business Advantage, so when they came to us with the Sponsored Placements opportunity, we knew we had to try it," says Tanachotevorapong.
TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements are designed to put accommodations in front of travelers who are actively searching TripAdvisor for places to stay in the area. Learn more about Sponsored Placements.
Bangkok Loft Inn signed up for a campaign in the mid-range Sponsored Placement budget. The results? In its current campaign, Bangkok Loft Inn is seeing about a 300% increase in clicks from potential guests searching in the Bangkok market for a hotel.
"We’ve noticed an increase in the performance of our Business Advantage, as well as with our distribution partners," says Tanachotevorapong. "We’re seeing an increase in bookings overall."
"Sponsored Placements are a great opportunity -- even for smaller hotels," he continues. "It’s easy to use and is a good tool to help attract attention to your property and helps guests select your hotel from the many they can choose."Last Updated: March 6, 2018
A "Win-Win Situation" for Independent Hotels How one independent lodge uses TripAdvisor to increase its visibility, convert guests and create valuable relationships.
The Arbuckle Lodge is an independent hotel situated between the Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park in Gillette, Wyoming. TripAdvisor guests rave about the hotel’s Western charm and amenities.
As one of the owners of the Arbuckle Lodge, Michelle Nelson is invested in increasing the property’s visibility and building relationships with guests. Nelson says, “We work hard to deliver a great product and a great service to our guests. We’re usually the first or second ranked hotel in Gillette on TripAdvisor.”
Increasing the Arbuckle's visibility
But competition with other large hotel chains in the area remains fierce.
“When you’re competing against large chains, it’s difficult for independent hotels like ours to get the word out,” says Michelle Nelson. “But TripAdvisor has really increased our visibility. It’s been an extremely successful tool.”
"TripAdvisor is getting bigger and bigger every day. I see more and more people relying on TripAdvisor to make their hotel experience a good and memorable one."
So, how has Nelson used TripAdvisor to build visibility? First, she worked with her staff to update the Arbuckle’s listing to include amenities, an official description and over 30 Management Photos. Then, they started using Review Express to regularly collect guest feedback – since TripAdvisor travelers love to read new reviews. The Arbuckle also makes it a priority to respond to those reviews.
“TripAdvisor is getting bigger and bigger every day,” says Nelson, “I see more and more people relying on TripAdvisor to make their hotel experience a good and memorable one.”
Nelson also finds the quality of the content on TripAdvisor to be better:
“TripAdvisor travelers put a lot of time and effort into reviewing the hotel objectively and honestly. Most reviews are quite long and touch on several subjects. That’s very different from other sites that have reviews – they tend to only be a sentence or two long.”
Driving higher ADR and profits
Once Nelson had built such a visible presence on TripAdvisor, she wanted to capitalize on it. When her connectivity partner, InnLink, became certified for instant booking, she signed up right away.
According to Nelson, “Once guests read our reviews on TripAdvisor and see our photos, we know they won’t want to go elsewhere. Instant booking is an easy way for them to book our hotel as they’re reading about it, right on the site.”
"The fees are fair, bookings are comparable to the big channels, and we love that it makes the booking process smooth and easy for the guest..."
The results for the Arbuckle have been strong to date. On average, instant booking reservations are up to 16% more profitable than those made through OTAs.
“The fees are fair, bookings are comparable to the big channels, and we love that it makes the booking process smooth and easy for the guest,” says Nelson. “Plus, the ADR is quite high and it’s due to the fact that travelers are booking at our regular rates.”
She continues, “Overall, TripAdvisor does a terrific job of building that loyal customer who is looking for great experiences when they travel. As a result, we believe instant booking may take over even more of the market share in the future.”
Building the lifetime value of guests
By providing access to guests’ information from the start, instant booking has also allowed the Arbuckle to increase the lifetime value it sees from guests.
"Overall, TripAdvisor does a terrific job of building that loyal customer who is looking for great experiences when they travel. As a result, we believe instant booking may take over even more of the market share in the future.”
“Having access to the guest information is vital to our business,” says Nelson. “It allows us to provide great customer service as well as value-added offers to guests. We’ve found that we can convert more instant booking customers into returning business travelers, which is so important in our market. It’s easier to convert guests already familiar with TripAdvisor, and develop them into the perfect clients.”
She also finds instant booking customers are more likely to complete the cycle and leave a review for the Arbuckle Lodge:
“Instant booking customers are the types of guests who are dedicated to finding the hotels that truly provide excellent service and value. That is evidenced by the reviews they write.”
In conclusion, Nelson shares: “Overall, the additional visibility for independent hotels and the seamless guest experience with instant booking, makes working with TripAdvisor a win-win situation!”Last Updated: April 15, 2016
A wild ride: Using reviews to rise to the top, part 2 Gardaland Park, the #1 amusement park in Italy, demonstrates that what you do with new reviews is just as important as getting them in the first place.
Missed part 1? Start there to find out how the award-winning Gardaland Park gets more reviews.
Maximizing the value of a new review
You want more reviews. But once you get them, are you doing enough with that feedback? Here’s how Gardaland Park optimizes their return on each new review, from strengthening customer relationships to making real-time improvements and more.
Showing customers they matter
Gardaland Park’s 20-person marketing team takes relationship-building so seriously that one employee is actually dedicated to responding to TripAdvisor reviews. Why? “We deeply believe in fostering one-to-one relationships with our customers. When someone writes a review, they expect a response,” says Raffaele Prati, Web and New Media Manager. He continues, “Maintaining that dialogue reinforces a personal relationship with our fans. They leave feedback, we respond, and we learn.”
When asked what’s important to include in a Management Response, Prati responded with an interesting twist worthy of one of the park’s roller coasters. “I’ll tell you what not to include: pre-written answers. You need to customize, because people can immediately spot when an answer is pre-cooked.” So the Gardaland Park employee who responds to each review has a lot to do, but the personal connection with travelers is worth every minute.
Improving the guest experience
To make sure the feedback in reviews isn’t wasted, Prati and his team share the latest with every department. “This is very serious for us, and we want to make sure travelers know we understand their feedback and actually pay attention. The report goes to all departments, and we use it to prepare next actions for operational and marketing purposes.”
During the busy season, the report is weekly, while during the slow season it’s monthly. The report highlights the most frequently mentioned issues and compliments, and categorizes new reviews by rating and sentiment – positive, neutral or negative.
Reinforcing the attraction’s reputation
Marketing has changed a lot since Gardaland Park opened in 1975. These days, travelers rely on reviews when planning trips and what to do. That’s why this 2013 Travelers’ Choice winner makes sure to leverage the power of TripAdvisor, even in their offline marketing efforts.
Gardaland Park recently experimented with adding their TripAdvisor awards to their leaflets and maps. The result? Prati reveals that “featuring our TripAdvisor awards on our collateral is another powerful driver of new reviews.” Prati attributes the additional reviews to visitors being inspired by seeing the park’s connection with TripAdvisor. And thus, each reminder of the park’s reputation contributes to strengthening the attraction’s already impressive reputation on TripAdvisor.
Your turn to follow up on feedback
Visit your Management Center to respond to your latest reviews, track your TripAdvisor performance each week and more, all for free. So even if you don’t have a 20-person marketing team like Gardaland Park and their fairy tale atmosphere, spending a little bit of time each week on your TripAdvisor presence can still lead to magical results.Last Updated: March 26, 2014
A wild ride: Using reviews to rise to the top, part 1 Gardaland Park wows visitors with fairy tale adventure. Here’s why this leading attraction’s success is no fantasy.
A pragmatic approach to fantasy
Visitors to Gardaland Park fall in love with the fairy tale atmosphere. As the park’s Web and New Media Manager, Raffaele Prati, says, “It’s a very happy world, the biggest adventure in fantasy. People can forget about everyday life.”
Yet it’s Gardaland Park’s very realistic approach to marketing that helps attract people to this fantasy land in the first place. As the #1 amusement park in Italy, Gardaland Park works hard to promote – and continually improve – the attraction’s reputation of fun and adventure for all.
Managing their digital presence
“We started using Review Express for the amusement park, and now we’re using it for our aquarium as well because we’re so happy with the results.”
About a year ago, Gardaland Park started putting serious effort into their TripAdvisor presence. Prati, who supervises the park’s digital channels, was inspired by how important TripAdvisor is for travelers. “We had a property page before that, but it wasn’t monitored. Now with TripAdvisor we can get and respond to guest feedback to make the customer experience the best it can be.”
Gardaland Park’s increased attention to their TripAdvisor presence centered on several key goals. In this article, we’ll cover the always popular mission to get more reviews. And in part two, we’ll focus on how this leading attraction leverages reviews to strengthen customer relationships, improve the guest experience and reinforce the park’s reputation.
Here’s how Gardaland Park is collecting more reviews, with some help from TripAdvisor.
Getting 95 reviews with minimal effort
As Prati points out with his years of digital marketing experience, “TripAdvisor is a very important tool for travelers to leave feedback and help other travelers.” That traveler-centric view has helped Gardaland Park accrue over 3,400 reviews.
And this Travelers’ Choice winner is well on their way to more reviews. Even though the Gardaland Park is currently in the slow season, they’ve managed to collect 95 reviews using the free Review Express tool. Each month, Gardaland Park uses it to send a review request email to the new email addresses in their database.
Thanks to just a few minutes of work each month with Review Express, Gardaland Park is seeing good click through and response rates. Prati points out that, “We started using Review Express for the amusement park, and now we’re using it for our aquarium as well because we’re so happy with the results. I’d absolutely recommend it.”
Winning with widgets
Gardaland Park has also been collecting reviews by using TripAdvisor widgets on their popular website, which gets 6 million visits a year. The homepage widget links to a TripAdvisor review form on a separate page of gardaland.it. So far, the widget has led to 10,000 visits to the review form, which reassures travelers with the Gardaland branding and wins them over with an easy way to write a review of their recent visit.
Gardaland Park has also included a similar widget in their e-newsletter, which goes to 230,000 subscribers. “With these two widgets, we’ve dramatically increased our number of reviews.” How dramatic? Reviews are up by over 20%.
Going beyond just collecting reviews
Encouraging more reviews is powerful, yet part of Gardaland Park’s magic is all the things they do after getting a new review.
Continue reading part 2 to see how Gardaland Park uses reviews to strengthen customer relationships, improve guest experience and reinforce their online reputation.
Last Updated: March 26, 2014
Getting personal at a top attraction in Jamaica Personalized Management Responses help this leading Montego Bay shopping destination get more than 90% of their visitors from TripAdvisor.
You step out of a colorful van painted with beautiful flowers. You’re greeted by smiling staff, a soft breeze and a panoramic view of Montego Bay. A welcome like this makes it easy to feel at peace. The only hard part is: Do you visit the amazing art gallery or the serene garden first?
That’s the dilemma visitors to Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden face every day. This top shopping attraction in Montego Bay is going places – all because visitors want to stay right where they are. Co-owner Tamika Williams jokes that, “We might need to add a bouncer because guests don’t want to leave. One recent guest even asked if he could pitch a tent in the garden to stay overnight.”
While Williams had to tell him no, travelers to Jamaica are saying yes. In fact, guests fall in love with Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden at first sight. It turns out, the Ahhh… part of the attraction’s name comes from guests exhaling when they arrive because they finally feel like they can relax. And more and more travelers to Jamaica are finding out about Ras’ beautiful artwork, Tamika’s peaceful garden and how friendly and laidback the staff is.
Williams is more than willing to share the secret to their success. “When we started in 2010, we didn’t have money to do big marketing campaigns. My husband Ras suggested we focus on TripAdvisor because our guests were leaving us great reviews in our guestbook here at Ahhh.” The result? Now more than 90% of the property’s clientele comes directly from TripAdvisor. “Either travelers email us from our TripAdvisor property page or they call when they’re in Jamaica and say that they found us on TripAdvisor.”
As Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden continues to grow with 11 employees so far, Williams and her staff still make the time to focus on providing personal service to each visitor. Like many other people running a small hospitality business, Williams handles a variety of tasks. “I’m part owner, secretary, operator, gardener, TripAdvisor marketer, recipe creator – and the magic of Ahhh,” she says with a laugh. Part of that magic? Writing personalized and prompt Management Responses to each review on TripAdvisor.
In fact, Williams responds to every single TripAdvisor review for Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden. While her husband and co-owner Ras himself focuses mainly on creating magic with paint on canvas, William’s artistry is displayed in each thoughtful and warm response to a review from a recent visitor. Responding is so important to her that she writes a reply right away when she sees a new review, no matter where she is. Her reasoning? “People have choices, they can go anywhere and they choose to come here. So I show appreciation for that. If someone takes the time to go home and write a review, I have the time to respond and thank them.”
Here’s an excerpt of a response from Williams to a guest who mentioned loving the food she serves onsite:
“Your group has inspired me to cook with more passion than ever if that's possible. I spend more time in the kitchen now and pay attention to every detail. I have a few extra pounds to prove I taste everything. I look forward to staying in touch with all of you. When next you visit it will be even better.”
Williams also understands the value of word of mouth. Many of her visitors mention they chose Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden specifically because they see all the Management Responses. “It gives travelers a chance to see who they’re dealing with,” says Williams. “Then they come here, fall in love and tell their friends, too.”
Of course, it helps that authenticity is everywhere at Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden. All of the artwork is from self-taught artist Ras Natango, his son Ayale and other local artists. The delicious food served is what you’d find on a local family’s table at home. And the passion and friendliness from the staff is sincere: “No tourist comes here and feels like a tourist. They get an authentic experience and learn about Jamaican culture and cuisine. This is more than a place to shop – this is the feel of Jamaica.”Last Updated: January 16, 2014
How This Seattle Restaurant Increased Revenue By 30% with TripAdvisor Nue, a Seattle restaurant, recently rose to the top spot on TripAdvisor's popularity-based rankings. Here’s how they did it and how TripAdvisor has helped them increase their booking traffic and revenue by 30%.
Welcome to Nue, Seattle
If you walk through the doors at Nue, you’ll be immediately transported to another continent. Which continent? That depends on the menu that day.
United by their love of travel and food, Uyen Nguyen and Chris Cvetkowich, co-owners, showcase unique and interesting dishes you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere in the United States.
"One of the things at the core of our passion is that anytime we travel, we see such diversity in food. But here, the same dish is always featured," explains Nguyen. "The analogy I would make is that in the U.S., you would see a lobster roll if you traveled to New England and clam chowder when you’re in San Francisco, but when you go abroad for American cuisine, you just see burgers and french fries. Why is it that other items aren’t being featured? We wanted to introduce people to [new] food."
This approach introduces Seattle residents to traditional global dishes, like South African Bunny Chow or Romanian Mamaliga. Their goal? To attract curious eaters like themselves — as well as local immigrant communities yearning for tastes from home. "When we featured Romanian Mamaliga, we met the Romanian community [in Seattle]," says Nguyen. "Someone even brought their mom all the way from Vancouver to try this dish because they were honored that [we] would feature their home cuisine."
That’s where TripAdvisor comes in. "It’s my #1 choice [as a review platform for my business] because I can really appreciate customers who are out there seeking the experience of different cultures," says Nguyen. "When I travel to other countries, I use TripAdvisor. I wanted to really focus on that platform because I wanted to engage the traveler [since] our whole concept is built around travelers."
The Challenge: Starting a Restaurant from Scratch
Starting a restaurant is always a challenge, and it was no exception for the husband-wife pair. "At the beginning, we had to work to earn every single customer that worked through the door," says Nguyen.
Part of that was putting in the work to manage Nue’s online reputation, including uploading Management Photos, responding to reviews, and updating their business hours. "When we started being more intentional in answering all the little questions TripAdvisor asks for us to fill in, we saw a major increase in engagement from our customers clicking on things," says Nguyen.
Managing their listing also helped them drive more reviews from customers. Says Nguyen, " I noticed that once we had better pictures, we started driving a lot more reviews."
A food truck life: Wafels & Dinges Here’s the story of one food truck company that thrives in the ultra-competitive New York City restaurant market – besting more than 10,000 traditional establishments to land in the upper echelon of TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index.
Wafels & Dinges is a food truck company in New York City that sells freshly made Belgian waffles with a variety of toppings (dinges). Founded in 2007, it was one of the first companies to use social media to communicate the locations of its food trucks. Today, the company has 30,000 Twitter followers and each day, @waffletruck tweets locations, brand building messages, photos and more.
Wafels & Dinges is currently ranked in the top 1% of restaurants on TripAdvisor’s New York City Popularity Index. That’s no easy feat, especially for a business that didn’t have a brick and mortar location until mid-2013. We recently spoke to Wafels & Dinges owner, Thomas DeGeest, about his business and its success. Here’s what he shared with us:
In the United States, the Street Vendors Market collects $1 billion in revenue annually and has grown at a rate of 3.9% each year since 2008.1
What impact do food trucks have on the industry?
“Food trucks are enormously popular because we offer something unique to consumers – affordable, high quality meals. Our food trucks specialize in one thing, making waffles, and we do it very well. Specialization is the key to success in our business – you have to do what you do better than anyone else.
We’ve noticed a developing trend where a concept starts in a food truck and then moves to brick and mortar. You vet the concept in the street, find out if it works and then move to a quick-serve restaurant location. We’ve been running waffle carts for six years, but we just opened our first café in 2013. The trucks have been a scalable and reliable solution for building our business.”
What are your challenges?
“Oversaturation – we’re starting to see that issue on many of the streets in New York City. Sometimes a market starts underperforming and we need to find a new location for that truck. That’s hard because regular customers have a habit of counting on our schedule in a particular area. Also, city laws are not always very helpful or clear for food trucks.”
How do you use social media?
“We learn a lot from social media and a member of our team is dedicated to it. We use our own sense of humor and tone to profile ourselves as a company that’s fun, accessible, affordable and quirky. It differentiates us from competitors.
There are a lot of variables for a food truck business and we also use social media to keep customers up to date. If there’s a mechanical issue, we’ll use Twitter to get the word out. Being an early adopter of social media has contributed to our success.”
How does customer feedback impact your business?
“Our menu and future locations are often driven by suggestions on social media or at the trucks. We have customers vote on items to bring back. We always suggest our customers write a review and that they look at our reviews because we’re highly rated. We respond to customers and thank them for their feedback. The key to customer feedback for us is to ask directly, incorporate feedback and see the market demand that results from the changes.”
Inside tips for restaurant businesses
Restaurant businesses often overlook their TripAdvisor profile pages. Wafels & Dinges has a strong commitment to providing customers with high quality, affordable products. TripAdvisor travelers have responded with strong reviews for the business, which has led to its success on the site.
Here are four tips that restaurants and non-conventional vendors (like food trucks) can use to drive more business with their TripAdvisor pages:
- See if you’re listed – Visit www.tripadvisor.com and use the search box to see if a traveler has listed your business. If not, check out this helpful guide to getting listed.
- Claim your business – In order to manage your TripAdvisor property page, you’ll need to register at www.tripadvisor.com/owners. Once registered, confirm or correct all of your business’s information. Remember, a complete profile helps differentiate your property and attract TripAdvisor travelers.
- Sign up for review alerts – Once registered, sign up to receive emails when reviews of your business are posted. Alerts help you quickly read your customers’ feedback and write a Management Response to thank them for their review. Responding to a review shows travelers that you care about improving your business.
- Add photos – Add photos to your TripAdvisor listing through the Management Center. Be sure to choose a show-stopping primary photo because it’s the one image travelers see in the TripAdvisor Popularity Index. Pull travelers in by making sure your primary photo is mouth-watering.
Want more tips for optimizing a restaurant page on TripAdvisor? Check out the complete guide.
- 1. IBIS World, Street Vendors in the US: Market Research Report, August 2013
Review Express delivers 54% of reviews in just ten minutes each week How BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours easily collects reviews with Review Express.
“I knew I needed to get the word out”
With seven years of experience as a bartender and brewer’s assistant, Cliff Mori can appreciate the weeks it takes to brew beer. But now that he runs BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours, Mori doesn’t have that kind of time to wait for new reviews of his brewery tour company.
As Mori explains, “I knew I needed to get the word out, but I was totally new to marketing. I started out by asking people to write a review when they got home.” Unfortunately, people had a little trouble remembering to write a review after a weekend of drinking and merriment in picturesque Asheville, North Carolina.
So Mori decided to try something new: Review Express, the free tool from TripAdvisor that makes it easy to request a review.
“Now I’m in the top 3”
Since trying Review Express, Mori couldn’t be happier with the results:
Review Express delivers more than half of his reviews,
Those reviews contribute to TripAdvisor referring 20% of his customers,
And using Review Express takes him less than 10 minutes a week.
As a result of these new reviews coming in, BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours has become more popular on TripAdvisor. “I saw my ranking move up as people talked about having a great time on tour. In a few months, I went from the bottom to the top 15. Now I’m in the top 3 things to do in Asheville.”
Due to that increased ranking and visibility, TripAdvisor is one of BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours’ top sources for referrals. If you ask Mori, “That kind of exposure with no monetary expense and little time spent – it’s a great return.”
Like many small business owners, Mori is short on time. “I’m a one-man show, I do everything myself,” he says. So it’s a good thing that, “Review Express makes it so easy – less than 10 minutes a week. My ticketing software collects email addresses, so on Monday mornings I just upload a list and send the review request.”
“TripAdvisor is a great way to get noticed”
The success of BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours makes Mori eager to share more than beer knowledge. Here are his tips for getting the most out of your TripAdvisor efforts.
Engage your audience
“TripAdvisor is a great way to get noticed by travelers looking for things to do in your city. It’s easy to get started. If I do a good job and ask people to share feedback, I do well. It feels genuine and rewarding.”
Stay active and informed
“I check the site 3 or 4 times a day to see if I have new reviews and to check what the competition is doing. I always want to know what my ranking is.”
Work smarter, not harder
“I like that the Review Express template is reusable and you can customize it to make it more personal. It initially took me 15 or 20 minutes and it’s ready to go every time after that. I don’t have to look at it again.”
Leverage your reputation
“I added TripAdvisor widgets to my website because people believe in TripAdvisor ratings. I have such positive feedback, and it’s an easy way to share that with people. They have so many options, and this gives them confidence because they think, ‘85 other people had an awesome time, I could be 86.’”