WTM 2012: TripAdvisor builds on Facebook integration while emphasising education

by Lee Hayhurst
by Lee Hayhurst
November 9, 2012 11:52 AM GMT

TripAdvisor has started offering hotels, restaurants and attractions a new customisable Facebook application allowing them to integrate its review content into their existing pages.

The application allows owners to pull in content including photos and reviews from the review site so visitors do not have to navigate away to the TripAdvisor main site to find it.

The application can be customised to determine what content is shown, so for instance a property owner might want to show the five latest reviews or awards they have received from TripAdvisor.

The move is a further advance of TripAdvisor's integration with Facebook which last year saw it launch its ‘Friends of Friends’ feature aimed at greater personalisation of reviews.

This works in tandem with more filters being offered on the site itself to enable users to look at reviews from people like them or from people considered to be more appropriate.

Doros Theodorou, EMEA commercial director for the site's Business Listings service, said currently in the UK around 58% of hotel and restaurant owners have taken the opportunity to formally register their business with TripAdvisor for free.

This gives them ownership of their page on the site, although not as much scope to manage their status as taking a paid-for Business Listing.

Theodorou said the firm’s focus was now very much on educating business owners about the tools offered free by TripAdvisor to manage their reputations .

“Social media has educated people to look at what other people are saying before choosing where to go – you can no longer just avoid it. The integration with Facebook means we are optimising that channel and keeping traffic on their page rather than having them leave and go to TripAdvisor,” said Theodorou.

TripAdvisor says it has done much to add functionality to help hotel and business owners in recent years, admitting that up until 2009 its focus had been very much on the consumer.

A new review form launched two months ago allowed reviewers to upload their content directly on the hotel’s website rather than having to do it on TripAdvisor.

The site is also trying to embrace the concept of municipality, something which came as direct feedback from owner, which allows users to search for reviews of properties in a pre-defined wider geographical area around where they plan to go.

Theodorou said: “We encourage owners to get in touch with us via the consumer care line or the management form.

“We are a consistently evolving business and we are listening to feedback. We also want people to take control of their profile.

“The educational piece is huge for us. We are looking at going to other exhibitions where we have not been before because we want to educate further. In the UK we’re known, but we want to get to other areas.

“Today it’s all about reputation management, consumer reviews and feedback. A few years ago it used to be all about booking engines but we have gone through that now.

“We have people out there on the ground. Fifty percent of their job is education to get in touch with hotel associations and say we can educate your members and show them how to use our site.”

TripAdvisor’s free management dashboard allows property owners to utilise a range of analytics measures, from seeing where their traffic is coming from to benchmarking themselves against a defined competitive set.

Delegates at World Travel Market this week were shown the results of research into European based hotels carried out by TripAdvisor which show how hotels can benefit from greater engagement, more content and from management responses to reviews.

The figures showed that properties with as little as 11 reviews see 28% more engagement than hotels with fewer and hotels with 50 or more reviews see 38% more engagement.

Properties with more than five management responses see 17% more engagement than those with five or less, while those with 30 photos or more drive 42% more engagement than those with 10 or fewer.

Video content was also found to be a powerful driver of engagement with hotels with at least one video seeing 21% more engagement than those with none.

Julio Bruno, TripAdvisor global vice president for sales, said: “We strongly encourage properties in Europe and around the world to post management responses and update their photo and video content through the free TripAvisor Management Centre.

“We also encourage then to ask their guests to share their candid feedback on TripAdvisor. Our data shows that taking these small yet important measures can give property owners an edge over their competition.”

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