TripAdvisor Social Breakthrough: Risk or Opportunity for Owners?

Towards the end of 2018, TripAdvisor, the largest platform dedicated to hospitality and travel advice, announced an important change in the way of interacting with its audience.

During the last Skift Global Forum in New York, CEO of TripAdvisor, Steve Kaufer CEO, said that the new company’s strategy aims to answer specific questions: “How can we create a solid base for travelers to make them really satisfied with every stage of the journey? How can we bring TripAdvisor’s success and influence to a higher level and ensure that each recommendation will be relevant to the user?”

More than this, the new strategy is based on the need to cope with problems caused by false or unverified reviews, which have damaged both property owners and TripAdvisor itself.

The ambition, as declared by the company, is to become the reference travel website to plan the perfect trip. And to do so, starting from the end of 2018, TripAdvisor began its transformation into a real community – made up of people, brands, influencers, travel editors and more. The purpose is to become the place where users keep (and choose whether they share or not) travel preferences in order to build the perfect trip.

How it works

The new look of the platform is still in a testing stage, but it is already clear that its interface will take the form of a feed, similar to Facebook and other social media sites.

By logging in and typing the location where they want to travel, the user will be faced with personalized information: reviews, experiences and recommendations shared by their network of contacts and followed accounts (friends, influencers, brands, experts on that topic). In this way, guests can have a clearer idea about accommodation types and locations. Most importantly, users can rely on the opinion or judgment of the people they trust most.

In addition, users can create their own content by writing articles, sharing photos and videos, in order to generate small or large guides and checklists of places and activities not to miss.

TripAdvisor Social users can also decide whether to share their content with their community, or keep it to themselves.

From the owners’ point of view

Certainly, this customization pushes the user to go straight to the point”, and hopefully, accelerating booking conversion. They won’t need to sift through hundreds of reviews, trying to figure out if they are real or not, or having to contextualize every single case.

Therefore, doing things right” will become crucial for vacation rental owners. Taking care of reputation, in terms of image and the services you provide, is essential to gain the trust and credibility needed to consolidate your business.

On the one hand, there is a certain difficulty attached to entering these kinds of “niches” and attempting to compete with big or boutique hotels (which influencers seem to like so much!). Yet, on the other hand, having a good reputation and positive opinions by brands and publishers in the travel and tourism sector could be the ace in the hole for many vacation rental owners.

Suffice to say that in 2017 alone, TripAdvisor influenced approximately 10.3% of global tourism (around $546 billion), during the traveler decision-making process. A Comscore report also revealed that 60% of travel consumers worldwide who booked trips visited TripAdvisor sites and apps as part of their research.

How to make the most of new TripAdvisor’s new features

TripAdvisor announced that more than 500 travel brands (i.e. GoPro), bloggers, travel magazines (National Geographic), influencers and writers have already joined the new project and they are busy creating content for tourists around the world. The official launch took place at the same time in all the languages and countries where the company operates.

All these factors should trigger an alarm bell in every owner and property manager looking for new opportunities to make their business known and promote it! That means partnerships, collaborations with local tourism offices, cross-promotions with other businesses in your community – they will all be the perfect tools to build an effective business card. Especially given that you can provide the place to stay for travel bloggers and photographers!

Depending on the budget for your marketing strategy, investing in collaborations with travel bloggers or influencers may also be a very good idea: getting mentions, reviews of your property and links back to your TripAdvisor listing on their profile would be a huge extra point for you!

As well as this, carrying out a good SEO strategy to ensure your website ranks well in Google search results will play an important role, because it will allow your vacation rental to be found more easily. More often than not, when searching generic terms like “vacation rental” or “B&B” in a specific destination, the first results are TripAdvisor’s own listings.

Last but not least, don’t forget your social media marketing strategy. Effectively promoting your business on Instagram and Facebook seems even more inevitable given the importance TripAdvisor places on social influencers and content creators. In addition, utilizing these channels will allow your business to be more consistent across all platforms.

In conclusion, there is the possibility that the TripAdvisor Social breakthrough will require a little extra effort for owners, in order to consolidate their brand online and compete with more established hospitality brands. But it also looks like a further chance to grow your business and get more bookings!

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  1. Good article and continual pivoting in the desire to enter the booking chain in greater depth. Social proofing is a great way of building trust (it used to be anyway) and the buzzword is “experience”. I always wonder however from my truly social handful of friends how many would contribute or would cross over with my travel ideas or destinations yearly.

    The addition of independents and bloggers and “influencers” etc is a major bonus to the site of course, but are these likely to influence me, perhaps, depends on so many factors. Real travel information is needed and these commercial gurus will not be offering a range of best sites to get keen prices. Trip (holidaylettings etc), do not offer the best deal. Facebook groups and direct social interaction are powerful influencers. Also getting sufficient yearly reviews on one site in a rental is hard. 30-40 bookings made from multiple channels and a low review return, does not help the cause.

    This may help hotels, but rentals may well be a race the top of Google and the bigger boys are simply benefiting from the wave of information but dominating accommodation search.

    This line, however, is really interesting: “That means partnerships, collaborations with local tourism offices, cross-promotions with other businesses in your community”. Local organizations will see a need to up their game and have more tools, knowledge but they have local controls and can overlay any number of attractive benefits. To date, this has been poorly served due to tech issues and membership desire, but will be developed as the local leakage of funds to the US OTAs will need to be reversed.

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