The secret to turning TripAdvisor from Wicked Witch to Fairy Godmother

The secret to turning TripAdvisor from Wicked Witch to Fairy Godmother

Have you sometimes felt like TripAdvisor is your guests’ secret weapon? Their chance to cast an evil spell, leaving you powerless?

It’s not a comfortable position and recently hoteliers have been fighting back!

Guests Tony and Jan Jenkinson were fined £100 by a hotel in Blackpool for calling it a “filthy, stinking hovel” on TripAdvisor.

The couple’s public outcry created catastrophic PR for the hotel. They refunded the couple and scrapped the policy.

TripAdvisor spokesman James Kay said:
“While, thankfully, such instances are very rare, it is completely against the spirit and policies of our site for any business owner to attempt to bully or intimidate reviewers who have had a negative experience.”

Whatever your views about that particular story, and TripAdvisor in general, you can’t escape the fact that online reviews are here to stay.

Your existing guests’ views are increasingly influential in other people’s decision to buy.

So embrace the opportunity and actively encourage your guests to leave reviews for you.

Yes, you might get the odd negative review - you can’t please everyone all of the time. The secret is to engage with all your reviewers.

Here are our top tips:

  • Respond constructively to any negative comments. You might need to do a little pride-swallowing, but that’s ok. What would you prefer? More paying customers or all your pride intact. (There’s only one right answer to that, by the way.)
  • Answer as many of the positive comments as you can. It does you the world of good to be seen to actively embrace your guests’ views.
  • Be as proactive as you can in encouraging guests to leave reviews. You have nothing to fear except fear itself, as Roosevelt almost said.

Here are some of the ways you can gather reviews:

  • Bill folders in your restaurant (also a great way to capture email addresses)
  • A short questionnaire left in each bedroom
  • Ask guests face-to-face when they check out (and give them something to remind them)
  • Post-stay or post-dining emails
  • Via social media accounts and your website

You can probably think of many more....