check list_smallMany people rely on TripAdvisor to choose accommodation for their holiday. In fact, it was recently announced that the site now receives 40 million users every month – but you may have also read about how the company has come under fire by the owners of restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and hotels. Why?

Many hoteliers and the like believe that a lot of the posts are unfair and that TripAdvisor does little to monitor and remove comments that are unjust.

One such person, as reported by the Daily Mail is lan Gillam, the owner of the Western Hotel in St Ives in Cornwall.  He stated that he felt the reviews on TripAdvisor could in fact devastate small businesses. He continued to point out that other review websites allow owners to get a certain number of reviews removed, but TripAdvisor believes that potential customers can see past a bad review.  They may see past it and still book with you, but why should a hotel jeopardise their brand’s reputation if it is simply NOT TRUE.

As a consequence of these accusations, Tripadvisor in the UK is now being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority over claims it has untrustworthy reviews.

So where does this leave hoteliers and property owners who want to provide trustworthy reviews to potential customers? Well another option is to gather reviews on your own website.

There are many applications available that enable organisations to do this.  Some also enable rich media such as videos and photos to be uploaded too (read more about our applications here…). Not only does this benefit the organisation because it adds inspiring content on their website, drives traffic and builds loyalty, but it also provides potential customers with the user generated content they now want to see before making a purchasing decision.

Yes Tripadvisor attracts 40 million users a month and features over 50 million reviews of hotels and restaurants worldwide, but how many of these are factual reviews?

According to the online reputation services company, KwikChex, who represents more than 1,000 hoteliers, there are at least 27 000 estimated legally defamatory comments on TripAdvisor.

We are certainly not saying you should exclude Tripadvisor from your marketing strategy, but you should certainly consider other options.

One of the key benefits of gathering reviews on your own website is that you have greater control over moderation.  Most onsite review platforms provide the organisation with the ability to approve any reviews before they go live. This gives you the opportunity to firstly ensure that the review is legitimate, and secondly, it gives you a chance to resolve any serious issues directly with the unhappy customer.  It is not a matter of simply removing bad reviews, but rather, it gives you the opportunity to be pro-active about any issues.

Furthermore, publically responding via your website and under your own brand to an unfavourable review, is more often than not, looked favourably upon by potential customers.  It builds trust and confidence that this is an organisation that cares about their customers, and a high level of trust in a brand, leads to a long-term relationship. Read more about how to deal with a negative review… 

There are of course advantages and disadvantages of each – so let’s explore these;

TripAdvisor

Benefits

 

Disadvantages

Gathering reviews on your website

There are many companies who provide excellent, readymade solutions to enable you to gather your own user generated content.

Benefits

 

Disadvantages

 

To conclude:

No matter which way you look at it, reviews are important! In the travel industry specifically, 66% of people are influenced by user reviews when searching online, however many travel brands are still wary of enabling reviews on their own website.  Some fear that it will leave their brand open to all kinds of comments, but in this transparent world of marketing, user reviews enable a company to be proactive about improving their products and services.

Furthermore, reviews on your website gives your visitors a reason to stay on your site – according to HotelMarketing.com, between 25-40% of people who leave a hotel website do so to read online reviews. So publishing reviews directly on your hotel website fights this loss of traffic, and increases the probability of a direct booking right there on your own website.

Read more about the benefits of user reviews…

To find out more about how your business can integrate review functionality on your own website, contact us today…