Does TripAdvisor still carry the same clout as it did a few years ago or does an all-round online reputation (website design, easy navigation etc) make more of an impact on guests?
Peter Hancock, chief executive, Pride of Britain Hotels
I believe TripAdvisor has at least as much clout as it had a few years ago, largely because the sheer volume of reviews continues to grow and it lists pretty much every place to eat or stay. Perhaps it is less feared by hoteliers, though, since a single damning review can do less harm when watered down by dozens of good ones. As to the effect of websites and other online promotional tools, these have also grown in importance, which is good news for soft brands like Pride of Britain.
Adam Rowledge, general manager, Georgian House Hotel
YES & NO
TripAdvisor does still carry a lot of clout and it’s important to make sure that your hotel is portrayed well but I think that the key is to use it as a tool to channel traffic to your own well-designed website and drive direct bookings which is something that I’m currently developing at Georgian House. A good social media presence is still important but when you look at the numbers it’s not as key as other platforms as a driver of revenue. If you were to base decisions solely on this it would be website first and Booking.com reputation second. It also varies when you’re looking to attract guests from different nationalities as to where they generally look for the information they need to make their decision.
Melanie Wright, marketing manager, The Capital
In many ways I think TripAdvisor is the predominant global review platform for hotels, giving even the smallest of properties a presence and opportunity for management to respond directly to feedback. However, an all-round online reputation is crucial, especially as you can now leave feedback on nearly all online travel agents. Being able to post images as well as content is unique to TripAdvisor, and I think it is also a fundamental reason that it stays at the forefront of the travellers’ mind. I would argue that a successful online reputation has to appreciate the advantages and limitations of specific feedback platforms and adapt content accordingly.
Stephen Hargreaves, CEO, The Cranleigh Boutique Brand
TripAdvisor is vital to the success of any hotel. It refers thousands and thousands of potential guests to a hotel website, particularly if they have good reviews. If hoteliers ignore TripAdvisor, it will be to their peril. The power of TripAdvisor is now immense and needs carefully measured management in an ethical way. Of course, hotel website design is again extremely important, as well as a number of other key strategies to maximise the success of any hotel. There is a considered thought process to creating maximum success from the web, something I’m personally passionate about and have spent a great deal of time learning. My advice to anyone in business – not just hotels – is simple: If you do not immerse yourself and master the power of the internet and its many income streams, you will always be fighting a losing battle in business.
Richard Johal, general manager, St James Hotel
TripAdvisor still has a lot of influence as it is still the main review website on the internet. It’s strength lies in the way it covers most hotels and it makes is easy to see how a hotel compares against others. The brand strength of TripAdvisor has been strong and will be for several years. On the other hand, guests are savvy and so they will judge a hotel based on several factors such as the presentation of the hotel’s website, the business’ interaction on mainstream social media channels, as well as reviews of the hotel on the online travel agencies.