TripAdvisor is the biggest and most powerful travel review website across the globe, and the reason for this probably has to do with its average annual revenue being pegged at USD 1 billion and a membership base of nearly 60 million users. TripAdvisor has reviews of hotels and restaurants as well as attractions across the world. Contributors add over 115 comments to the site every 60 seconds! With over 890 thousand hotels listed, TripAdvisor has the largest collection of user-contributed travel photographs across the world. Customers are more likely to price check and cross shop then before and this includes word-of-mouth, online reviews, incentives and benefits of service.
- The TripAdvisor Effect
TripAdvisor is a premier travel review site that has prompted the travel and hospitality industry to consider the value of word of mouth marketing and SEO strategies. Ads by the agency or its content/posts stay on top of the page from an SEO point of view. American journalist and blogger Tom Vanderbil has even documented the TripAdvisor effect in that this massive site has reviews which are so powerful that they have changed the tourist economies of countries. According to research, user-generated content on TripAdvisor was directly linked to £1 billion of tourism spend in 2016 alone. TripAdvisor’s impact on internet marketing has stressed the power of influencer marketing and reviews.
- Influencing How to Market The Brand
TripAdvisor has spawned an entire culture of review sites that provide travel agency owners and hotels alike actionable insights to build better relationships with travellers, and promote repeat visits, referrals besides pricing their services competitively to gain exposure and inspire individuals to leave positive reviews. Hotel owners who reply to TripAdvisor comments are 20 per cent more likely to land bookings. Research by Cornell University found reviews even impacted the hotel revenue for every available room. Every increase in percentage point a place up in TripAdvisor marks an increase of revenue per room by 1.4 percent. Online reputation management became a crucial part of Pathwwway marketing due to this travel site’s influence.
- The Rise of the Internet Economy
Thanks to sites like TripAdvisor, internet marketing has acquired increasing value over the past 10 years. The internet now influences the way individuals live and it has changed everything. Hotels with good rankings or reviews can enjoy more bookings, higher average daily rates and revenue. Social media marketing also saw an increase in value due to sites like this travel giant. Research shows hotels ranked first on TripAdvisor for their location earned more than 56 per cent direct booking each month, as against hotels ranking 40th for example. This site is the biggest source of online influence for customers and while deciding to travel and book accommodation, it remains the brand with the largest mindshare.
TripAdvisor has dominated the digital marketing sector. It has raised the challenge for hotels and restaurants alike. Relevant travel data coupled with the booking in real time is a real value-addition for online travel customers.
- The Value of User-Generated Content
All the TripAdvisor contributors are unpaid. It has taken time to build user generated reviews, too. Over the past decade, the travel site has documented not only hotels, but bars, tours, attractions and restaurants as well as other travel topics pertaining to content. With over 280 million users deploying TripAdvisor for travel planning and research, user-generated reviews have worked their magic in ways celebs and ads cannot. Raking in millions of views, TripAdvisor has shown how mobile digital, social media and user-generated content can be used to position the brand. Partnerships with online travel agencies like Priceline and Expedia are just some of the reasons TripAdvisor has done so well – it now makes 50 percent profit per dollar of its turnover.
- The Need for Brand Authenticity
TripAdvisor has revolutionised internet marketing, with the rise of social media and the demanding Millennial consumer. It has gone beyond staple travel sites to become a genuine, authentic travel site. TripAdvisor owns the review market. Rising demand for reviews has even seen rival sites emerging. OTA or online travel agents are not the only ones; even search engine Google has moved into the review space. Sites like Feefo even developed a business model centred around this.
Reviews became a powerful marketing tool for brand authenticity. So are the brand recognition tools like the Traveller’s Choice Awards conferred by TripAdvisor based on algorithms judging the value of the hotels. The algorithmic method focuses on the number and tone of traveller reviews and opinions as well as travel ratings associated with each award category. A recent survey found 83 percent of UK residents booked a hotel that had won this award.
Whether it’s paid or banner advertising, TripAdvisor has laid the foundation for many different internet marketing strategies.
- The Power of Personalisation
Reviews on TripAdvisor also changed internet or online marketing space by bringing about greater personalisation. In 2014, the site introduced a section called Just For You. It was the travel site’s first personalisation development and was meant for users deploying TripAdvisor for travel research, rather than casual, one-time browsers.
Travellers searching for destinations using this feature can filter results based on preferences specified in their profile on TripAdvisor. The travel site’s algorithm considers the user requirements such as travel style, amenities, location and brand and previous research on the site as well as reviews contributed in the past. People can now choose between personalised options and general rankings. Some sites like Google now even offer search results personalised by default.
TripAdvisor has heralded the age of personalisation in web marketing for the travel industry. Leading to better sales, personalisation is said to be the reason behind up to 60 percent of sales at top online retailer Amazon, that uses a system which recommends products frequently bought together.
Further, TripAdvisor moved to hotel meta search in 2013, so that there are no pop-up videos from online travel agencies and instead, one sees real-time availability and pricing on the site. The best hotels rise in rankings organically. It is a model internet marketing titans like Google picked up on, too.
On the other hand, the search engine giant’s control over browsing preferences, ownership of channels like YouTube and forays into flight and hotel finders have placed the company at a competitive advantage and TripAdvisor is learning from this. Focusing on the user and putting the customer first is yet another way TripAdvisor has changed the online marketing world.