How to Improve Your Hotel’s TripAdvisor Ranking

There are many ways hotels can increase their ranking on TripAdvisor

With multiple social media channels, online forums, and review sites too many to list, consumers are driving change in the hotel industry and part of that is their willingness to trust online reviews.  Whether or not you are managing your business listing on TripAdvisor’s review site, people are telling their stories, sharing their impressions, and rating your business on that site every day.  Couple that with 76% of surveyed travelers are willing to pay more for more highly rated hotels and you may be interested in what you can do to improve your hotel’s TripAdvisor ranking.

How does TripAdvisor determine your ranking?  Although their algorithm is super secret, TripAdvisor does share that there are 3 components that are weighted and considered most important.  The quality of your reviews, the quantity of reviews you have, and the age of your reviews. With many variables coming into play, an algorithm is needed to help sort through all the noise. Having a rank that captures positive reviews that are recent and numerous, gives the consumer a place to start in their search for accommodations.

Quantity

The quantity of reviews can be increased in several ways.  TripAdvisor offers free tools like widgets for your website or social channels, e-mail templates, and flyers to help encourage your guests to share their experience. These tools are available in their Management Center, but you have to claim your business listing if you want all the fun stuff.

Just ask!  Upon departure, ask how their stay was and if they would consider submitting a review.  Offering incentives is not allowed, so play by the rules as set by their guidelines, or you may be penalized.

Quality

The quality of your reviews really comes down to service, hospitality, and listening to your guests.  Use your guest’s feedback to track what you’re doing well and where you may need more work. There is a lot of data in those reviews and they can be quite useful to help you prioritize what impacts their experience the most.

Age

Over time, your older reviews will have less value.  What someone said 5 years ago may no longer be relevant, so fresher reviews are important.

What else can you do? Here are a couple of extra tips…

  • Respond to each review.  Now that you have claimed your listing, take advantage of the ability to respond to your guests which can also improve your ranking.  A strong reputation management strategy will not only benefit your position on TripAdvisor, but most importantly show your future and past guests that you value what they say – that you are listening.
  • Manage those negative reviews.  Not all reviews are relevant or even appropriate and can be quite damaging to your reputation.  If they clearly breach any of the review site’s guidelines, you may flag them and request removal.
  • Recent Renovations?  If you’ve made significant changes, but you still have a large quantity of negative reviews, you can essentially start over.  You’ll have to submit some documents to prove what changes have been made, but if accepted you get to start at zero and re-build your rank.  Keep in mind that you’ll lose all reviews, including the positive ones so weigh this move carefully.

It all still comes down to the guest experience.  To have any of these steps impact your ranking in a positive way, attention to service and hospitality will always be fundamental.  Be responsive and engage with your guests to continue the relationship long after they leave your property and all your efforts should pay off.

For more reputation management best practices, visit our website or contact Lodging Interactive today.

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#AskDJV – Episode 26: How Does Hotel Information Architecture Affect Your Website Design?

Hello everyone! Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 26, I’m talking about how your hotel information architecture can affect your website design.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

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Google Now Displays Tweets in Mobile Search Results

The Twitter-Google partnership means a presence on Twitter is now an SEO requirement for hotels.

Image Credit/Source: Twitter
Image Credit/Source: Twitter

Yesterday, Google and Twitter both announced that Tweets will be displayed in mobile search results on mobile browsers as well as on the Google App for iOS and Android. Eventually, Google and Twitter plan to expand this to desktop search and other languages.

Can you say “game changer”?

We’ve always said a presence on social media is important for your hotel and that hoteliers cannot ignore the increase in mobile usage, if not simply for the advantages of better Google search rankings. With the two coming together to display Tweets prominently at the top of mobile search results, hoteliers must pay attention. There is no avoiding Twitter any longer.

Let’s use an example:

Say your property has a Memorial Day Weekend package or last-minute travel deal. You diligently put it on your website, you may even post it on your blog. Those are great ways to gain traction in search and to provide fresh, relevant content to your site visitors, but it can take some time to really gain SEO footing that way — sometimes weeks. So unless you have the time and energy to plan and post that content a month or more ahead of the holiday or event you’re talking about, it may not serve you well in the short term.

Now, what if you took that blog and tweeted about it? Maybe your tweet includes the city your hotel is in as well as a few relevant hashtags. With Google including Tweets in mobile search results, if you have a last-minute traveler or millennial that wants to book a stay this weekend, they’ll now see your tweet as a real-time result to their search. This gives your property visibility and searchers the opportunity to click thru to your blog and then hopefully your site.

Like we said, game changer.

Learn more about how you can utilize Twitter to harness the power of mobile search and reach new audiences by contacting us today. Being active on Twitter is no longer optional. Google adding tweets to search results now makes Twitter an SEO requirement for hotels.

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#AskDJV Show – Special Episode – Are Vanity Hotel Websites Doorway Pages?

In March, Google announced that they are taking the initiative to shut down “doorway pages”. While this is great news in the world of search results, it is causing confusion among hoteliers, specifically franchisees of branded properties.

Many brands are taking Google’s recent focus on “doorway pages” and confusing property owners by saying that their vanity websites fall into this category. We’ve produced a special episode of the #AskDJV Show to let property owners and franchisees know that this is absolutely not the case. Your vanity website is not, by Google’s own definition, a “doorway page”.

Doorway pages are sites that are set up to game the system. Doorway pages provide no real value to users and utilize unethical practices like “keyword stuffing” in order to achieve search engine rankings and take visitors to another website. Google says “[t]hey are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination.”

A property’s own proprietary vanity site offers a wealth of information to site visitors — from hotel policies to nearby attractions and everything in between. Watch the special edition of the #AskDJV Show for more information as well as how you as property owners can respond if your brand tell you that you are required to shut down your vanity site because it is a “doorway site”.

What hoteliers need to know about “doorway pages”:

– They are spam pages that have zero content or value for users and acts as a gateway to another page.
– They are landing pages that act as a funnel, offering little to no new web content for site visitors.
– They use “spam” techniques to gain high search rankings like keyword stuffing and black hat SEO.
– Vanity sites offer relevant content that site visitors find useful, thus they are not considered “doorway pages”.

Push back against your brand’s attempt to classify your vanity site as a “doorway page”. Explain that you are spending your own money, outside of the franchise fees, to promote your property and drive more business to the brand website. After vanity site visitors select your property, they are taking to the brand website to book their reservation, not some other OTA.

Continue to evolve and market your property against your competitive set. You need to differentiate your hotel from not only other brands, but sister brands under your own brand’s umbrella. Property owners, you should still utilize vanity sites to differentiate yourself and share what is unique about your guest experience. This is particularly important given that your property’s page on your brand’s site is built from database driven content and looks exactly the same as every other branded property listed there.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I’m happy to help any branded property better understand the truth about “doorway pages” as well as why your propriety vanity site is essential to your business and the furthest thing from one.

– DJ Vallauri
Founder & President, Lodging Interactive

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Lodging Interactive Wins Communicator Award for Hotel Website Design

Lodging Interactive, the digital marketing and social media engagement firm exclusively serving the hospitality industry, has a new distinction that we are proud to add to our multiple website design award wins in 2015.

Our New Jersey based agency, which has provided customized website design, reputation management and social media marketing services to over 750 properties in 45 countries, was selected as a 2015 Communicator Award of Excellence winner in the Websites – Hotel and Lodging category for our design of the Marriott Pleasanton website.

Lodging Interactive - Communicator AwardJudged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts (AIVA), the Communicator Award received over 6000 entries in 2015 and gives out two distinctions with the Award of Excellence being the highest honor. According to a press release, the 21st Annual Communicator Awards “is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring the creative excellence for communications professionals.”

The Marriott Pleasanton website, features a responsive design, dynamic content and strong visual appeal. The site adds the 2015 Communicator Award to their other recent honors including a 2014 Horizon Interactive Awards – Silver Award and 2015 Interactive Media Outstanding Achievement Award.

“We are thrilled once again to receive recognition from The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, and proudly add this award to the recent industry acknowledgements Lodging Interactive websites have earned,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. “We are grateful to AIVA for recognizing Marriott Pleasanton’s website as one of the ‘best’ in the industry and share these honors with our team of highly skilled web experts.”

To learn more about the recent design achievements of the Lodging Interactive web development team or for additional information on our robust, customizable website design solutions tailored to the hospitality industry, visit our website.

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#AskDJV – Episode 24: Tips on Social Media Engagement

Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 24, I’m sharing tips for how to jump-start your hotel’s social media engagement.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

 

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#AskDJV – Episode 23: Does My Hotel Need Social Customer Care?

Thanks for watching this week’s episode of the #AskDJV Show! In Episode 23, which you may have seen me live stream on Periscope earlier this week, I share why your hotel needs a social customer care service strategy.

Want more #AskDJV? Visit our website to view all of the episodes we’ve posted.

Check back here every Friday for the latest episode and follow me on Periscope (@DJVallauri) and Meerkat.

Do you have a question for me?

Tweet me @DJVallauri using the hashtag #AskDJV, and your question could be featured on the show!

Until next week!

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Hotels Need to Think Like a Media Company

Hotels Producing Content

A hotel’s strategy for producing content should be inspired by media companies
and influenced by their ideal customer and what is unique about their property.

Hotels are not simply hospitality and travel companies, they and every business in the world today are media companies. Hoteliers must view their brand, property and business this way and produce content accordingly, because, after all, content is king. It always has been and always will be.

The difference now, in 2015 and beyond, is what is defined as content. This is of particular interest to hoteliers as they allocate valuable time and resources to try to reach potential guests and maintain the attention of past guests.

What do travelers, Millennials, mobile users and followers consider content?

Content, for today’s consumer, is about making connections. It is about connecting with a brand, a lifestyle, a persona even. It is about aligning interests and philosophies with businesses that fit the view of what consumers want in life — from experiences and products, to convenience and useful information. Content inspires consumers to elevate their way of life and consider what they want their world to look and feel like. Content is always available so that the consumer can access it how and when they choose.

Every piece of content produced today is an opportunity to connect — both with a broader reach and on a more personal level with each individual consumer than ever before.

Travel and hospitality companies are expanding their way of thinking and their brand’s strategies to capitalize on the impact and appeal content can create. Airbnb is doing so in the form of a print magazine, Pineapple and Marriott International has made news with their Content Studio, which encompasses feature films, SnapChat campaigns, long form publishing and blogging. And just last week, Hilton used Periscope and Meerkat to livestream a Nick Jonas concert to fans and followers.

How can hotels produce content like a media company?

Consider the potential connections good, fresh, consistent content can make, then it is also easily realized that content does not need to be elaborate, extensive or expensive. It can be done on a property-level, it just needs to be authentic.

  • Create back of house videos for an up close look utilizing mobile devices
  • Livestream live music or entertainment using Periscope or Meerkat
  • Show a “day in the life”, sharing what makes each department unique
  • Interview the executive chef and share tips or even a signature recipe or cocktail
  • Post snapshots on Instagram that aren’t captured on a website’s photo gallery.
  • Share employee spotlights of popular staff so audiences can get to know them
  • Ask what followers want to know, but be sure to deliver the content they request.

Do not just offer a glimpse inside a property or behind the scenes, become the go-to resource for travelers planning trips to the area by posting always current lists of upcoming events, must-see area attractions, date night ideas, travel tips, planning guides and other nearby offerings. This not only provides authentic, fresh content that search engines love, but it paints the picture of what awaits guests.

Convey the experience at any given destination, whether it is the relaxing oasis at a property’s spa or the highlights of the city, through helpful information, quality visuals and answers to frequently asked or commonly misunderstood questions.

Think outside the box and get creative. Content as simple as helpful weather information, road closures, and other dynamic details are where opportunities exist to connect with people as they plan a trip as well as before during and after their stay.

Content is connections. Connections are bookings. Bookings mean loyalty.

“Positioning a hotel as a media company online enriches a brand’s reputation and builds connections vital to a property’s revenue,” says DJ Vallauri, Founder and President of Lodging Interactive. “People want information, they want to be ‘in the know’ and they want to engage with brands that embody the things that are important to them. Hotels can easily provide the content consumers are out their searching for and cultivate connections and relationships from there. Hoteliers have the foundation in place. Fresh, authentic content can be shared on a vanity site, blog, social channels and email.”

Lodging Interactive has been creating content, making connections and generating increased revenue and loyalty for management companies, major hotel brands as well as independent and boutique hotels. The digital marketing and social engagement firm’s approach is about people and that provides clients with a truly unique, customized strategy that fits their specific needs and goals.

Contact us today for more ways to produce content that forges connections, or to partner with Lodging Interactive.

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