Patrick Landman wrote a short list of ways to Improve your Hotel Review Score and Ranking on TripAdvisor which highlights a few points to consider when developing your marketing plan. He left out a few tools that can be used by hospitality professionals that will help drive your score and ranking up in significant ways.
One of the easiest and most cost-effecient ways to improve the number of reviews you are receiving is to directly solicit the reviews from your guests. Patrick suggested WiFi landing pages and post-stay emails, which are both great ideas. TripAdvisor created Review Express to take it to the next level.
Review Express allows hotels to enter in a list of email addresses and have emails sent out to the guests with a short HTML form that allows them to review the hotel from within the email. The information gets pushed out to your TripAdvisor profile, publishing the review and increasing your numbers magically. There is very little effort for the guests since they don't need to visit the website directly and worry about signing up for an account.
The policy I implemented at one hotel was sending out this email every week for the previous 7 day's guests. TripAdvisor scans the email list (I exported the emails from roomMaster easily into a CSV file, then converted into Excel) to double check for duplicate entries, and then sends the email within 12 hours of you submitting the email list.
The results were rather staggering with how many reviews we actually received. The hotel nearly doubled the number of reviews being entered onto TripAdvisor and maintained its number one position for full service hotel (currently ranked number two overall to a small, remote lodge with only three cabins.) The results with TripAdvisor Review Express were great, but we wanted to take it further and switched to a different service.
Guestfolio is a fully featured CRM (customer relationship management) system that is quite powerful. It acts as a mobile concierge, providing information to guests before their arrival (restaurant information, activities, room upgrades), but also handles emails to guests: confirmation emails, surveys, newsletters, and more. I will focus on the survey portion today.
Guestfolio works by integrating with your property management system to pull out the guest information directly without any exporting/importing being done by a manager or Front Desk member. It also pulls the information out immediately after a reservation is made, regardless of the source (online, phone direct, walk-in), which is how it can be incredibly useful for confirmation emails. With the survey emails, you have full control over the design of the survey. Everything from what is asked, to what kind of answers you would like back (ratings of 1-10 or check boxes), is all within your grasp.
Apart from designing the survey, you also get to specify the email being sent and when it is being sent (immediately after check-out, a few days later, etc.) After finishing the survey, guests have the option of sending their responses to TripAdvisor without much trouble. The hotels get the double benefit of having a more informed survey response, and a public boost for their TripAdvisor ranking.
The one hotel that has implemented this has been receiving the same number of TripAdvisor reviews as with the Review Express, but double the number of surveys overall with lots of feedback of the overall operation. The responses have been quite useful in giving positive feedback about our Front Desk staff members by name, and also noting minor problems directly to us without publishing a lower ranking on TripAdvisor.
Guestfolio is a paid service, so I would suggest hotels ask for a demo directly of the dashboard and the services provided before committing. It is a great investment and the hotel's guests have been quite appreciative of the service, as well. It is one of the hidden amenities that guests love to discover that helps separate the hotel from its competition.
If you are looking to gain the same kind of information that the Guestfolio surveys would provide you, at a more affordable price, you can create surveys using SurveyMonkey at low prices. Their basic service is free, with the caveat being you are limited to 100 total responses. Not exactly great for a guest satisfaction survey. The monthly plans that allow for full customization and unlimited responses start at under $30/month CAD. The full customization includes adding your logo to the survey, exporting the data, full support, and more.
I have created a demo survey on SurveyMonkey to give you an idea of how it looks and functions: Demo Hotel Survey.
If you have other ideas on how to improve your TripAdvisor ranking, feel free to leave a comment below.