TripAdvisor Ranking Tips: Why & How To Get Reviews

Recent research on reviews makes interesting reading and helps guide you on how to improve your ranking within TripAdvisor, Google and any other review sites.

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Good reviews are important, we all know potential guests read and compare reviews before making a decision to book. Maintaining this good reputation has a significant bottom line impact.

Giving good service is always going to be the best way to get great reviews. As the host you’re the one in front of the guest and that makes all the difference … giving you a real advantage over corporate hotel chains. There are however a few tricks that can help bend the curve in your favour because having brilliant service on its own might not generate enough reviews. There may be some gentle prodding required to keep a fresh flow of reviews.

Let’s take a look at a few of the issues. Firstly, WHY you should have a good set of recent reviews, HOW to get them and finally a trick or two to encourage those that you know will REVIEW YOU WELL. We’ll also touch on the danger of putting review links on your website that take possible guests off to another website (where they’re encouraged to book an alternative!)

Why should you try to get a good set of recent reviews ?

1) Fresh reviews are the most important, about 40% of customers only look at reviews from the last few weeks (huge increase from only 18% in 2017). This has a positive impact on hosts that encourage guests to review because they tend to have a constant stream of recent reviews.  

2) TripAdvisor gives higher weighting to the most recent reviews and lowers the importance of older legacy reviews. Favouring newer reviews makes sense because guests want the most up-to-date picture of their potential stay.

3) Getting lots of recent reviews acts as a kind of insurance policy against the (inevitable) odd bad one. If you are unlucky enough to get a poor review amongst all your brilliant ones, it’ll soon sink out of sight if you keep getting new reviews.

4) Properties with more recent reviews will rise-up the ranking compared to those with the same score but older reviews.

How do you encourage guests to post reviews?

A certain number of guest will be regular reviewers and won’t need any nudging, but the majority might need a little prod to post a review. There is no shame in asking for a review, every business needs to know how they’re performing – your guests understand this.

To encourage reviews you could print little business cards with your TripAdvisor link (and maybe an direct booking discount offer for next time they book). Alternatively, you could email or message them after their stay. A little bait sometimes helps so why not use a PromoCode to give them a special returning guest discount?

How do I filter out the best customers to ask for a review?

Your booking system may have its own automatic guest feedback built in? A very effective strategy is to use this initial feedback by thanking them for the great review and asking it to be placed on TripAdvisor. By doing this you are filtering out the best reviewers which will over time boost your review score.

Top Tip: Respond to your reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and others.

Did you know that 89% of guests read the responses to reviews? Replying shows you care and helps you understand precisely what made the difference in the eyes and words of your guests … marketing gold.

This is great news for independent properties because it’s usually the “hosts” that are the differentiator, it’s not the free wi-fi, parking or the marble lobby that get mentioned, it’s YOU the host that makes the stay truly memorable.

Top Tip: Use technology to free yourself to do the important things.

The best hosts use technology to the max – they let their booking engine do the bookings, process payments, update channels etc. investing the time saved delivering a unique memorable experience.  This pays off with a great reputation, more bookings and higher prices.

Top Tip: Review widgets on your website can be tempting…. and costly!

We all want to show off our great review scores but please make sure your review widgets don’t lead guests to a page where they book another accommodation. So many properties just put the review link on their website, leading potential guests off to book with an OTA (at commissionable rates) or not at all. Check your website today, follow the links to see what your web visitors see and where they go, you might be shocked.

Direct booking review widgets are good and freetobook have just launched their new responsive and customisable review widget. 

At freetobook we’re constantly working to free up your time so you can spend it giving guest an amazing experience. We automate payments, guest feedback, online bookings, sending messages, channel management… and so much more.

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We’re family run and independent to the core, always searching for ways to support direct bookings.

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11 thoughts on “TripAdvisor Ranking Tips: Why & How To Get Reviews

  1. We have a particularly bad issue with Google. 6 months ago a guy called James Green gave us a 1 star review when he had never stayed at our property. We tried emailing him with a nice response, he didn’t even get back to us. We have gone through all the online hoops with Google, even had an online chat with a specialist, but Google are still saying they can not remove the review from our listing as Google say that the review doesn’t violate their policies. This is really upsetting us as we’ve only ever had good or great reviews apart from this guy that never stayed with us and this very bad inaccurate review is dragging down our business ranking. The inaccurate review violates two of their policies. Can you help us as I presume you must deal with quite high placed chaps in Google’s legal team?

    1. Hi Keith,
      I took a look at your TripAdvisor and Google reviews and they are nothing short of amazing, you are doing a brilliant job. I couldn’t even find the 1/5 review on Google it is already burried below all the great ones. (I did enventually find it and you have replied saying it looks like a mistake as they never stayed with you, you have done exactly the right thing, any potential customer will see this and read it in the round (if they can actually find it).

      So as the blog says.
      1) A feed of fresh reviews will insure against the odd problem review.
      2) Customers read more than one review, its obvious that a bad one is an outlier.
      3) Reply in an honest way to any reviews, good or bad.
      4) Remove leaky widgets they cost you bookings.

      We do have lots of contacts in Google but they would not be able to do anything to help. I have helped by reporting that individual review as inapropriate (from my personal gmail account) so that might help sink it for you.

      PS: I did notice you have a review widget on your website taking customers away to another website, this will leak direct bookings to other properties, it is something I warn about in the blog.

      We do have high up contacts in Google but they don’t do anything like this.

  2. Hmm, yes, just followed the link to our Trip Advisor reviews from the widget our website. Plenty of other fantastic destinations but no sign of any of our reviews.

    1. Our advise is to remove them, they look harmless but they are not. Simply put they leak direct bookings.

  3. Thanks so much. Really appreciate all your help–general articles like the above and the quick useful unique responses you give in return to my specific queries. All very much appreciated.

    1. You are always welcome, one of our pledges is to inform and help our customers to grow their direct bookings.

  4. Thank you for the tips and ideas. I am building at the moment my rental property which will be ready for rent at the beginning of 2020.

    I have done some testing of the FreetoBook engine making some fake reservations with my name and I am very impressed. It looks very professional with the reservation confirmations in the email body and the PDF attachment followed by the automated request for review after completion of the stay.

    Once I go live with my website and online reservations I think I will start using the “Chat” functionality and potentially the payment functionality. This is my website and can’t wait to start taking direct bookings:

    1. You are welcome, we all wish you a great success and we will support and help you grow wherever we can.

  5. FTB seems to be doing a great job for UK properties but unfortunately there is a lack of support for hosts located elsewhere. At least limited options for us based in India. Ex: Payment processing, Google hotel ads, etc.

    1. Hi, We do our best and have thousands of happy customers all over the world. BUT, Yes we do struggle to provide payment platforms to every country in the world. Stripe will soon be available in India when it is we will switch it on as an option for you, Stripe gets over 90% approval rating from our customers so we are very confident it works well for accommodation businesses. Google Hotel Ads, we are working on making this international, to be honest it is not yet big volume so you are not missing out much.

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