7 musts to grow your business with TripAdvisor

I consult with companies and individuals on how to maximize their TripAdvisor listings to gain more customers, make more money, and provide world-class customer service.

When I opened my show in a theater two years ago, I quickly learned the importance of TripAdvisor; and we now have a love/hate relationship.  This love/hate thing we have going on has taken my show to #1 in the town where my theater is located and #2 in a 50-mile radius.

I love the people who come to my show due to TripAdvisor, but I hate the amount of time and dedication it takes to maximize my TripAdvisor listing.

Despite the time and dedication that TripAdvisor demands, here is my recommendation... If you are in the entertainment or service industry, you should be in bed with TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor has become a very important tool for travelers around the world.  Before I book a night at a hotel in L.A. or make a reservation at a local restaurant on Martha's Vineyard, I read the reviews on TripAdvisor; and so do millions of other people every day.  I read the "Excellent" reviews as well as the "Terrible" reviews, because you get a very clear picture of the pros and cons.

Here are 7 TripAdvisor musts; but you only have to follow them if you want to become and stay successful, make more money, and provide world-class customer service.

  1. You must ask for a "5 Rating (Excellent)" review.  Take note... I did not say you must ask for a "review".  Be specific, and ask for the exact rating you want.  Ask ... Ask ... Ask, because the answer is always "no" unless you ask.  If you are not comfortable asking for the highest rating possible, then the product or service you offer needs improved… and quickly; because you are not providing what your customers demand and deserve.
  2. The response that you leave is just as important as the review.  You must leave a response to every review.  The reviews tell a potential customer what others think of you; your response to the reviews tells your customers how committed you are to customer service.  If there are no responses to your reviews, I move you to the bottom of my list.  Likewise, if your responses contain "LOL", ";-)", "U" for "you", "2" for "to", or any other texting shorthand; your listing also moves to the bottom of my list.  If you cannot take the time to leave reviews, then I feel that you do not care what your customers think.  If you use texting shorthand in your reviews, then I feel that you are most likely cutting corners when it comes to customer service... Oh, and you're an idiot.
  3. You must make it personal.  When you leave responses to your reviews, address the reviewer by name, reference a key point from their review that is important to them, thank them for the review and recommendation, invite them back, and make them feel like VIPs each and every time they return.  It is much easier and more cost effective to keep a current customer happy and loyal than it is to find a new one.
  4. If and when you receive a negative review, do not let them see you sweat.  Despite what you have been taught, the customer is not always right.  Your customers and potential customers will respect you more if you are confident and committed to your values and service.  If the customer is wrong, tell them that they are wrong (nicely), tell them why they are wrong (nicely), explain what happened, tell how you responded and the actions you took, and reiterate your commitment to world-class customer service.  You can only do this, however, if you truly provided world-class service and did everything right.  You must stand up for yourself.
  5. You must report reviews that do not meet TripAdvisor's guidelines.  Learn the guidelines, print them out, post them next to your computer, and report negative reviews that do not meet guidelines.  Many people who leave negative reviews write those reviews while in a negative state, and the reviews are emotional and lack detail.  TripAdvisor favors details and facts over emotions, and you can have reviews that do not fall within the guidelines removed from TripAdvisor.
  6. Managing your TripAdvisor listing is a daily endeavor.  You must check your listing at least once each day, respond to any and all reviews that you receive, and report reviews that violate guidelines.  It is important that any potential customers see that you are attentive to your customers.  When looking at the first few reviews in your listing, potential customers must see responses from you.
  7. You must repeat this process until you retire or something bigger and better than TripAdvisor comes along.