Ask restaurateurs their opinions on TripAdvisor and you can expect a response not too dissimilar to that regarding Marmite. Whether you love it or hate it, the fact of the matter is, the number one leisure and dining review platform is here to stay and its usage is consistently growing.
TripAdvisor is in effect a Search Engine in it’s own right, one specifically used to locate a place to eat or sleep, or both. Just like in Google, those that sit close to the top of its results benefit so much more than those that who choose to ignore it or not to pay it the respect it deserves.
3 facts to consider:
Now you know how important it is to succeed on TripAdvisor, here’s 5 ways to go about doing just that:
This should go without saying, but a half completed profile is not going to capture the audience or their imagination. Fill out everything, add all the cuisine types you offer, make sure you web address is typed in correctly and the physical address is pinpointed to the exact location you’re at. Oh, and don’t forget to add some photos…
Many restaurateurs overlook the value of high quality food photography, which is a real puzzle. The main selling point to 99% of restaurants is the quality of the food on offer. Professional photography of your dishes, along with appealing interior and exterior shots are the most effective way of enticing potential customers online. With todays big, bright and high definition monitors, photography looks better than ever, so use this to your advantage to draw in a crowd. You wouldn’t stop in a hotel room without knowing what the bedroom looked like and customers are no less curious when it comes to their food.
The more reviews the TripAdvisor community leaves about your restaurant, the greater the chance you have of making the more prominent positions. If you’re the kind of owner that spends time talking to the restaurants guests, casually drop in to the conversation about your presence on the review platform. Diners often enjoy speaking with the proprietor and restaurants management, so you’ll find the response rate is often surprisingly high. Other offline methods of encouragement include displaying messages on the menu and table signage, bottom or reverse of customer receipts and even on business cards with the restaurants TripAdvisor details on to it hand out to departing guests.
You can supplement these tactics with your online armory of website, email and Social Media presence in a bid to attract as many of those that have visited and enjoyed your offering to share it with the wider world.
Even the worlds best restaurants cannot leave every customer completely satisfied, so be prepared for the occasional negative review. As long as you deal with them in a polite and efficient manner you can often turn a negative into a resounding positive. See this example from Pinche Pinche in Leeds – of how a nasty review has been completely spun around to give the reader empathy with the restaurant.
Now imagine if that response wasn’t posted, surely you would be avoiding this place like the plague, but is that still the case? In summary, whatever the nature of the comments received, be sure to reply to each and every one with a well constructed response, your presence on the listing will show potential customers that you are interested in serving them and that you listen and respect the opinions of your existing customers.
Top Tip – Set aside a bit of time one night each week to respond to your reviews. How does TripAdvisor Tuesday sound? That way you will maintain a responsive and fully updated profile all year round.
TripAdvisor offer a range of embeddable widgets you can incorporate in your website to promote the reviews you’ve received. This acts as a fantastic trust indicator for potential customers who have landed through a search query performed in Google, been recommended from colleagues at work, driven past or even seen you in a glossy magazine, basically everyone visiting your website will hold a more positive view of your restaurant if complimenting reviews from previous customers are displayed on your website. Statistics show that around 50% of all visitors to a restaurant will have checked it website at some point before dining. First impressions count, so make them as positive as possible with your base of impartial reviews.
Keeping the listing updated with revised menus, new pictures, and other related details will make sure that people know you’re active and progressive. The benefits to a restaurant from TripAdvisor can be exceptional if you play the game right. Today’s consumer trusts others’ opinions more greatly than ever and review sites like this are holding a stronger weight in their decision making process.
If you’ve had experiences with TripAdvisor, be it good or bad, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. And don’t forget to check out the rest of restaurant marketing idea posts.
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