The Secret to Improving Your Tripadvisor Ranking

By Erick Tomaliwan

Guest ExperienceGuest Experience

how to improve Tripadvisor ranking

If you run a tour, accommodations or activity business, then TripAdvisor is one of your best friends — and one of your most frustrating adversaries. Even Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has said that  ‘nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.’

Improving your Tripadvisor can boost your business because people are more likely to trust the judgment of their fellow travelers. But how do you get into the top ten, or even the top spot for your area? Boosting your business on Tripadvisor is as simple as asking for reviews.

Why improve your Tripadvisor ranking 

As an experience provider, a high ranking shows that you’re a trustworthy business with a reliable reputation. Your business will perform better when compared to similar businesses in your area if you’re able to consistently get 4 or 5-star online reviews. By asking guests to share online reviews you’ll find out whether you’re matching customer expectations – and where you can improve.

Tripadvisor acts as a virtual recommendation system, providing real-world opinions accessible from any web-connected device. People are wary of businesses they haven’t heard much about, and this explains the importance of having reviews from previous guests. 

Tour companies are unlike other types of business Travellers read reviews to help them decide whether they should book. According to this article, 84% of people believe that reviews hold the same value as personal recommendations.

With online travel agents like Tripadvisor, an accurate listing helps in strengthening your brand’s online reputation. Optimizing your listing with accurate details and quality photos will help with improving your ranking in Tripadvisor.

For tour operators, the Tripadvisor ranking formula is determined by three factors; including the frequency, quality and quantity of your online reviews. Tripadvisor evaluates reviews that provide value and highlight what customer experience your guests can expect when they interact with your tour business. 

tripadvisor on mobile phone

The Tripadvisor Ranking Algorithm

Tripadvisor’s ranking algorithm looks at three elements to determine where you’ll land on the list. These include the quantity, recency and quality of your reviews. When calculating your rating, Tripadvisor Popularity Ranking also factors in the consistency of incoming positive reviews.

Based upon these Tripadvisor insights saying how “the quality and quantity of reviews over time provide us with a view of each business’s consistency. A business with consistently good reviews will rank higher than one with a similar number of good and poor reviews.” 

Getting better Tripadvisor reviews means more potential customers will see your business in their search results. Earning a high-performing Tripadvisor listing takes work so, how do you get more of the right type of online reviews to help boost your Tripadvisor ranking?

1. Quality

How much useful information is in each review? Do guests highlight whether they feel safe, well-cared for and treated with respect? Quality reviews include detailed, firsthand opinions with insight that helps future guests. Guests appreciate a seamless experience and this doesn’t stop once the booking is over. 

Encourage guests to share their feedback with thoughtful questions and prompts that draw out their emotional connection to the experience. You can boost your Tripadvisor ranking by responding to guest reviews on the platform.

2. Quantity

The higher number of positive reviews – the better your ranking. The Tripadvisor ranking formula takes into account your total number of reviews to determine your ranking. Your tour business will be compared with a similar company in the same geographic area. 

A higher amount of positive reviews is indicative of a quality experience, which is why you want to encourage guests to leave 5-star reviews.

3. Recency

Is your last review from before COVID? Travelers today are looking for reviews that demonstrate a business is putting guest safety front of mind. Plus, people want to know what to expect as part of the guest experience.

A review posted pre-pandemic won’t hold the same weight as one detailing an experience during COVID-19. More recent reviews come across as candid, honest and relevant for readers. To readers, these reviews are more likely to reflect what they can expect if they book now. And, guests are more likely to trust a recent testimonial over outdated that might be months or years old.

Tripadvisor home page

How are bookings and Tripadvisor rankings related?

Increased popularity = better visibility and more bookings. Tripadvisor boasts 463 million travelers each month, with travelers across the globe using the site to browse 859 million reviews. Be sure to claim your business listing so you’re set up to get more reviews on this popular travel site. 

More importantly, investing energy into real-life connections with your guests will naturally translate to glowing reviews. A 2018 update in Tripadvisor’s algorithm highlights why it’s best to manage your ranking, rather than starting with a clean slate. In some ways, reviews are like credit scores. It’s easier to build upon what you already have than to start from scratch as you aim for 5-star reviews. 

Tripadvisor considers the age of reviews in their algorithms; the more recent a review is, the more powerful it is.

person researching tripadvisor ratings on mobile phone and laptop

4 ways to improve your Tripadvisor ranking

Asking for reviews is key but, improving your Tripadvisor ranking is all in how you manage guest feedback. People are more inclined to leave a review if they have an incredible experience. Readers will also notice if the business owner regularly responds to customer feedback on Tripadvisor. 

Try using tools within your online booking system like automated emails that include surveys. Reviews help you to learn what guests value in their experience as part of your Guest Feedback Loop Strategy.

Designed to ask guests for reviews, analyze responses, act on their insight and thank them for sharing their feedback – it’s all part of building a tour business people can’t help but rave about. And, it starts with asking your happy guests to share reviews.

woman looking up tripadvisor reviews

Focus on asking questions that will help guests share valuable information for future travelers. Look at feedback as an opportunity to learn from your guests and a way to improve your Tripadvisor ranking.

By making a point of responding to Tripadvisor reviews, you show guests that you welcome feedback. This helps to encourage future guests to share their own reviews. 

Here are 4 tips to keep in mind when asking for a review:

1. Ask guests for feedback while the memory is fresh

Timely feedback requests allow guests to share reviews shortly after they return home. In your post-booking thank you message, let people know how much you enjoyed hosting them. Reiterate how much you (and future travelers) value hearing feedback about the experience.

2. Include a guide for what type of information you’d like guests to say to share

It’s easier to write a detailed review with useful prompts. Using leading questions like ‘what was it about the experience that stood out to you most?’ or ‘what would you say was the most memorable part of booking with us?’ or ‘was the booking experience easy and in line with what you expected?’ helps guests frame detailed answers. Using open-ended questions will create more of a conversation with your guest and reinforce the memories of the positive experience.

3. Ignite a sense of community

If guests have a happy experience to share and believe their review will be helpful for future travelers, it’s a win-win! If your booking system offers automated emails, use them to prompt your guests to review your tour business on Tripadvisor. 

4. People are more likely to leave you a review if you make it easy for them

By personalizing your thank you message and including direct links to Tripadvisor, you make the ‘ask’ feel more natural. Remember, you don’t need every guest to write a review. But, asking them to can make a world of difference in your Tripadvisor ranking. 

In your feedback request email, include hyperlinks to your Tripadvisor listing. Direct links make it easy for people to click and share an online review, especially on mobile. Using surveys to prompt guests for detailed feedback goes a long way in getting the right kind of reviews.

When to ask for reviews

Asking for reviews is all about timing. Imagine yourself in a guest’s shoes where it’s a few days after they enjoyed the experience. They’re sharing the memories with friends and family about their time on vacation. With the experience fresh in their mind, this is a perfect time to request a review.

Enter Checkfront’s post-booking automation emails. Your emails should always provide value to your guests, especially when you’re asking for something in return. The main purpose of your first follow-up email should be to let guests know that you appreciate their business.

A little thank you can go a long way in building a connection with your guests. And, automated emails are a powerful tool for your business if used properly.

How to setup Checkfront follow-up emails to get better reviews

Timeline: One day later

Email notification scheduling in Checkfront for 1 day later

Sample review request message: 

“Hi [guest name],

We loved having you [ join the tour – visit us for the first time ] and are so glad you chose to book with us. We’d love to hear your feedback and it also helps future guests know what to expect. Is there anything we did to make your experience easy/make your vacation more memorable? Thank you for supporting our team!”

[link to leave a Tripadvisor review]

Cheers, [your name, business, email] 

After you first send a review request message, be sure to follow up. Aim to remind guests within 2 weeks to one month from your first email prompt. Guests know how much businesses value feedback, so make a point to ask for those magic reviews.

Timeline: 30 days later

Checkfront Email notifications scheduling for 30 days later

Here are few tactics to heighten the chance of a guest leaving you a review: 

  1. Personalize when possible. People are 22% more likely to open an email with their first name in the subject line.
  2. Improve Emails with Mailchimp. Checkfront integrates easily with MailChimp so you can create personalized templates and track all of your email analytics.
  3. Follow up 14-30 days after your first email request. People are busy, and even if they enjoy an experience, sometimes they need a little nudge to share a glowing review online. 

Remember that Checkfront supports Tripadvisor Connect, which allows you to include real-time availability, pricing and bookings as part of your Tripadvisor listing. This also redirects customers to your Checkfront online booking page when they click to purchase. 

With the combination of a Tripadvisor business account and Checkfront’s integration, you’ll be well on your way to climbing the ranks of TripAdvisor.

couple travelling during COVID-19

Maintaining your Tripadvisor ranking

The secret sauce for boosting your ranking starts with asking for reviews. The second part is responding to all guest feedback and thanking them for writing about their experience. 

While it can feel a bit forward to ask for guest feedback, you can also train your guides to ask for reviews. Mention how much you value hearing from guests and how Tripadvisor reviews help more people to discover your business. People appreciate being allowed to share valuable feedback. 

Travelers prefer to hear directly from other guests because it helps them by answering questions or addressing concerns. Hearing from previous guests gives people a better idea of what they can expect from a business. 

Remember that Tripadvisor’s ranking formula considers whether you’re responding to positive reviews. In fact, according to a Tripadvisor survey, “guests are 77% more likely to book when they notice owners responding to reviews.”

The benefit of replying to guest testimonials also gives you a chance to let people know about recent improvements or renovations you’ve done to make your business better.

This is the basis for Tripadvisor’s success – traveler’s opinions. Without the depth of user-generated feedback from the travel community, it wouldn’t have the same influence on search rankings. As you market your business, keep Tripadvisor in focus with a memorable, seamless guest experience as your first priority.

Want to rise in the rankings on Tripadvisor and get more raving reviews?

Take our free course on the Guest Feedback Loop Strategy

And discover how to improve your Tripadvisor ranking.