There’s more competition in the tour operating business than ever before, but strategically managing online reviews is one way you can stand out. And when it comes to reviews, Tripadvisor — with its 1 billion reviews and opinions — is one of the biggest platforms out there.
Gaining a stellar reputation on Tripadvisor is no easy feat, though. First, you need to get reviews — and good ones at that. But the work doesn’t end there. As much as travelers look at reviews to make their buying decisions, they also look at how each tour business responds.
In fact, 77% of travelers are more likely to book if they see business owners leaving personalized responses to reviews. Moreover, 67% of respondents note that they find it helpful when they can see the context behind a negative review and acknowledgement from the business.
So, with reviews, you need to stay on top of replies. By learning how to make the most of them — both good and bad — you’ll improve your business and get more bookings.
To help, we’ve outlined how to manage reviews on Tripadvisor and how you can streamline the whole process.
How to Set up Your Tripadvisor Profile
The first step to managing online reviews on Tripadvisor is to set up your profile on the website. If you haven’t already, search for your tour company on Tripadvisor and claim your listing or create a new profile.
Having a Tripadvisor listing ready to go will encourage guests to leave a review and travelers to book experiences with you.
It’s not just guests who are paying attention, though. Google also looks at reviews and takes them into account when determining search rankings, and Tripadvisor pages often rank high for businesses.
With this in mind, include a description, photos, and links to your website anywhere you have a business listing. And make a point to respond to any reviews that have already been left for you.
How to Encourage Guests to Leave Tripadvisor Reviews
Before you starting managing Tripadvisor reviews, you need to be getting them. But that’s easier said than done.
Travelers often only leave reviews if they’ve had an exceptionally good or bad experience. The secret, however, is learning how to ask for guest feedback. Since most guests, if they’ve enjoyed the tour, are happy to leave a review and likely just need a nudge to do so.
Plus, your Tripadvisor ranking is based on three factors; the quality, quantity and recency of your reviews.
So, what does this mean for you as a tour operator?
You want to pour energy into getting new good reviews on a fairly regular basis. Here’s how to encourage Tripadvisor reviews:
1. Ask for reviews at the end of each tour
Train your tour guides to ask for reviews when the tour experience is still fresh in people’s minds.
2. Use a QR code to link directly to your Tripadvisor page
Make leaving a review as quick and easy as possible for guests. Add a QR code to things like your business card or a pamphlet about the tour.
3. Remind guests to share a review after the experience
One to three days after the tour, ask guests for a Tripadvisor review through any follow-up thank you emails or SMS messages that you send following the tour.
Below, you’ll find some useful software solutions to help streamline this process:
- Review Express from Tripadvisor lets you send guests branded emails asking for a review. You can also use the tool to create templates to save time when reaching out in the future.
- Reputation Pro from Tripadvisor lets you send automated review requests via email and SMS message.
- Checkfront allows you to schedule follow-up emails thanking guests for their booking and asking for a review. You can also integrate this with MailChimp to create templates and track email analytics.
- Yonder asks guests for their thoughts and then makes it easy for guests who give you a 5-star review to share this on their preferred online review site.
Now that you’ve got the reviews flowing in, you’ll need to know what to do with them.
How to Respond to Reviews on Tripadvisor
Responding to online reviews shows there’s a human behind your business who cares about your guests and their experience.
Your responses can help turn previous guests into returning ones, explain a bad review, and convince future guests to book. So it’s worth taking the time to reply to each review.
To respond, go to Tripadvisor’s “Respond to Reviews” section of the Management Center page.
Here’s what to say when responding to different types of reviews.
Congratulations! You’ve got a good review. It’s time to say thanks to the guest who left it — after all, this is what you work so hard for.
- Show your gratitude: They’ve taken time out of their day, so reply with a hearty thank you.
- Personalize your response: Mention the reviewer’s name or pull out a detail they highlighted or a particularly positive experience they had.
- Spread the love: Pass on any good feedback to your team to boost morale.
You can say something like:
“Thank you so much for this 5-star review, Sarah. I’m glad you found our tour guide Ricky as funny as I do. I’ll be sure to pass on your kind words!”
Bad reviews happen to the best of us, but thankfully — there’s a way to handle a negative review with compassion and grace. Here’s how to respond to a negative review.
First, don’t just ignore it — as tempting as it may be. Responding to bad reviews is not only for the guest who left the review, but it shows potential guests you care about your business and are willing to step up to make things right.
Here’s what to do:
- Apologize: Even if you don’t agree with the review or it’s a result of something that was out of your control, let guests feel heard if they didn’t have the experience they were expecting to have with your tour business.
- Address the issue: Acknowledge the problem highlighted in the review and thank the reviewer for bringing it to your attention. If relevant, provide a brief explanation for why it happened.
- Fix the problem: Learn from the mistake and fix the issue the guest has outlined so it doesn’t happen to future guests. Pass on any relevant feedback to your guides. Send the reviewer an email or if it requires a little extra effort, provide the option of a phone call to see if you can smooth things over.
For example, you could say:
Thank you for taking the time to share this feedback with us. I’m sorry to hear the tour you joined was too fast-paced. I’ve passed this message to the team so we can work on ensuring this experience is more suitable for all ages and abilities.
Please feel free to reach out via email or phone to give us a chance to make this right.
Thanks again for your feedback.”
The Ugly (Fake Reviews)
Unfortunately, you might get a third type of review: a fake one. Whether it’s a disgruntled former employee, a competitor, or simply a troll, fake reviews happen.
But remember, potential visitors can see your response, so you still have to keep your cool and be polite and professional. After all, there is a chance it’s simply a customer mistaking your business for another they’re trying to review.
As well as checking your records to verify the reviewer’s details, you can often spot fake reviews by the lack of information about the reviewer, limited details about why the tour was bad, or suddenly getting an influx of bad reviews simultaneously.
While Tripadvisor does try to stop fake reviews from getting through, they happen.
If you spot a phoney review, here’s what to do:
- Go to your Management Center Page on Tripadvisor
- Click the “Respond to Reviews” section
- Find the fake review and click the “Report Review” button next to it
- Provide any additional information you can to prove the review is fake
Should you reply to a fake review? If you can’t get it removed, or you’re waiting on Tripadvisor to take action, it can be worth replying so other guests can see your response.
Remember to follow the advice for replying to a bad review above, even if it’s fake. Try something like this:
Thank you for taking the time to share this feedback with us. I’m sorry to hear our tour wasn’t what you expected. However, I’m having trouble finding your customer details in our system or finding a record of this incident.
Please get in touch with [email] so we can look into this for you. It’s important to us that our guests have a great time, so if this wasn’t the case, we’d love a chance to make this right.”
How to Make Responding to Tripadvisor Reviews Quicker and Easier
Responding to reviews is only half the battle, you need to respond in good time, too. Prospective visitors may be checking your Tripadvisor all the time and you don’t want to leave past guests waiting on a response.
Aim to respond fast, ideally within 24 hours, especially for bad and fake reviews.
Here’s how you can make sure you’re responding to reviews quickly:
Turn on Notifications
Ensure your Tripadvisor profile is set up to notify you when you get a new review. Read through and respond to these as soon as you have time.
Instead of thinking of a fresh response each time, prepare some templated replies you can copy and paste in response to different types of reviews.
However, be sure to mix these up every now and again. Guests are smart and can spot a canned reply.
Prepare a few templates to choose from or tweak a detail or two in your replies to mention a guest’s name or something they highlighted in the review to make your response more personable.
A good rule of thumb is to add in one unique detail or element of the experience that makes the guest feel seen and heard when reading your response.
Use Review Management Software
To streamline the entire process, turn to review management software. With these tools, you can:
- Enable notifications: Key to staying on top of reviews and responding quickly.
- Respond through one dashboard: While you can respond directly through Tripadvisor, many tools allow you to respond to reviews on multiple review sites — like Tripadvisor, Google, and Facebook — from one dashboard. This means you don’t have to switch websites and log in and out of different accounts.
- Get useful insights: Some tools pull out common themes in your reviews to give you actionable things to fix or pass on to your team.
Review management software solutions include:
- Reputation Pro is a tool from Tripadvisor, but you can use it to respond to reviews from other sites like Google, Facebook, and certain online travel agencies.
- Yonder amplifies your 5-star reviews through a widget for your website, manages reviews on one dashboard and shows you how particular team members are performing. Yonder also integrates with Checkfront, pulling customer information from new bookings and automatically sending surveys once the tour is done.
What to Do with Tripadvisor Reviews
Tripadvisor review management is more than just replying to feedback as it comes in. You can also use these reviews to improve your tour business beyond boosting your online reputation.
Here’s what to do with reviews once you’ve responded to them.
Share Them With Your Team
Be sure to pass on any kind words — especially if a tour guide is mentioned by name. This helps to boost morale and encourage further good performance.
Taking the constructive elements from bad reviews, while difficult, can also help your team grow. Make a point to add context, or offer suggestions for avoiding similar issues with guests in the future, which will help by reducing the likelihood of bad reviews.
Add Reviews to Website and Marketing Materials
Don’t forget to use good reviews as social proof — especially on your social media channels. Use Tripadvisor review widgets or third-party widgets to embed raving reviews on your website.
Great reviews help by convincing prospective guests of your value, so ensure you have your guests’ permission to share their responses in your marketing materials.
Analyze Tripadvisor Reviews and Improve Your Business
Look through your reviews for common themes. Is the same problem coming up time and time again? Or is there something guests love that you should highlight for future visitors?
You can do this manually or use software tools that pull out key themes and overall customer sentiment.
Managing online reviews on Tripadvisor can feel like a full-time job. First, you need to get the reviews and then respond to them promptly before using them to boost your marketing, improve your team’s performance, and get more bookings.
But with the tips, tricks, and templates outlined in this article, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or time-consuming.
And any effort you put into Tripadvisor review management will be worth it. Past guests will feel heard and valued, and future visitors will book your tours confidently as your glowing online reputation works its magic.
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