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Game Changers

Grow Your Business with TripAdvisor

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 10:49am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 February, 2018, 10:49am

With over 600 million user reviews and opinions covering 7.5 million accommodations, airlines, attractions, and restaurants, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site that empowers travellers with insights to make smart and confident decisions, so they can make the most of their trips.

While TripAdvisor is a trusted companion for travellers across the globe, the platform is also an effective marketing tool that helps businesses thrive by connecting them with its community of global travellers, and drive growth strategies.

Businesses come in all sizes and the ones that do not have deep pockets for marketing can benefit greatly from working with TripAdvisor. Promotion on the platform is free and thus provides a level playing field for them to compete based on things that matter; excellent customer service, experience and value. With real time, genuine, user reviews, each business can connect with their potential and existing customers directly, enabling them to play to their strengths.

Reviews can really go a long way, especially for the smaller businesses or new entrants to the market, to establish themselves. There are no better ambassadors for a business than its customers, and when they endorse what it is trying to sell, the value that brings can often be staggering.

“In the age of social recommendations, customer reviews represent the voice of the customers. Comments on TripAdvisor that highlight our uniqueness and the quality of our service are certainly more convincing and effective than our description on our own website,” says Cecilia Leung, Director of Hong Kong Foodie Tasting Tours, the first tour operator that solely focuses on food tours to be licensed in Hong Kong.

Many business owners are leveraging TripAdvisor to drive revenue and management reputation too. Take Ding Dim 1968 for example, a 50-seater eatery that serves traditional dim sum with a contemporary twist. Launched in 2014, Alex Chau, its CEO, had to work very hard to get his business right to ensure it isn’t written off as a short-term gimmicky restaurant. With half of clientele being local, and the remaining a 50:50 split between expats living in Hong Kong and tourists, reviews from all corners of the globe have helped cement Ding Dim 1968’s reputation as a high quality and authentic dim sum restaurant.

According to Chau, “Through TripAdvisor we get travellers from all over the world, but international visitors may never have tried dim sum, and it may be different to what they are expecting. Making dim sum is an art so we let them see it.”

Comments posted online, both positive and negative, can also be used to motivate and engage staff. Hotel Stage, an independently-owned 97-room boutique hotel, has taken onboard their guests’ experience as an internal communications tool. “Our guests may comment, for example, that the staff are not smiling or attentive enough. If a review is not so good, I tell my teammates we need to do better. With positive feedback that actually name members of staff, I go and thank them personally,” says James Hung, the hotel’s General Manager.

Travellers will spend much time and effort researching the likes of accommodation and flights when planning a trip, but for places for refreshments and a rest when in-destination, the lookout for nearby cafes is only likely when a drink is needed or when the stomach rumbles. Through its free listing service, TripAdvisor helps small growing businesses increase visibility. With more independent specialty coffee shops opening all over Hong Kong, online reviews can help smaller boutique outfits make headway in this crowded market, and it is exactly what N1 Coffee & Co has leveraged to get ahead of the game.

El Au, the Founder, comments that in the first 18 months, business was steady but it was not progressing as much as he would like. It was then he discovered TripAdvisor. “We then began noticing an increasing number of tourists seeking us out, not just finding us as they walked by. They were from all over the world and many told us they found us on TripAdvisor,” adds Au. He estimates over 60% of his customers originated from TripAdvisor.

As more travellers seek authentic experiences, small businesses need to find a way to break through the noise. User reviews is one of the best ways to know what one is doing right, and to discover what needs to be improved. With its stringent monitoring process and the sheer scale of its travel marketplace, TripAdvisor is able to provide the best gauge on where each business is at.