Getting Started with TripAdvisor for First-Time B&B Owners
I recently wrote this post about TripAdvisor, but I want to focus a little more on the first-time owner’s experience.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to take a slightly different approach. Your profile probably doesn’t have that much content yet, so there’s less to work with…
But there is a bright side! You have the advantage of starting from scratch. You can learn from others. You can have more influence over the direction your profile takes.
First let’s go over some TripAdvisor options for B&B owners:
- Sign up for a business account (free version)
- Add descriptive info and photos
- Respond to existing reviews as a manager
- Encourage guests to post reviews
There is a paid or premium version. This is optional and may be best only for larger inns and B&Bs since the cost can run over $1,000/year. It’s better to test the service first before investing that kind of money.
So now that’s out of the way, here’s a few tips tailored just for the first-timer.
Preliminary TripAdvisor Research
As a first-time owner, you’re still learning the ropes. Market research can be annoying, but it doesn’t have to be. Pour yourself a glass of wine, curl up with your favorite mobile device, and get down to some quality TripAdvisor time.
Successful businesses are always doing competitive research. See what others are doing on sites like TripAdvisor. (tweet this)
The site is full of seasoned travelers who have lots of points of comparison. They’ve done firsthand research that you won’t find in any official market reports. They’re also way more fun to read.
Look for similar B&Bs to your own and see how they’ve fared. Try looking up direct competitors in your town. That way you can get a very narrowly defined idea of your specific market. You can find out what features of your town are mentioned most often. Use this to build your own marketing material, relating back to your local context.
Are there any exceptionally positive or negative reviews? What is it about other B&Bs that really seems to get people’s attention?
Especially if you haven’t yet started operating, this will help you feel around for the do’s and don’ts.
Remember this is also a great opportunity to differentiate your B&B. Whatever your stage of development, TripAdvisor can help you make sure you offer something that none of your competitors do.
For TripAdvisor Research: Look at TripAdvisor’s Top 25 B&Bs and Inns in the World.
Wait to Feature TripAdvisor on your Website
Visitors to your site often have no prior knowledge of your B&B. There judging you based solely on your web presence.
A meager profile could send the wrong impression. Wait for your reviews to fill out a bit. Let your profile really reflects your strengths, then add TripAdvisor to your official website.
Set Goals: Aim for 5 to 10 positive reviews before creating your own TripAdvisor tab. (tweet this)
The first-time owner might respond: “If I don’t add it to my site, how will I build my reviews?”
There are plenty of other ways to attract positive reviews through personal connections. As soon as you set up Facebook, use TripAdvisor as an opportunity to engage with new fans. Create a post that says “We’re new on TripAdvisor! Tell others about your stay and help us improve!”
Try a similar post on Twitter. The closer this post to your opening date the better. It’s a genuine request. Your first guests and followers will appreciate your honesty. They’ll want to support you on your brave B&B quest!
You can also mention TripAdvisor to guests on the premises of your B&B. Again, try the humble approach. If someone really enjoyed their stay, say you’re just starting out and you’d really appreciate some online feedback.
Don’t forget to order your free TripAdvisor comment cards and place them at the front desk!
Combined with good service and quality rooms, these little hints will help you build some really great reviews.
How to Deal With Negative Reviews
As a new owner, you’re still in the process of trial and error. Unfortunately this means there might be the odd unsatisfied customer. Don’t be dismayed! Remember that the average customer is more likely to share bad experiences than good ones.
The problem is when you’re just starting out, one bad rating can really cut into your positive image.
So what do you do with a negative review?
Always respond! This shows that you care and you’re willing to improve.
Use your first-time owner status to gain some leeway. People are more understanding when you explain that your B&B is new, and you’re still learning. Especially as your negative review gets buried by newer positive reviews, your response will add to a positive image.
The most important thing is that you take charge of your presence on TripAdvisor early. Learn from other profiles, build your reviews, and deal with negative feedback quickly and professionally.
Soon you’ll be accepting your first Certificate of Excellence!
Do you have any questions about TripAdvisor or other online directories? Share your questions in the comments and if you have an answer for another reader please help them out.
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