• Adele Gutman Milne, CHBA, CHDM

Tripadvisor Returns to Traveler-Centric Mission with Tripadvisor Plus Service

Updated: Mar 17

ALERT: This review was done based on a 10% discount as presented to Adele and others by Tripadvisor in a Media Briefing. If you are presented with a higher minimum discount, please be careful in making your decision if this is an offer that will work well for you. If you have any questions about how to determine if this is a good decision for you, please feel welcome to reach out to Adele who can help guide you through the decision-making process that she uses.


I won’t lie. Tripadvisor has been my favorite website for two decades. If you sell travel, it should be yours too! Hundreds of millions of people use the site every month. If you know how to make your business stand out from the crowd on Tripadvisor, and believe me, I do, you can leverage the world’s largest travel guidance website, and giving yourself a huge billboard. I have devoted 20 years to honing a five-star review system that is so powerful in attracting bookings I really don’t know why everyone doesn’t work this way.


If you are not focusing on Tripadvisor, guest review scores, and guest satisfaction as a whole, you are leaving a lot of money on the table. Earned media. E-Word of Mouth. Reputation - As marketing goes, it can’t be beat.


Well, you know how it is. When you love a product already, sometimes you can be a little skeptical about change. So I was holding my breath for a while, excited but a little worried about what our friends at Tripadvisor were planning with the new Tripadvisor Plus product.


I was wondered, is this going to be something that is just going to cost hotels more money, an expense that will diminish profits, plus some higher rates passed on to our guests, without actually delivering more travelers?


Were you worried? Well, my fellow hoteliers, let me set your mind at ease and give you the facts.


With Tripadvisor Plus, there is no annual, monthly, or sign-up fee for hotels.


There are also zero commissions. That’s right. The Tripadvisor Plus rates you offer are not commissionable to Tripadvisor, although you are going to have to pay your GDS transaction fee. If that thought gives you pause, this may be a good time to renegotiate your GDS and Transaction feels with your CRS.


You set a “fenced-in rate” of 10% or more off your bar rate, which frankly, you may already be doing for your own members, Booking.com Genius Rates or Expedia Members. Except, with the OTAS you are paying a hefty commission, and with Tripadvisor plus you are not.


Now, there is a commitment hotels need to make to add an “added value” benefit or experience for the guest for at least the value of $20, so you can pick something that has a high perceived value and a low cost to deliver. That’s a pretty easy ask. You can always sweeten the deal in terms of discounts or perks for “need” periods.


I love to have full control of my offers. If you are going to sell out your New Years’ Eve package no matter what, you can go right ahead into the GDS and close that offer. You can make minimum stays or restrictions as you do other rates. However, if you are busy but still have OTA rates open, I don’t know why you would close Tripadvisor Plus rates when the math is probably going to come out that Tripadvisor Plus is more profitable for you than an OTA booking.


And, the client is yours! No one is blocking you from marketing to them or signing them up for your own program. You might be thinking, oh sure, when was the last time I got proper guest contact details from a GDS booking, but Tripadvisor is going to be keeping an eye on that, so let them know if you have any issues. I know that they are committed to making sure hoteliers see that reservation as a direct booking.


An imagine how happy your guest will be when they get the extra perks! Not everyone is going to get those perks of course. Only people who pay $99 a year and sign up for Tripadvisor Plus are going to see the deal.


Hotels that sign up for TP will get elevated in the “value” sort search results, and the better the deal, the better the lift of visibility will be. If you do turn off the Tripadvisor Plus for a high-pressure weekend, you’ll still get the visibility boost as a Tripadvisor Plus member.


You’ll stand out with a nice Tripadvisor Plus Badge. Not every hotel will be invited. You will have to pass a minimum standard in review scores since the TP offer is going to be directed to Tripadvisor’s most high-value members.


Tips:


Remember it is a fenced-in rate. Make sure you have an offer that is enticing and delightful to the traveler yet a win for you to get direct and commission-free.


Make sure you have as many 5-Star reviews as possible. If you need help with this, I promise, I can help you like no one else can. We can work on this on a short-term coaching program. You can schedule a free 1st session with me, and I will look at the reviews with you and give you as much free advice if I can. No Obligation. I am happy to help everyone recover as quickly as possible.


Make sure that the rate is competitive with the OTAs. It won’t help you get direct business if you give better rates to OTAs.


I love that this move by Tripadvisor is making a strong distinction from the OTAs which focus on commission, and this focuses on creating great experiences and providing knowledge and value for travelers.


I'm very eager to hear how it is working for you. Please comment below or write to me at adele@adelegutman.com


If you are a hotelier who needs help with Tripadvisor, please feel free to sign up for a free or low-cost first session with me at www.adelegutman.com


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