The marketing manager of a hotel found himself surrounded by piles of paper one day as he conducted a thorough investigation of his hotel finances. He had inherited a marketing budget and expenses, but was stressed and frustrated. What opportunities were there for him to improve? In particular, was he wasting money on a TripAdvisor business listing subscription? From his perspective, he had barely seen a penny in return. The sting of remorse set in as he pondered, “Is a TripAdvisor Business listing worth it?”
If you’re speculating whether a TripAdvisor Business listing is worthwhile, our experience has given us a few tips and tricks to know for sure.
We understand that one of the greatest challenges for any business owner is figuring out which investments will pay off in the long run. With our knowledge and experience, we can answer questions you have about various marketing strategies.
What Would Make a TripAdvisor Business Listing Worth It?
TripAdvisor is the largest travel website on the Internet, and millions of travelers visit the website daily for recommendations and information. That being said, knowing whether you’re enjoying a good return on investment from your TripAdvisor business listing depends on analyzing your data.
More on that later.
The major selling point of a TripAdvisor Business listing is the opportunity to post specials and a link directly from your listing to your website.
But where else can you find a business that’s created a system where:
- Your guests provided content for free about you to their website
- They sell you a link to your website from that content?
Why Does TripAdvisor Claim a Business Listing Is Worth Paying For?
Some of the major reasons we hear include:
My competitors are paying for a business listing
While this may be a good enough reason for some, our perspective is that the money spent on a listing (in New York City, some hotels spend over $10,000 per month on listings in high-competition areas) would be better invested in operations to improve your guest experience.
But that’s just us.
We’re making our website more accessible to potential guests that find us on TripAdvisor
You’re likely spending a significant chunk of your monthly marketing budget on a link from your TripAdvisor page to your website, all so that TripAdvisor users can click that link.
If someone is savvy enough to find your listing on TripAdvisor and read reviews on a phone, tablet, or computer, they are probably savvy enough to open another tab and do a Google search for your business name!
TripAdvisor Business Listing Review from One of Our Clients
A customer once came to us concerned about whether they should renew their existing subscription with TripAdvisor. At the time, the customer was paying the now-low rate of $1,000 a year and wondered if such a hefty price was even worth it. Of course, we took to Google Analytics to find the answer, and these were the results we discovered:
- The small hotel owner received 688 referrals through TripAdvisor, a 47.6% increase from the previous year.
- Of the 688 referrals, 8 converted into online bookings. This may not sound like much, but these guests contributed to $3,539 in revenue for our customer.
- This customer has a 50/50 online/phone booking ratio. We assume that ratio holds true here, so there were actually 16 converted bookings. (8/50% = 16)
- Overall, the hotel earned over $5,000 in bookings with a TripAdvisor Business listing. Since the online travel community only continues to grow, there is a chance you could benefit from this worthwhile investment, too.
Keep in mind that these numbers have changed. With few exceptions, our customers have witnessed large price increases for their TripAdvisor business listings.
Still not sure if a TripAdvisor Business listing fits your business? Sign up for a month and put the cost of that investment towards market research. Then, compare what your hotel earned from its listing in Google Analytics to decide whether you’ll continue the subscription.
How to Calculate ROI and See If a TripAdvisor Business Listing Is Worth It for You
To determine if a TripAdvisor business listing is worth it, there is a simple formula you can use to determine your approximate return on investment (ROI). Divide the price of your subscription by the total number of clicks your website has received from your TripAdvisor business listing. You can easily find this information on Google Analytics. Normally, you want to see an average of $2 per click from a source of high-quality traffic like TripAdvisor.
How to Optimize Your TripAdvisor Business Listing
Simply listing the name and location of your business is not enough for a magnetising TripAdvisor page. To receive more traffic, and more bang for your buck, it’s important to optimize your listing for the best possible results. Here are just a few examples that will help you get started.
Write a Detailed Description
According to TripAdvisor, 92% of travelers choose accommodations that list a detailed description about the property. This goes to show that the more information you reveal on your page, the more likely a visitor is to book with you. Avoid copy that sounds like a sales pitch or commonplace ad copy. Instead, focus on things that separate you from your competition and promote your property’s key features.
Upload Your Best Photos
We live in a society that’s visually driven, and uploading photos caters to what your future guests want to see. Add quality images to your page that encompass the essence of your accommodation and highlight what makes it unique.
Keep Your Information Up-to-Date
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be amazed by how many TripAdvisor business listings contain outdated or incorrect information. If that’s not enough to convince you, Reviewtrackers estimated a total of $10.3 billion in sales is lost due to inaccurate data. Double check to ensure your phone number, address, and other important information is listed correctly.
For more information on optimizing your TripAdvisor business listing, check out Search Engine Journal.
Always Run a Special Offer
Special offers help your business listing get extra attention with the Special Offer icon. As such, we recommend always having a special offer running, even if it’s not that special. Maybe you have a standard offer of complimentary gourmet breakfast; swap it out for something more aggressive by season. You could also feature a package and price the two together as a special offer.
TripAdvisor Business Listing Rates
How much does a TripAdvisor business listing cost? It depends. A flat annual fee is calculated based on your property and your needs. It’s important to determine if this investment will fit into your budget, so log in to review your TripAdvisor business listing and subscription rate.
When Is a TripAdvisor Business Listing Not Worth It?
A TripAdvisor business listing is not for everyone. In fact, there are circumstances in which we do not recommend that you renew your subscription. We will illustrate a perfect example using another experience from one of our bed and breakfast customers.
Recently, a customer approached us with a unique situation. After analyzing traffic from TripAdvisor compared to her annual subscription rate, we determined she was spending $6 per click. While her inn was ranking highly, there wasn’t as much competition in the area as she originally believed. Despite a high ranking (which, with low competition in the area, meant her property didn’t need a paid subscription anyway), the number of visitors from TripAdvisor to her site didn’t justify the cost of a subscription.
Ultimately, we advised her against continuing with the subscription. If you end up paying a high cost-per-click rate, experience a low ROI, and have hardly any competition, a TripAdvisor business listing may not be worth it.
How to Cancel Your TripAdvisor Business Listing
If you decide this feature isn’t right for you, you can always cancel. Businesses that unsubscribe within the first 14 days receive a full refund. Within the first 30 days, customers who cancel get a prorated refund, and so on. Check TripAdvisor’s Business Listings Terms and Conditions for more information about cancellations and refunds.
More Bed and Breakfast and Hotel Listings for You to Consider
Regardless of where you want to list your hotel, our recommendation is to diversify your online hotel distribution strategy. Do not trust that your guests will only find you on TripAdvisor, or Google, or Facebook. Expose your business as much as your budget allows.
Many online communities can provide you with much-needed exposure. While you are considering your TripAdvisor Business subscription, take a look at the websites that we recommend for our hospitality marketing partners.
Directories That Are Bed and Breakfast-Focused
The following websites all have their own following and fans. Listing your property on these sites is a way to ensure you’re found by their fans, so you can turn them into fans of your business. These may be worth considering in your mix of directory listings.
Well-regarded for its exclusive list of luxury bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and inns, Select Registry is more than a directory, though that’s one service it provides to its members. Member inns are reviewed by an impartial third-party, which ensures quality. This is the most expensive option of the alternative bed and breakfast marketing platforms.
This website is a great tool for travelers and innkeepers alike. BedandBreakfast.com offers exposure to millions of travelers, receive valuable guest interaction, and more. Bedandbreakfast.com has switched to a per-booking fee, so your listing is free until someone books.
For less than $19 a month, BBOnline allows innkeepers to create their own advertising package and listing. Your listing is seen by thousands of new customers each month, some of which may become future guests!
Want to Find out Whether a TripAdvisor Business Listing Is Worth It for You?
To request a free TripAdvisor ROI & Analytics Analysis from a member of our expert bed and breakfast marketing team, be sure to fill out our online form.
Are you ready to attract more business to your bed and breakfast website? Q4Launch can help! Our integrated bed and breakfast marketing approach has produced impressive ROIs time after time with responsive website design, targeted content creation, lead generation tools, and so much more! Learn more about our hospitality marketing services and find out how we can help you.
Colin Pearson | Director of Marketing Services
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