The marketing manager of a hotel found himself surrounded by piles of paper one day as he conducted a thorough investigation of his hotel’s 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, his TripAdvisor rep was pushing yet another price increase and was wondering, “Is a TripAdvisor Business listing worth it?”
As a business owner or marketing manager, you’ve probably had similar, if not the same, question. We have helped hundreds of our customers calculate their TripAdvisor Business Listing return on investment and negotiate the cost down successfully. Use our first-hand knowledge and experience to draw conclusions if you’re speculating whether a TripAdvisor for business is right for your company.
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. Just because the site attracts a lot of traffic doesn’t mean you should blindly invest your marketing dollars. Knowing whether you’re enjoying a good return on investment from your TripAdvisor business listing depends on analyzing your data.
Stay tuned for a simple formula to analyze the data.
What’s the hype surrounding TripAdvisor business listings? 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 provide reviews for free about you to their website.
- They sell you a link to your website from that content?
Here are some commonly cited reasons supporting TripAdvisor for business.
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. Earning return guests is a sure way to ensure revenue you can depend on, year after year.
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.
A Review From Someone in Your Shoes
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 per year and questioned if such a hefty price was worth it. Of course, we took to deep-dive into 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 percent 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
There is a simple formula you can use to determine your approximate return on investment (ROI) in deciding if a TripAdvisor business listing is worth it for you.
Divide the price of your subscription by the total number of clicks your website has received from your TripAdvisor business listing.
Price of Listing / Total # of Clicks From Listing = ROI
You can easily find this information on Google Analytics. Normally, you want to see an average of $1-$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 magnetizing 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 percent of travelers choose accommodations that list a detailed description of 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. Mention information and details they can’t find anywhere else online!
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 this guide from 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 don’t recommend that you renew your subscription. Here’s a perfect example from another one of our clients:
- 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 to proliferate your earnings.
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.
Find the Perfect Directory for Your Business
These 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. In doing this, you’re appealing to people who are already looking for your product, which makes them more apt to spend. 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, but highly regarded, option of the alternative bed and breakfast marketing platforms. Select Registry also offers a directory for boutique hotels!
This website is a great tool for travelers and innkeepers alike. BedandBreakfast.com offers exposure to millions of travelers, 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 per 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!
List your property with Hotels.com to feature your deals and packages to potential customers. This site is a popular way that your potential customers browse lodging options. So, don’t miss this opportunity for ample visibility!
Booking.com is the perfect place to post your accommodations. This site hosts lodging types from resorts to cottages. No matter what you offer, someone on this platform is looking for you!
On Trivago.com users filter their search by location, check in/check out date, and room size. This site is an increasingly popular way for travelers to book their next getaway. This site also allows searchers to filter by type of getaway. Do you offer an amazing romantic, family, or weekend getaway? Highlight why potential travelers should stay with you by listing your property on Trivago!
Want to Find out Whether a TripAdvisor Business Listing Is Worth It For You?
Are you ready to attract more business to your bed and breakfast or hotel website design? 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. It’s what we’re passionate about!