Review Express was introduced in May 2013 and TripAdvisor said it is now being used by over 47,00 hospitality businesses, including 30,000 small-to-medium sized hotels and bed & breakfasts.
The email service enables hotels to send customizable bulk emails to up to 1,000 guests, asking them to submit a TripAdvisor review about their experience. A dashboard provides users with a summary about the effectiveness of their email campaigns.
Severine Philardeau, vice-president of Global Partnerships, TripAdvisor for Business, told BigHospitality the latest update includes the ability to fully integrate Review Express with a property’s internet booking engine.
“Once you set up your email template you don’t have to lift a finger – the internet booking engine will tell us when a guest has checked out and the email will go out automatically,” she explained.
“This is great for properties that do not have a lot of resources.”
More consistent reviews
Philardeau said the time-saving capabilities of Review Express make it a ‘great tool’ for hotels and smaller independent properties that don’t have their own CRM tools to leverage.
“The benefit is that they can get more reviews and more consistent reviews, and so make sure that their reputation on TripAdvisor is really representative of the experience they provide,” she said.
A recent study by PhoCusWright revealed that reviews play an important role in the booking decision for travelers, with more than half of TripAdvisor users refusing to book a hotel that does not have reviews.
Philardeau said the quantity of reviews a property also plays an ‘essential’ role in establishing its TripAdvisor ranking.
“The popularity index on TripAdvisor is basically a mix of how many reviews you have, how recent they are and how good they are,” she said.
“So having more and more recent reviews is important for any hospitality businesses.”
Inviting reviews is therefore a vital step for hotels, who should also be monitoring reviews using TripAdvisor’s free email alert system, responding to them in a timely manner and leveraging their TripAdvisor reputation as a marketing tool, Philardeau claimed.
Although some hospitality businesses remain unconvinced about whether TripAdvisor is a help or a threat to business, Philardeau said hotels had to 'wake up' to the reality of modern travel marketing.
“The reality of today’s world is that reviews are key and responding to reviews is a fantastic marketing tool that is completely free,” she explained.
“Hospitality business should really make the most of it, they have the final word and they have a chance to tell their side of the story. You don’t have to respond to every review, I think perhaps that is a misconception that some businesses have, but you should be responding to the negative ones and maybe some of the positive ones to say thank you.”
Peter O’Sullivan, owner of Harrington’s Hotel in Bath, signed up for Review Express a few months ago, having previously sent out emails to guests manually after their stay.
“It’s definitely making a difference to our business,” he said.
“We can see that a higher percentage of people we’re sending review requests to via Review Express are responding back to us and giving us their feedback and reviews, compared to the previous emails we were sending out.”
Hospitality businesses must registered on TripAdvisor to use Review Express.