TripAdvisor is a good example of how to build successful business and sustain YoY growth by customers’ usage and engagement. Once a website for hotel reviews, TripAdvisor became an online place where customers can plan and book nearly everything for their trip: starting with accommodation, restaurants, guiding tours etc. Nowadays, TripAdvisor provides both its customers: businesses and travelers, a platform to socialize. Travelers share their experiences via reviews and businesses have an option to respond directly to the traveler.
TripAdvisor is one of the largest travel sites that offers advice from millions its users. With 465 million reviews, covering 7 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions in 49 markets worldwide, TripAdvisor is branded the largest travel community in the world. TripAdvisor attracts 390M unique visitors every month, more than 280 reviews are submitted to the website every minute and more than 10 000 businesses are added to the website and apps every week.
TripAdvisor business growth comes from customers’ usage: the demand for new products and services is generated by customers and their contribution to the content. TripAdvisor has two types of customers: travelers and businesses. Travelers come to the website to research destinations, find the best accommodations, restaurants or attractions; they come for advice. Most travelers are willing to engage: share their own experience in order to help others to make the right choice when planning a trip or when looking for a good restaurant etc. Travelers are valuable contributors to the content. TripAdvisor incentive campaign TripCollective is a contributor program that recognizes traveler every time he/she adds to the content of TripAdvisor website. For example, a review results in 100 points.
There are 6 TripCollective user levels. The level, in which traveler is, depends on how much he/she contributes to the content of the website. The more traveler contributes to the content of TripAdvisor website, the more points he/she receives. TripCollective points do not have monetary value and cannot be redeemed for anything, it is rather a way of TripAdvisor to recognize the biggest contributors to the online travel community . There are also TripAdvisor badges to display the knowledge and expertise on the traveler’s profile. In order to get to the next TripCollective level or get a badge, traveler needs to engage more and contribute more. There are also Helpful Vote Count badges, which are also part of traveler’s profile. Everyone can vote whether a published review is helpful, resulting in the Helpful Vote Count badge. It is also possible to contact a reviewer and ask a particular question in private. All these incentives is an effort by TripAdvisor to become more game-like and social, perhaps one day turning into huge travel social network.
TripAdvisor also provides businesses an opportunity to socialize and engage with one of the biggest travel audience online. Travelers leave reviews on TripAdvisor, based on the review score the best businesses raise to the top of the page and get better visibility, which in turn attracts more customers and drives more bookings. Businesses can earn Certificate of Excellence badge, if they deliver consistently excellent service. Businesses are motivated by TripAdvisor to engage with customers and ask them to leave reviews on TripAdvisor website. For example, TripAdvisor has an option to install Social Media Button to a website alongside other social media icons to make it easier for customers to read and submit reviews about the business. There is also Traveler Reviews Facebook App, which allows to showcase TripAdvisor content, such as reviews, photos etc, on Facebook. The customers can submit reviews directly through the app. Several years ago TripAdvisor partnered with Medallia for customer engagement. Medallia, the global leader in Customer Experience Management solutions, serves some of the largest hospitality companies, such as Best Western Hotels, Omni Hotels & Resort and others. Medallia provides its customers services to capture, analyze and act on customer feedback, regardless of where and how it takes place (including in surveys, social media and review sites). The partnership between Medallia and TripAdvisor enables participating hospitality companies to collect guest reviews on TripAdvisor and automatically alert when a traveler review becomes available on TripAdvisor, allowing companies to respond and engage with their customers.
Lessons for Others
Every customer interaction results in great deal of data. The more content is collected on TripAdvisor website, the more helpful it is for the travelers in finding the best hotel, restaurant and attraction. The more reviews (preferably positive) are generated about the business, the more visible it is on the website and therefore has more opportunities to be discovered by new customers. In addition, TripAdvisor is a perfect platform for businesses to market their product, by simply providing high quality content (information, photos, description etc). Overall, TripAdvisor helps travelers to plan a better trip and set certain expectations based on the reviews; which results in more frequent traveling for longer period. Once traveler experienced something positive, they want to repeat it. At the same time, businesses benefit from valuable insights customers provide in their reviews; and may respond in case somebody had an unpleasant experience. Businesses can benefit with improved ratings and higher visibility by engaging with customers.
Perhaps one day TripAdvisor will become Travel Social Network, if it hasn’t already done so.
Industry: Online Travel Agency (OTA)
Name of Organization Contact: NA
Authored by: Ksenia N
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