In the beginning there was Trip Advisor, the review site. A hate/love relationship flourished within the lodging industry including bed and breakfasts. No big news here.
‘Slowly I turned…step by step..inch by inch’… and Trip Advisor became the largest travel related website in the world. For those who could see into the future it became inevitable that Trip Advisor would become a travel ‘seller’, going up against the hotel metasearch engines, vying for their position.
That is just what has happened. Here are two stats to illustrate Trip Advisor’s huge influence in the metasearch marketplace.
October 2015 data which includes mobile web and desktop PC visits. For the complete lists of stats see ‘TripAdvisor dominates web visits, so no wonder everyone is scared’, a very eye opening (pun intended) article by Kevin May, a co-founder of Tnooz.
For bed and breakfasts and other small lodging properties, with the emergence of Trip Advisor’s TripConnect, the love/hate relationship continues. Or does it?
I decided to ask some innkeepers who are participating in the program to weigh in on their experiences.
From the Afton Mountain B&B, Virginia.
“We are enrolled only on the pay-per-click side of TripConnect, not instant booking. We’ve actually received a good response (and bookings) from it and will definitely continue. One interesting note is that you don’t need a business listing to be enrolled in TripConnect (at least not the PPC side). Because we are in a less competitive market, our PPC cost is quite low. So our return is extremely good.”
This innkeeper is referring to the TripConnect™ cost-per-click campaign. When you see that in just one month there were over 68 million visitors to Trip Advisor, getting involved with the action appears to be pretty compelling. The CPC campaign allows the guests to book directly with you using TA’s ‘official site’ logo button that links to your website. This is a nice feature, one that innkeepers can possibly love?
Another possible love-in. “Unlike most other travel website “instant booking” options, Trip Advisor’s auction (CPC) model is making it affordable for independent properties and small chains to compete against other travel websites.” Kevin May.
Trip Advisor Instant Booking is in all manner of speaking, another OTA. With a few twists and turns to set itself apart. With seemingly competitive commission rates, plus upgrading to Trip Advisor Business, it can becomes pricy for small businesses.
Like any marketing tool, TripConnect cost-per-click campaign is available to help put heads in beds. It is the return on your investment that is the determining factor. Having the ability to budget and track your clicks is something innkeepers can control.
From the Brewster House Inn, Freeport, Maine.
“We participated for a few months (maybe a year ago) and never even went through our $50/ month experimental pay-per-click budget. We quit, as we felt no business came from it, but that Trip Advisor was really only being used for vetting us, albeit with excellent results.”
Trip Advisor is still the 900 pound gorilla in the room, now we know he is gaining weight. As independent innkeeper business owners you can choose and create our own marketing campaigns. As technology grows it becomes more complicated and challenging, there is no doubt. But…
With Trip Advisor’s increased dominance in the travel world, love or leave it, their huge influence cannot be ignored.
Thanks for Listening,