TripAdvisor Widgets

Should Hotels Use TripAdvisor Widgets?

Lets imagine you’re a hotel owner and your hotel is pretty damn hot on TripAdvisor.  “Hell,” you say to yourself “We’re flying here – how can we use this to our advantage?”

Whoopee! A neat widget for my website! What's the catch?

Those nice people at TripAdvisor have a suggestion – use one of their widgets.  These little cuties are bits of code that you integrate into your hotel website to show just how wonderful folks think you are on TripAdvisor.

Great!  But hang on a minute – you rarely get something for nothing in this world, and the guys at TripAdvisor aren’t mugs when it comes to marketing themselves.  So what is the catch here?

First snag is, TripAdvisor widgets include a whole bunch of text links to TripAdvisor. How does this help TripAdvisor or harm you? Because it provides them with inbound keyword links using your hotel name, increasing the chances that TripAdvisor will rank highly for search results for your hotel.  So by using a TripAdvisor widget on your site you’re boosting TripAdvisor in the search engines, and possibly harming your own site’s rankings.

This lunch definitely ISN'T free!

Second snag is, once someone leaves your site through that link, they will be hit with a bunch of TripAdvisor ads pushing your competitors.  By sending them to your TripAdvisor page, you might easily lose a booking.

Worst TA Widget

The third snag applies to the widget that shows snippets of actual reviews.

Not only does this one give TripAdvisor link juice, but it also displays content over which you have no control.

If you have a great listing on TripAdvisor and want to use it to your advantage, think hard before using a widget.  You might decide to go ahead anyway, but it’s best to be aware of what the widget is REALLY for – to promote TripAdvisor.

Be creative – there are ways of capitalising on a high TA ranking without shooting yourself in the foot.

EDIT 3 Sept 2010

Sorry I didn’t spell out how to use TA reviews without a widget – it doesn’t have to be that clever,  in fact you could just copy them. Here’s an example: http://www.normandie-chambres.fr/ – the side column contains some TA reviews but no link to TA and the site owner has total control over the content. A number of other sites do the same or similar and the average site visitor does not know or care whether the reviews on display come via a TA widget.

Related Articles:

Why Hotels Should Stop Using TripAdvisor’s Rating Widget

The TripAdvisor Review Widget on the Hotel Website: a Good or Bad Move?

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11 responses to “TripAdvisor Widgets

  1. Pingback: TripAdvisor Widgets – Do You Really Want One? | Almost Anything Web & Graphic Design

  2. Hey, really late to this post, but I had something to add. I just watched a webinar (sponsored by tripadvisor) and the guy had an interesting argument. He said that a large number (I forget the percentage) of people polled said the first place they go to after leaving a hotel website is a third party review site. He suggested that adding a trip advisor widget to your page preempts the need for the visitor to leave your site at all.

    So his idea is that TA is so ubiquitous, people are going there whether you like it or not. And your best bet is to use the widget because then they aren’t leaving your site, your booking engine. And they’re not being exposed to all the other offers on TA.

    I’m testing it right now by giving a whole navigational tab to TA. If somebody clicks on the nav tab that says “tripadvisor”, they’ll see the widget. My thinking is that the people who know the brand and trust it will look at that tab rather than leave my website entirely. Everybody else will just ignore the tab. I think it might be a mistake to put the widget on every page as it is distracting to the visitors who don’t know or don’t love TA.

    Thoughts?

    • If they click on the widget they are taken off your site onto the property’s TripAdvisor page, which contains adverts to book other hotels – which is how TA makes its money. The widget does NOT mean people stay on your site, whatever the TA spin doctors may say. What would be the benefit to TA of that?

      By all means use the widget but it’s best to be aware of the consequences. It’s possible to display guest reviews on your site without using the widget http://www.normandie-chambres.fr/ .

      Of course people who are already awware of TA may go there whether the owner likes it or not – but is that any reason for the owner to encourage those who would not otherwise do so, to leave their site and look at adverts for competitors on TA?

      Phil

  3. This sounds like paranoia. It’s the web. You have no control over where people go and what they view. There’s nothing stopping anyone from finding your competitors with a simple Google search or but looking on Tip Advisor. People will always seek out options. And any Google results with your hotel name in it. your site or not, is a good thing. I would be thankful for that. Trip Advisor will always have a million times more “google juice” than you could ever hope to have. That’s a good thing. Also, you end but saying that ther are better ways to take advantage of a good TA ranking… but then don’t share any of those ways. Not very helpful.

    • Everone’s entitled to their view, but I’m not paranoid. Of course, its an individual choice if anyone wants to use a TA widget – I just wouldn’t reccomend it when it isn’t necessary. To introduce a widget on your site designed to direct people to TripAdvisor, when they could view the reviews on your site by other means, seems like poor business practice. On the separate (less important) issue of “google juice”, some pages on TA may have high page rank (a measure of “google juice”) but its inside pages for individual properties aren’t necessarily that hot in this respect.

      Sorry I didn’t spell out how to use TA reviews without a widget – it’s not that clever, just copy them. Here’s an example: http://www.normandie-chambres.fr/ – the R/H column contains the TA reviews but no link to TA and the site owner has total control over the content. A number of other sites do the same or similar and the average site visitor does not know or care whether the reviews on display come via a TA widget.

      I hope that helps 🙂

  4. Sorry Phil, I didn’t mean it to be so blatant. We’re genuinely trying to do a good thing for the industry. We’re not trying to put the big boys out of business, we just want them to play nicely.

    Oops – blatant plug warning! And if we can make http://www.letsbookrooms.com the popular choice for travellers then that too will reduce the fees burden to hoteliers.

    Your point about TA is technically correct but of course TA is owned by Expedia Inc and so it’s no surprise that TA is just a perfect place to harvest traffic to commission based sites.

    I’m guessing you have my email address. Can you contact me directly to discuss your free listing.

    • LOL – don’t worry, I was only teasing. Links to the sites of the people who comment are the lifeblood of blogs – give a little, get a little. 🙂

  5. Phil,

    TA do charge around $500.00 for a direct business listing, but still plug all the other sites. If they take the hotels money they shoud stop trying to earn other revenue. Surely they are not trying to have their cake and eat it?!

    • Fair point. The so-called “Top Values” hotels from affiliate sites do get priority over individual business listings.

      I also don’t see the point of a business listing unless you’re in the top handful on the review rankings.

  6. Love the way you really get to the route of TA’s strategy. There’s a website just launched called http://www.fairerfees.com. It’s a campaign site to reduce commission fees. Check it out, it has a lot in common with your own message. Plus they’re launching a new flat annual fee travel accommodation portal. That’s right, NO COMMISSION FEES and NO HIDDEN COSTS.

    • What the hell – I’ll allow you the blatant plug!

      If you want to offer me a free trial of your service just let me know – I’ll let everyone know if I get any bookings. 🙂

      Of course, TA does not charge any fee for accommodation listings. Just the owner/hotel doesn’t get a choice whether their place listed or not, they don’t get any contact details attached to their TripAdvisor listing unless they pay through the nose for a business listing, and anyone can write a load of crap about them without any justification required!

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