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?”
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.
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.
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.