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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Hotels with decent reputations are anxious to get the benefits of more TripAdvisor reviews, an impulse that could help TripAdvisor keep Google and other hotel review sites in the rearview mirror.
Oh, that TripAdvisor is smart.
The hotel review giant, which hosts more than 100 million reviews and opinions on its sites and apps in 30 countries, just figured out a way to stretch out its review lead even further past wannabes such as Google, and online travel agency sites.
After testing it since November 2012, TripAdvisor today officially launches Review Express, a feature that enables registered hotels to bulk upload up to 1,000 guest email addresses at a time, add a message with the hotel logo, and then TripAdvisor will email guests in the hotels’ name to prod them after their stays to write a TripAdvisor review about the hotel.
A first-mover in user-generated hotel reviews, TripAdvisor already has scale and a huge review lead over competitors, and Review Express — if it is adopted by large hotels — will widen the gap. That, in turn, would enhance TripAdvisor’s already-to-die-for SEO, and advertising revenue.
The hotels can’t offer incentives or solicit positive reviews in these Review Express emails, but nonetheless there are a lot of benefits for the hotels in this — and mega upside for TripAdvisor, too.
The Review Express emails provide a link to the hotel’s “Write a Review” page on TripAdvisor, which will boost the number of reviews a hotel gets. The more reviews a hotel gets on TripAdvisor, assuming they are mostly positive, the higher a property’s ranking would trend in TripAdvisor — and that turns into additional bookings and revenue.
Users will see a message underneath TripAdvisor reviews solicited in this manner that reads: “Review collected in partnership with (hotel name).”
For example,the Gem Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan boasts 345 TripAdvisor reviews, is ranked #177 of 434 hotels in the five boroughs, and has been using Review Express for several months. On its first TripAdvisor page of reviews, seven of the 10 reviews were collected through Review Express, a signal that new tool is enhancing the property’s foothold on the most influential hotel-review site.
The hotel is part of Choice Hotel’s Ascend Hotel Collection.
The big question is whether midsize and large chains will adopt Review Express since most have their own customer relationship management tools, although they are focused on things such as their own loyalty programs, and not necessarily TripAdvisor reviews.
Review Express, of course, would bulk up TripAdvisor’s review totals and help it widen the distance between itself and competitors.
And, Review Express is only the latest feature that TripAdvisor has launched of late to increase engagement among hoteliers.
Several months ago TripAdvisor introduced a form of Review Express with EasytoBook.com as the launch partner, enabling it to collect reviews that would be displayed both on the agency site and on TripAdvisor.
And, a couple of weeks ago TripAdvisor debuted a TripAdvisor Rave Review widget, enabling hotels to feature one positive TripAdvisor review on the hotel site, and then link to the rest of their reviews on TripAdvisor sites.
But Review Express, depending on the extent of hotel adoption, has the potential to really push TripAdvisor further ahead in the review collection game.
Here’s a TripAdvisor video about Review Express: