Accommodation providers: Do you link out to TripAdvisor from your website?

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A client of mine recently listed her Bed & Breakfast on TripAdvisor.com and was given a snippet of code to put on her website which, when clicked, takes you to her listing on the Trip Advisor site.  She was wondering whether she wanted it on her site.

Meanwhile, I was doing research for a trip of my own, and relying heavily on Trip Advisor to select a hotel.  I will choose the hotel based on the Trip Advisor comments as much as on the facilities advertised by the hotel.

Trip Advisor has become a big player in the travel accommodations game, and favorable comments are important.  So should my client link to it from her website?

Pros:

  • The snippet gives past B&B patrons an easy link to her listing on Trip Advisor so they can leave a comment.  Presumably these would be people who are going over their memories of the trip and are revisiting websites of places they stayed and things they saw.
  • If they don’t already know about or use Trip Advisor, this may be their introduction to it, and she would get some comments she wouldn’t have otherwise received.
  • The snippet gives potential customers an easy link to see comments made by others, which is an advantage if the comments are good.
  • Testimonials on your own site serve the same purpose. But comments left on a third-party site have added credibility because the B&B owner does not control them.

Cons:

  • The snippet encourages potential customers to leave her website.  Once on Trip Advisor, they are encouraged to compare her B&B with others, and may well choose to stay in a different establishment.
  • People who are already using Trip Advisor will look there  for comments about your establishment anyway, snippet or not.
  • People who don’t know about, or aren’t using, Trip Advisor, will find out about it.  This could be good or bad, depending on your comments.

Suggestions:

  • Whether the B&B owner puts the snippet on her site or not, she should encourage guests, as they leave, to leave a comment on Trip Advisor, perhaps even giving them a card with the web address, or letting them use the house computer.
  • Your website itself should have real testimonials, with names for credibility.  Keep a guestbook.  If you’re good at what you do, you’ll get lots of lovely comments.  Be sure to ask permission to use them.  Ask whether you can use the guest’s name, or at least something like “Ann K., Maryland”.

What do you think my client should do?  What would you do?

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