MAJOR improvement: TA Listens! Finally!

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Arks's picture
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From TA email this morning...

In response to feedback from the TripAdvisor community, we are aiming to combine several accommodation types - including Hotels, B&Bs & Inns and Specialty Lodgings - together into a single 'Places to Stay' view for each destination.

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How do you get your first review on trip advisor?   Have someone you know post a review?

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Ask guests. Don't fake.

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asking someone you know doesn't have to be fake.   I had friends and family stay in the inn and write a review.  They really stayed and they really wrote what they observed.   It's a good starting point.

We also ask every guest as they leave.

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So far it seems our ranking has changed favorable, the app on my phone still lists hotels, inns, and specialty as choices under "filter", also seems to place those with OTA listings at the top unless you also choose to sort by ranking.

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JimBoone wrote:

So far it seems our ranking has changed favorable...

I'm really happy. I went from being invisible unless you selected the  "B&B & Inns" section, to being listed second, right under the chain place that's $50/night cheaper than I am. My reviews and "bubbles" are much better than  theirs, but they have more reviews, and are much cheaper, so I guess that wins the formula calculation, for this week at least.

But now they list me as a Bed and Breakfast, which I'm not. So that will cost me some "no B&B" people, and it will cause confusion with people who expect breakfast and won't get one. Oh well, it's better than it was, but still not perfect!

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Maybe it hasn't trickled it's way here, or won't. We move up and down by 1 or 2 every few days, but basically stay the same. And we are still filtered out on the app, because well, we are B&B.

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Desktop is now automatically incorporating B&Bs into all combined results.  However, since Best Value is now the default setting (which mainly focuses on price) OTAs will always appear towards the top, which is why Trip connect is necessary.  If TA can't access your prices, then there is no way to rank you for Value, and zoom to the bottom you go.   Better to pay a few cents per click than 15%+ to OTAs and lose your direct bookings.

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Anon Inn's picture
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Happy Dance.  Number two now if searching mytown on TA.  Thank you Momma and Arks!

Momma Smurf's picture
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You're welcome!  My wish is that everyone would just give it a try and enjoy a Happy Dance!

Anon Inn's picture
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Lodgings of all sorts that use bkng dot con and are in my general region show up first.  I am now about 20 down the list even if I specify bed and breakfast.  My description still states #1 but is effectively no longer visible.  At all.

I've just signed up for Trip Connect.  We'll see how it goes. 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/CostPerClick

 

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Anon Inn wrote:

I've just signed up for Trip Connect.  We'll see how it goes. 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/CostPerClick

Good move!  Was just analyzing my TC clicks and they've gone up substantially!  Trip Connect definitely works.

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How does tripadvisor work?  You pay them a fee and they list a link to your booking engine on your site?  How do their fees work is it pay per click or a flat fee?  What is trip connect?

I can go read up on tripadvisor to find answers but I'm more interested in your personal experiences.

How much business do you get from trip advisor?

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I've never paid them.  I used to get A LOT of business from them due to the reviews.  Last year way down.  This year will likely be nothing from them unless I start TripConnect.  I'll try it I think. 

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If they cannot get you to part with your money one way, they will find another.

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

How do their fees work is it pay per click or a flat fee?

I pay per click. Most months they bill me about $10. For that, I get an "Official Site" button on my TA listing. When it's clicked, it takes the guest to my own ResKey reservation page.

I wish the button said "Hotel Site" or something more clear, because most people probably don't know what "Official Site" means.

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Thank you!  That helps.  Would you say you get many bookings from them?

 

Arks wrote:

MNVineyardBB wrote:

How do their fees work is it pay per click or a flat fee?

I pay per click. Most months they bill me about $10. For that, I get an "Official Site" button on my TA listing. When it's clicked, it takes the guest to my own ResKey reservation page.

I wish the button said "Hotel Site" or something more clear, because most people probably don't know what "Official Site" means.

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MNVineyardBB wrote:

Thank you!  That helps.  Would you say you get many bookings from them?

I'm paying about $1/click. I checked and last month I had 55 clicks, so will be paying a lot more than the $10 I mentioned above. But I'm not tracking how many clicks turn into booked rooms. I'm just glad they're clicking.

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Arks wrote:

MNVineyardBB wrote:

Thank you!  That helps.  Would you say you get many bookings from them?

I'm paying about $1/click. I checked and last month I had 55 clicks, so will be paying a lot more than the $10 I mentioned above. But I'm not tracking how many clicks turn into booked rooms. I'm just glad they're clicking.

Arks, set up a separate reservation page in ResKey for TA, have it pull the same availability as your website reservation page.  I have all reservations from the TA ppc appear in red on my reservation calendar so I can track.  

 

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Copperhead wrote:

Arks, set up a separate reservation page in ResKey for TA, have it pull the same availability as your website reservation page.  I have all reservations from the TA ppc appear in red on my reservation calendar so I can track.  

I've had that all along. Just never thought to color code it so I could check it! Thanks.

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Copperhead wrote:

Arks, set up a separate reservation page in ResKey for TA, have it pull the same availability as your website reservation page.  I have all reservations from the TA ppc appear in red on my reservation calendar so I can track.  

Yes, I've used a separate cloned Res Key page for TA from the get-go.  I use the RK star codes to filter mine. 

I also have individual RK pages linked to all my other referral sources to easily keep track.  Aids in monitoring your RK Availability Searches also.

 

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Momma Smurf wrote:

Yes, I've used a separate cloned Res Key page for TA from the get-go.  I use the RK star codes to filter mine. 

Does the star appear automatically when the reservation comes through TA, or do you have to manually star it?

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I manually Star it. Does Copper have a way to automatically make it Red? Would like to know how?

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Momma Smurf wrote:
I manually Star it. Does Copper have a way to automatically make it Red? Would like to know how?

How do you know to star it? How do you know it's a reservation that came in via TA?

Here's what I set up today. Don't yet know if it works or not...

On the Settings tab:
On the Reservation Status page, I created a new status called TripAdvisor and set it's background color to something different and noticeable from my others.

On the Website Tab:
On the Reservation Pages page, I opened the one I use for TA and, Under Settings 2, I set Reservation Status to TripAdvisor (the new status I created above).

I am hoping this will cause new reservations that come from TA to show up on my Reservation Manager tab Availability page as something different from the usual "Confirmed" green status I see for new online reservations. So far, nothing has showed up, but I just created this a few hours ago.

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Thanks!  I figured there was a way to do it.    I Star it because lots of times, people end up going from the TC RK page to our website and make the reservation directly from our website RK page, not TC, so that wouldn't show up automatically as a coded color.  I monitor RK Availability Searches daily. And my RK header has a "button"  to go directly to our website for more info.

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Momma Smurf wrote:

...people end up going from the TC RK page to our website and make the reservation directly from our website RK page, not TC, so that wouldn't show up automatically as a coded color. 

How do you know which reservations started at TA?

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Because the Trip page shows up first when they check Availability. So when the reservation IP address matches a Trip Availability Search, it's conclusive.

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Momma Smurf wrote:
Because the Trip page shows up first when they check Availability. So when the reservation IP address matches a Trip Availability Search, it's conclusive.

Hot dog, yes, I'm seeing them. A good Plan B if I can't get RK to color them automatically as being through TA.

But now I'm in a bad mood. Saw one guest who did availability searchs at my regular website reservation page at 10:50, 11:14, and 11:16 a.m., but ended up booking through the TA reservation page at 11:26! So it cost me a click.

But, that just shows she was interested, but went to check me on TA before booking, and once there she saw my "Official Site" link to book through. So the system worked, and I should not be in a bad mood over the click. But of course, I am Eye-wink

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Momma Smurf wrote:
Because the Trip page shows up first when they check Availability. So when the reservation IP address matches a Trip Availability Search, it's conclusive.

Ah, OK so I just need to find out the TA IP address and watch for it.

I see lots of mention of TA on the availability searches, but on actual reservations made, the availability search activity just says stuff like...

...Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 11_0_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/604.1.34 (KHTML, like Gecko) GSA/46.0.189829128 Mobile/15A432 Safari/604.1

But it also gives IP of the reservation, so I'll look for TA IP there. Thanks!

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I have them set via Reservation Status instead. With TA having colour #AAFF44 as a background colour. 

Then in Settings, External Settings, MyA, I have TA set as "Status" of "TA" and it highlights it automatically.

I also created a custom field and populate it, since X can come in either as HotelCollect or Prepaid, I need to know which to do, manually.

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Generic wrote:

I have them set via Reservation Status instead. With TA having colour #AAFF44 as a background colour. 

Then in Settings, External Settings, MyA, I have TA set as "Status" of "TA" and it highlights it automatically.

I also created a custom field and populate it, since X can come in either as HotelCollect or Prepaid, I need to know which to do, manually.

Yes that is how I have done this as well.  

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Generic wrote:

Then in Settings, External Settings, MyA, I have TA set as "Status" of "TA" and it highlights it automatically.

Since I HAPPILY dropped Booking, I don't use MyA anymore. Hoping the method I described above will work for me. We'll see. Thanks!

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One day, BK/X sent me a note comparing rates from my website to theirs... and they got a detailed message on how they screwed up.. compared the wrong rooms, forgot to compare the details (one had a deposit, other didn't) and they got read the riot act... that if I got one more email like that, that didn't include the parity rules, that the contract would be considered broken, by them. I think they turned off the scraping, because I have never received another email from them on the matter.

I do have a deal with X where the local rep can email me when she sees certain things, like a single night set with 2 night minimum. And gentle reminder to open dates... but they already know, the pressure doesn't work with me.

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I had a guest say they preferred yelp, of all things!

I was trying to find a phone number today and none of the places had a website. I had to use the map. I clicked and got a Yelp page. The whole top of the page was ads from similar businesses. Not the actual business's info. Why, again, would I pay Yelp for a listing?

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Well, when you pay Yelp, the ads for other business on your listing page go away. Supposedly.

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I will hold my opinion to see how it works out for everyone.  In my town I am listed with the 1 hotel already so I will not see a change.  

What I would have pulled for is a more visible option tab to view by: hotel, B&B, Vacation homes, other specialty rentals.  

And what about the mobile site?  That is where B&B's are currently lost.  

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"Specialty Lodging" may end up including every AirBnB in your area. 

I'm encouraged by this news, but I'm not counting my chickens just yet...

 

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PhineasSwann wrote:

"Specialty Lodging" may end up including every AirBnB in your area. 

In order for Airs to be included, one would have to have the ability to review them on TA. 

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T/A is still in business? Read https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/02/23/where-will-tripadvisor-inc-be-in-5-years.aspx and while I don't agree that their review site is still powerful, because it's losing value daily. This is the important quote...

"...because management -- in my opinion -- has proven that it doesn't know how to monetize what it has, take smart risks, or fulfill its greater mission...."

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I am one of 3 B & Bs in a 2-county area - the only one in my County - but it will be interesting to see how I show up. There are hotels/motels up the ying-yang now.

I just hope it helps B & Bs in general.

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This is awesome!  AND the reason why everyone should join TripConnect ASAP so your results won't be buried!

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Momma Smurf wrote:

This is awesome!  AND the reason why everyone should join TripConnect ASAP so your results won't be buried!

Not a chance. TA has treated their B&B customers like garbage for way too long. I'm not paying over $1000 to have a TA business listing PLUS pay even more for TripConnect. Google's reviews carry more SEO weight online than TA anyway and Google is free. 

I think TripAdvisor realizes that Google's reviews are putting them out of business. Google also has a "TripConnect"-type link via the OTAs. If you're listed on an OTA, you've already got a paid link. TripAdvisor is on its way out. Good riddance! 

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notAgrandma wrote:

Not a chance. I'm not paying over $1000 to have a TA business listing PLUS pay even more for TripConnect.

Momma Smurf wrote:

BTW, we had $28958 in reservations last year from TA.  Trip Connect cost was $260.

About the same as mine. I would never pay $1000 to have a TA business listing. TripConnect pay-per-click costs me about $20/month, and my own website shows up on my TA listing so people can book easily from TA.

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BTW, we had $28958 in reservations last year from TA.  Trip Connect cost was $260.  A whopping 111% ROI booked directly through us. Commission costs via an OTA would have been a minimum $4344 along with all the hassle 3rd party guests present. Seriously?? 

Folks need to keep an open mind re the constant flux in our industry.  It's not black or white.  Good or evil.  It's all about using objective analysis to achieve success vs tying oneself down with preconceived notions and bias.

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I hope I’ve set this up correctly.  I un-clicked all the the country boxes except for the US and European countries previous guests have come from.  

I didn’t see how to place a bid on click amounts but did set my daily max to US$10.

any idea how long to see a change in visibility results?

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Yes, exactly.  Unclick all those other click-bait countries! 

If you go to your Campaign Manager, there should be an Edit Button under the average CPC?  Or it may not show until you get results. 

Who are you using for Reservations?  You may also need to enable TC in their External Connections.  John from RK stated that it takes a few days to filter between TA and them.

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ResKey.  Thank you, I've just done TC in External Connections. 

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I totally disagree notAgrandma.

This is a major step by TA to NOT treat B&Bs like garbage and include them in all results.  They need to be given credit for this.

You do not have to have a Business Listing to use TripConnect.  Google does NOT have a TC-like link, unless you are willing to fork over 15%+ commissions to OTAs AND give up your identity and web presence preference to OTAs forever.  THEY have become the scourge of B&Bs.

TA has upped their marketing dollars and TV exposure tremendously beginning last fall and are promoting themselves as aggregators of OTAs.  Indeed, they are now a very simple way to compare ALL OTAs in one place.  They are not on their way out and are strategically adapting.

#MakeItWorkForYouAdapt

 

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Yes, we'll have to see how they implement it, but it sounds like a move in the right direction. Ideally, B&B's and Specialty Lodging will now be mixed in with the hotels, based on rating. On the whole, I think B&B's generally outscore hotels.

And being in the mix in any way is better than it is now, where only hotels show up, and guests have to select "Specialty Lodging", if they can find it, to see non-hotels.

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OTOH, my place has been around longer than most of the hotels. My reviews have history. At least 15 years.

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Not sure it's the plus we wanted. Maybe if you're in a place with 10 overall properties. If there are 200, with large hotels in the mix, your mom and pop shop may find themselves buried.

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