How to Make ALL Your Trip Advisor Reviews Positive

Posted on Friday, July 11 2014 by Samantha Lyth

I am a bit of a foodie and love nothing more than finding a “hidden gem” of an eatery. In my book that equates to good food, good value, good atmosphere and (preferably) an independent.

When I find one I like to celebrate this on Trip Advisor. If I am going on my travels I will look on Trip Advisor to give me some pointers as to where to eat. I am savvy enough to realise that the reviews are people’s opinion and opinions differ. Even within my own family we have firm disagreements about what is a good film or good food, so there is bound to be a range of views across the public. What I look for is that there are more good reviews than bad and how the business responds to reviews. The more reviews the better as that gives a more balanced overall perspective.

I am not alone: 61% of the population look to Trip Advisor to help them choose accommodation, restaurants and attractions. Not only that, but 79% of those visitors are reassured by management responses to negative reviews.

In other words, you can make even your negative reviews in to a positive.

I know from chatting with owners of Bistros, tea rooms and restaurants that many of them hate Trip Advisor. Well sorry, but Trip Advisor is here to stay, so you need to start using it as part of your marketing strategy. It is where your new customers are coming from.

Chains such as La Tasca are putting Trip Advisor in the centre of their customer feedback system. Independents need to as well. A quick trawl on Trip Advisor shows that few restaurants, bistros etc respond to any reviews, good or bad. If you ignore reviews you could be missing out on new business and in building a loyal fan base.

How to make all your reviews positive

  1. Respond to all reviews as quickly as possible – customers have taken the time to review you, so make time to respond.

  2. Use good reviews as a way to promote your business – in this example from La Tasca they are mentioning the loyalty scheme. Depending on the season you could mention an offer, a change of menu or suggest they sign up to a newsletter so they get information about special events.

  3. Use negative reviews to let the reviewer know you take their comments seriously. Thank them for their time, apologise, explain how you work, say what you have done to rectify the problem, be genuine and give them the opportunity to contact you directly. Here is a great response to a reviewer who didn’t like the meals she chose:

  4. Remember you are not just responding to the reviewer, you are responding to anyone who looks at your Trip Advisor entry, so ensure that the responses are not “stock responses.” This is a good response, again from La Tasca, but if you look through all their responses, they are very repetitive.

Dealing with bad reviews may need a change in mind set from you. Don’t obsess about the negative – you probably get 20 good reviews for every bad one. Don’t take them personally and don’t respond in a defensive way. Criticism on Trip Advisor shows authenticity and indicates that the reviews aren’t just from your mates.

Use negative reviews as an educational tool – perhaps you do have problems with big parties, slow service or cold food. Perhaps you are not recruiting the right people or perhaps you are aiming for the wrong market. Trends in comments can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed – sometimes as the owner/manager you might not be seeing the full picture.

It seems amazing to me that so few eateries are actively using Trip Advisor. It is a free marketing tool. It can help your business build an international reputation. Ignore it at your peril.