Trip Advisor – It’s official, we are finished!

t4b_logo2What a wonderful partner Trip Advisor used to be.  Before, guests used to write lovely things in our guests books, and the only people who saw those glowing remarks were the people who came to our B&B, that is, the ones who had already made the buying decision.

But Trip Advisor changed all that for us.  For a reasonable monthly fee, it provided us with the tools to show our wonderful reviews to the world and encourage others who had not yet made the buying decision to come and stay.  The relationship was good, we were in love.

But then something changed.  Trip Advisor became possessive and greedy.  It had an affair with booking.com and other online travel agents and suddenly we had to cohabit or else be penalised by them and their misleading information on our business pages, and lose the ability to convert those browsers into website visitors via our direct link, unless we towed the line.

Then along comes another partner Trip Connect.  The new kid in town that connects our business page on Trip Advisor to our very own online booking systems on our websites.  For an extra cost of course.

So now we are being informed of an increase of 37.2% in the monthly rate just to have a business page on Trip Advisor’s site, which no longer converts to website visitors because we are not in bed with their online travel agent partners, nor do we want to pay per click to get page visitors to our website via their Trip Connect service, when we are already paying for the priviledge of having a page on their site anyway.

So now Trip Advisor, we are finished.  I loved you once, but no more.  See you around.

YH in Garden

 

 

 

 

Yvonne Halling helps small hospitality businesses to make more money and have more fun through her proven 5 Step Process.  Want to find out more? 

CLICK HERE to book a free consultation.

32 Responses to “Trip Advisor – It’s official, we are finished!”

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  1. Rosalind Nelson says:

    I am new and do not have a web site up and running as yet, but my friends have been complaining to me for a long time about Trip Adviser etc ..including taking bookings for rooms that have already been booked, and still charging the commission and the CC fees etc..

    About people turning up on their doorstep in the middle of the night for a room that was never confirmed – and then getting REALLY angry with the Inn – all because the site took the booking and did not forward it to the Inn owner.

    I think you have the power to start a revolution – maybe we should start our own, non profit site just for our own members – what do you think?
    Ros, Maui

    • Hi Ros and thanks for your comment 😉 There are all kinds of problems with Trip Advisor, the main one being that they have forgotten who made them successful in the first place – us! I think it’s a great idea to start a new review site. Would you like to join me in creating it?

  2. Bebe Woody says:

    Interesting … this week I received a call from TripAdvisor saying that I had forgotten to renew my business listing. Last year it went to $599 … when they notified me that the new rate effective in Jan was $1,100 with everything going on it slipped through the cracks. So, when I asked them about the $$ they said the fee was $2,100. I said “Wait a minute! The information I received was that you had gone up to $1,100 not $2,100”. They said that the rate had gone up again since Jan. I told them there was no way I could afford to pay that with only 8 rooms. That I would think about it. Hung up. One hr. later they called me back to say they had been able to get the rate lowered back down to $1,100 and it could be paid monthly.

    I said ok … wondering if it is really worth it! Now, I am wondering even more! Are you hearing anything about TripAdvisor and what is going on?

    This stuff is really getting out of control!

    Bebe

  3. In complete agreement they are no way as good as they used to be. I too will leave them when our “contract” expires.

    • Hi Kathryn and thanks for your comment. I think the main problem is that they have forgotten who made them successful in the first place, and are now turning around to bite us on the bum! Time for a change – will you join me?

  4. morag says:

    Is it not possible to have trip connect, without paying the business listing fee?

    • Hi Morag, why do you need Trip Connect? It’s basically pay per click. Could you learn to do your own marketing rather than paying someone else to do it for you?

  5. Artemis says:

    Hello! I used to pay for a business listing Trip Advisor but since last year I have the free listing only. It was very expensive anyway.

    • Hi Artemis, and thanks for commenting. It used to be very good value for me, and I was happy to pay, but now they have made it almost impossible for visitors to my page to click through to my website, unless I play their game with their online partners and other PPC tricks. No thanks 🙂

  6. I do not have a business listing as to be quite honest I cannot justify the expense however I have been concerned by two changes to Trip Advisor. Firstly, even though I use Booking.com and Laterooms my listing can still show up as ‘No dates available’ which I would imagine customers would interpret as no availability. I asked Booking.com about this and they stated that Trip Advisor is choosing whether to post availability which they receive from OTAs on to each property. That suggests to me that they may be trying to push out those without business listings. The second worrying thing is that they are now displaying listings by ‘availability’ as a default, so again they are pushing small business’ into buying Business Listings which after the winter we have just seems unfair. Your assessment of their greed, I agree with wholeheartedly but I think they are also becoming an arrogant bully.

    • Hi Francesca and thank you for commenting 😉 I agree with everything you’ve said, especially the last part 😉 They are forgetting who made them successful in the first place. In my experience, unless you operate your business on a win (for you) win (for your customer) and a win (for anyone who helps you) you are going to find yourself out of business at some stage. We, through business listings, used to be their customer, but now the general public is their customer, unwittingly, but they don’t pay – we do. Something’s not right there 🙂

  7. I do not understand what the problem is? Within the first 2 years of paying for my TripAdvisor listing I decided that it was not bringing in enough bookings to justify the money they charged – I went out of being a paid member of TripAdvisor many, many years ago. Yet, I still can receive reviews and I can still use those reviews to market myself.

    • Hi Philda and thanks for commenting. Trip Advisor used to be a huge source of referrals for me and I was happy to pay just €30 per month, for the traffic and to be able to respond to reviews and be professional. Until they changed the rules. How are you using your reviews to market yourself? Just curious 🙂

  8. Chris Swaap says:

    We tried a business listing way back when they started in the UK. I think it started at about £400 for the year but we got them down to something like £50 but stopped after a year as even £50 was over priced.

    It always amazes me how many accommodation providers proudly slap a TA widget (that they haven’t the faintest idea what it actually does) on their home page giving TA all that prize ‘link juice’ so TA can improve on THEIR organic search for your area etc. Brilliant (if you are TA). Same goes for Booking.com etc.

    A new ‘review site’!!! Please not another one.

    • Hi Chris and thanks for your comment. I think TA was great when it started, as a review site. The trouble is they are now a price comparison site, and that doesn’t work for me. Think of Direct Line Insurance – never found on price comparison sites!

  9. I cancelled my business listing – far too expensive and NO return on investment by way of bookings. I then cancelled booking.com expedia and venere – and guest what – no more of their listings on MY Trip Advisor page, competing with me and me having to pay them commissions. Now I am on trip connect but for some reason it is not linked to my real time availability. Somehow, since not paying them anything at all (except for a commission on any bookings) I have had four times the number of enquiries! No bookings, but better by far than it was when I was shelling out money to them.
    Not enamoured but it is better for me than it was. They have taken down my website and contact details – now I just have to ask them to connect to the booking system. I don’t mind them taking a commission if they are doing the work. But it’s the sheer greed that gets to me!
    They should go back to being JUST a review site – not a booking site.

    • Hi Lynda, yes indeed. When they were a review site, they were brilliant. Now they have forgotten who made them successful – US! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  10. Penelope Spicer says:

    Like others here I too paid for a TA listing for one year and found that I got no guests from it………..a few enquiries but nothing concrete. So this year I could not justify the cost when I got an email advising me that it was time for renewal so wrote back and declined. I then got a reply and a follow up phone call trying to persuade me to rejoin listing all the so called ‘benefits’ which to date in the past year I had had none of. My other gripe with TA is that absolutely anyone could write a review (good or bad) about me or any other business without ever having tried the said business out. When I pointed this out on the phone conversation I was told that an enquiry constitutes having had dealings with a business and therefore justified a review!!!! So no I am not with TA other than a free listing and in looking at the site I have now discovered that TA have removed all chance of anyone even making contact with me by removing email address or phone numbers…………in effect trying to punish me. I’m ok with that as like you I believe they are greedy and not offering me anything worth paying for anyway. From a lot of what I have read TA is on its way out and is fighting for its life now but not successfully.

    • Hi Penelope and thanks for commenting. I hear so many stories like yours. I had a great experience with Trip Advisor in the beginning and they brought me many website visitors. As a review site they were brilliant, but now they are on a world domination plan and anyone who gets in their way will be punished. I don’t want to sign up to that. I’m not surprised it’s fighting for its life, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Thanks again 🙂

  11. Ken Schmidt says:

    We have the business listing and TripConnect. It is a viable reservation stream and in our case has enough ROI to continue. When you look at the sticker price for the business listing and TripConnect it is a shocker, but it is comparable to the time and effort we spend working on our SEO keywords if you put a price on your time. I own a software company that offers property management that interfaces with TripConnect, Automated Contacts, and I manage 4 boutique hotels in Mexico, Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen so I know both sides. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out to me.

    • Hi Ken and thanks for commenting, and I agree with you. However, I spend no time on SEO or keywords, but focus instead on building relationships with groups of people I can serve. I built my 6 figure bed and breakfast on making connections and focussing on a particular group of people who would appreciate what I have. I used Trip Advisor as a review site and it formed part of my referral system. I use no external booking sites or directories. The internet and all its systems is a great tool, but never forget that relationships with real people are what will pay your bills, and what matter most. Thanks again 🙂

  12. Hello,

    Like many of you we signed up with Trip Advisor Business Listings some years ago but came out of it last year when the fee shot up. We are a small B& B taking only 5 guests so have to watch our overheads carefully. We have their (2011) Certificate of Excellence widget on our website and visitors to the site can click on that to go straight to our T/A site, free of charge! Our bone of contention is that they will not update their certificate although we have a score of 96% from 54 reviews; their argument is that we haven’t had enough reviews!!!

    Our current bone of contention is with Booking.com reviews to which we cannot respond . As our latest one is from a guest who basically came to the wrong B&B (we are a “HOMESTAY” rather than a conventional B&B). We’re going to a Booking .com “Roadshow” next week so we hope to raise the issue there.

  13. Peter Keynes says:

    Thank you so much Yvonne for raising this prickly subject!
    We have been keen advocates and beneficiaries of the huge pool of Tripadvisor’s readers over the 4.5 years we’ve been operating Inn the Tuarts in Busselton/Margaret River, Western Australia. The biggest plus was the younger demographic introduced to us through TA whom we probably wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
    Like you we’ve been alarmed by the increased cost of a Business Listing, yet at the same time a reduction in its value through increased competition from the “Alligators” (Aggregators or OTA’s like Booking.com, Agoda, et al) Wehave also been very concerned and communicated such to TA, about their deceptive practice the when a guest clicks on “Professional Photos” they immediately and without notice find themselves on Booking.com. I contend that this is not legal in Australia, if not elsewhere as well.
    For us the final straw which may break the camel’s back is the introduction of Trip Connect, where we get the option to pay even more to get visitors to look at our own website. One option is to ditch the lot! If we were not listed with any Alligators, then we wouldn’t need to pay Tripadvisor at all to get referrals to our website. Haven’t worked out the relative value of this yet, but its definitely on the list!
    Yes, count me in on a new review site. Although some B & B’s don’t like them, Air BnB have a great review system, in which the reviewer must correctly identify themselves – no aliases, and the B & B can review the guests, too. Brilliant!
    All the best, Pete

  14. Rita says:

    Was never in love with tripadvisor, facebook, airbnb, booking and all the others whom are in for the money. Just worked towards findability of our own website. Yep soon Google would like us all to pay per click (it won’t be long)

  15. Mark Berry says:

    Yes,
    Agree that while Tripadvisor has been a positive for our reputation over the years, we tried a biz listing a few years ago, received a certificate of excellence, then dropped the biz listing and guess what, no recognition from TA for a couple of years, despite overwhelmingly positive reviews. Finally, we received another excellence certificate in 2013.
    Have just begun to move from Siteminder to Channel Manager, who automatically set up a link to TA. When I went to activivate it, I was re-directing to a TripConnect [and Biz listing] subscription with an annual fee of just under US$2000 and around US$2,500 for including mobile functionality. ‘Highway robbery’ for a small operator !
    Cheers,
    Mark

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