May 08, 2012

TripAdvisor: Great enabler or evil empire?

Your perspective on TripAdvisor is shaped by where you sit in the industry and the extent to which the reviews are helping or hurting your business. What continues to remain clear is that TripAdvisor can’t be ignored.

For Adele Gutman Milne, vice president of sales & marketing for HKHotels in New York City, there is no debate over whether or not hotels should link to the TripAdvisor - of course, you link to TripAdvisor. Her four hotels are all ranked in the top 10 when you search New York City and, for her, TripAdvisor is definitely the great enabler. It’s given her small collection of hotels an enormous amount of visibility and that has translated into bookings. Lots of bookings.

HKHotels has great confidence in its guest experience and that the properties focus on a lot of added-value offers, providing travelers with a great deal for their money. It’s a product well suited for these economic times and it’s translating into lots of very positive reviews on TripAdvisor. To the point that HKHotels proactively invites all its previous guests via email to post a review and even includes a direct link to the TripAdvisor site.

On the other side of the equation is the general manager of a branded property in downtown Boston. He respects TripAdvisor but feels like it does more bad than good. As he said, “Opinions are like bellybuttons. Everyone has one.”

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