What is TripAdvisor advertising?
TripAdvisor advertising is simply the act of advertising on TripAdvisor, one of the world’s leading travel platforms.
TripAdvisor offers native advertising on both its website and app via a tool called TripAdvisor Ad Express, which lets hospitality businesses set up their own TripAdvisor ad campaign then monitor and manage it to ensure it drives a return.
TripAdvisor isn’t one of the most well-known travel websites in the world for nothing.
The travel giant is always optimising user-generated content, helping restaurants, hotels and vacation rental properties maintain their reputations, and acting as a fully-fledged booking supplier for consumers visiting the site.
For hoteliers, it’s just as important in driving direct bookings as Google or their own website.
And earlier this year TripAdvisor made an announcement putting it in the same advertising field as Google – with the launch of Sponsored Placements.
Here’s how Tripadvisor advertising works, what it means for hotels looking to drive traffic, and the latest updates.
Table of contents
How much is advertising on TripAdvisor?
In Standard Access mode, TripAdvisor Ad Express lets you set whatever advertising budget you feel comfortable with. Your TripAdvisor advertising cost is entirely in your hands, and will depend on your finances and marketing goals.
If you want to level up your advertising on the platform, you have the option of the Preferred Access Business Advantage tier, which starts at $499 per year, and offers a number of benefits beyond those enjoyed by Standard Access customers, such as exclusive tools and data, and the ability to make direct contact with users.
Is TripAdvisor advertising worth it?
There’s no questioning the popularity and power of TripAdvisor as a platform. Attracting 400+ million unique visitors every month, it is one of the most popular destinations on the internet, and unlike other large platforms like Facebook and Google, almost every TripAdvisor visitor has some form of purchase intent. All in all it’s a compelling advertising proposition.
As with any marketing effort, advertising on TripAdvisor is a matter of getting out what you’re willing to put in. If you avoid setting and forgetting a campaign, and commit to monitoring, managing and optimising your advertising (perhaps with the help of a professional), you’re far more likely to drive a return on your investment.
Ways that hotels do advertising on TripAdvisor
Now we know the what and why of advertising on TripAdvisor, let’s take a look at the how.
TripAdvisor advertising comes in a few forms:
TripAdvisor Ad Express
TripAdvisor Ad Express is an easy to use self-service advertising tool that gives a hotel control over its own destiny on the platform. Previously called TripAdvisor Media Manager, it grants you access to a wealth of user data that helps you target a precise audience. It also makes it easy for you to reuse advertising creative, removing the need to continually get creative approved for ad use.
TripAdvisor paid advertising
As with Google, your business can come up as an organic result on TripAdvisor, or you can pay to be elevated up the page. TripAdvisor paid advertising, facilitated by TripAdvisor Ad Express, sees your property or business featured in a prominent area of the web page in response to a relevant user query.
TripAdvisor display advertising
Display advertising is the use of visual ads to draw attention to your business, such as banner ads. A picture tells a thousand words, so display advertising can prove an effective marketing method for hotels in particular, showing potential guests the experience they could enjoy.
Sponsored placements are ads that see your hotel placed atop the results for a location-driven search. This form of TripAdvisor ad is particularly effective because it places you above your direct competitors, and is worth taking a closer look at.
The sponsored placement feature operates on a cost-per-click basis, and the ads will appear on all devices. With specific filtering and a highly targeted audience, clicks on these sponsored listings cost around $1 to $3, and you can limit your spend by setting a monthly budget.
Prior to this offering, search results were ordered by an algorithm measuring the quality, quantity, and recency of reviews, which left some top-ranking hotels concerned that upstarts would overtake them.
Sponsored placements doesn’t guarantee bookings, but they can help a hotel ranked last in its area to dramatically increase its traffic. This however raises the argument that user trust could be eroded because the site is no longer solely grounded in unbiased reviews.
For destinations with high competition, sponsored placements are a very viable option for properties looking to improve their visibility. As TripAdvisor says, you might have an amazing property but because it’s in Paris, you’re on page two of results. Sponsored placements help give you a leg up if you’re willing to commit the necessary budget.
To be eligible for a listing there are certain requirements. Click here to see if your property fits the description.
So should you capitalise on sponsored placements? Finding an answer will require some careful research, particularly around what your competitors are doing and the potential ROI of such an effort.
It’s worth noting guests are still free to choose from an endless array of promoted rates, special offers and channels to complete their booking, such as online travel agents. So ask yourself: how many direct bookings is an investment in sponsored placements likely to generate in comparison to sending the user off to an OTA listing for the property?
It’s likely to be a case-by-case situation, with some hotels still finding it useful if incremental bookings increase regardless of channel. Others may not see any value unless the majority of traffic is funnelled to direct bookings.
Tripadvisor’s advertising options could be something that is best used in short bursts to highlight deals and special promotions.
What are the latest updates to TripAdvisor Sponsored Placements?
The most recent updates from TripAdvisor were around launching new performance reporting, providing Sponsored Placements customers, such as hotels, with “valuable, actionable metrics” to help them drive business through ad campaigns.
The new reporting is reportedly showing that, on average, Sponsored Placements’ customers are seeing an uplift of 17% in unique visits to their TripAdvisor business listing.
Metrics included in the update are:
- Visibility into number of ad impressions
- Number of visits to a property’s TripAdvisor listing, including incremental traffic
- Booking referrals generated as a result of ads
- The percentage market share for a property in locations where their ads are showing
Tips for a better TripAdvisor advertising campaign
If you’re going to invest part of your marketing budget into a sponsored placement on TripAdvisor, it’s worth making sure your listing is as strong as possible.
Quickly check off these simple tasks in TripAdvisor advertising campaign management centre:
- Update your main photo with a recent, high-quality picture
- Ensure all pictures and information for your amenities are up to date
- Highlight special deals or promotions that will be running during the time to launch your ad campaign
- Set a budget that’s based on clear objectives and priorities
- Stay competitive on pricing