What is Tripadvisors Competitive Advantage

From search engine giant to rating giant

Until now, Holidaycheck and Tripadvisor have been the benchmarks when it comes to online reviews of hotels. But Google is catching up rapidly. This has consequences for marketing and sales.

STUTTGART. Did you like it with us? Then please leave a rating on Google. ”That was the message recently when checking out of a large Berlin city hotel. So far, the search engine has not necessarily been known as a hotel review portal. Apparently that is changing now. "With its many products, Google is firmly anchored in the lives of users," says André Meier, managing director of the hotel online marketing service provider Online Birds from Munich.

With the variety of its services, Google also has certain advantages for the user in the travel segment. Accommodation and travel destination can be viewed on a map via Google Maps, and the customer can get a first impression of the area around his accommodation via street view. In addition, there is Google's in-depth location analysis: "Based on the mobile location data, Google proactively requests users to rate visited places such as hotels or restaurants," explains Meier. He therefore assumes that Google also takes the location data into account to validate ratings.

"This is a clear competitive advantage over Tripadvisor, which has made headlines in the last few months with fake reviews." The search engine giant has obviously also deliberately made optimizations specifically for hotel sales. "Thanks to the latest developments in terms of 'Book Hotels on Google', Google is becoming a direct competitor for Tripadvisor and other portals," says Thomas Hendele, consultant and lecturer for online communication. “The more intensively Google relies on processing hotel bookings on its own pages, the more the competitors are pushed out.” This also applies to reviews.

Focus on google

Ullrich Kastner, CEO of the hotel sales service provider Myhotelshop.de, has also noticed this tendency, although he does not believe that players like Tripadvisor will lose importance so quickly: “Both platforms, Google and Tripadvisor, have solid communities that are loyal to these platforms use. ”But Kastner also observes:“ On the one hand, Google has a huge customer base, especially on mobile, which can now both submit and find ratings via a significantly simplified usability. You can rate online on your mobile phone within a minute and you can also find very good quality ratings quickly and easily using Google Maps. ”The expert therefore concludes for the hotel industry:“ The focus on Google must increase. ”

Some of the large hotel groups and cooperations now see it that way. The former top dogs of the rating portals have come under great pressure in recent years, ”says Franco Sterl, Director E-Commerce at Worldhotels. He means above all Holidaycheck and Tripadvisor, which have long been the market leaders in hotel reviews in this country.

"Google makes it very easy for travelers to submit reviews for a hotel and it is used globally - these are of course incredible advantages," continues Sterl. In fact, the “Reviews” tab usually appears in connection with the Google profile of a hotel, and this profile in turn is quickly found when the respective establishment is searched for. And Google proactively asks users based on the location data to rate visited places such as hotels or restaurants.

The Worldhotels e-commerce boss therefore believes that Google will become even stronger and more powerful in the next few years, but Tripadvisor will also continue to play a major role in the hotel industry. Sterle therefore advises hotels to ask guests for Google ratings, but not to neglect the other portals. "Differences should be made on the basis of the existing guest structure - for example, hotels do not need to ask English-speaking guests for a rating at Holidaycheck, as this portal is only used in German-speaking countries."

Which rating portals does the target group use?

Instead, it can be worthwhile to research more precisely which review portals are used intensively by your own target group. André Meier from the service provider Online Birds recommends this. "In Holland, for example, Zoover is right at the fore." Meier also advocates collecting active reviews on all relevant portals on a regular basis, because: "This is how you build a buffer that absorbs any bad reviews." I already have a few good reviews for a portal, a bad one is no longer as important. Meier also sees a clear trend towards Google.

The NH Hotel Group also wants to position itself broadly in terms of rating marketing. "Depending on the orientation of the hotel and the target group, it makes sense to push hotel reviews here or there in order to better position the hotel on the desired page - and of course not to forget the hotel's own website," says Christian Kaschner, Commercial Director, NH Hotel Group Northern Europe. In addition, reviews are important content that gives the respective pages more visibility in the organic search. And that's what the sales experts at NH want because they also want to generate bookings via these platforms. "We see portals like Tripadvisor, Holidaycheck, Trivago or the Google hotel search as metasearch portals, that is, as price comparison sites," says Kaschner. The hotels can position themselves there - with good content, reviews and attractive rates.

The latter is also offered by Ullrich Kastner with his agency Myhotelshop.de. This docks the booking machines of the hotel's own websites to the meta-portals and takes over the financial processing with the portals for the hotels. Kastner therefore knows which rating and price comparison portals hotel websites use to get the most traffic and the most bookings on their own website: “Trivago is still the market leader, but Google is catching up here every day. Tripadvisor remains stable in 3rd place. "