Timeline of TripAdvisor in the News for last 12 months

Read a  summary timeline of TripAdvisor in the news during the last 12 months with links to articles with more details:

10/28/11 Hoteliers and restaurateurs anxious to sue TripAdvisor in the U.S. over travelers’ disparaging reviews may have to rethink their strategy following a legal decision involving Yelp. Read More

10/20/11 TripAdvisor gets sued for 10 million after naming hotel the “dirtiest hotel” in the country.  The Grand Hotel, in Pigeon Forge, was ranked the dirtiest hotel in America and now its owner is going after TripAdvisor.  Read More.  Also read: Does TripAdvisor Play Dirty with Hotel Reviews? in USA Today.

10/20/11 TripAdvisor is seeking verification from a consumer after discovering a potentially false review.  The Howarth House (a hotel in the UK)  brought brought the review to TripAdvisors attention. Read More

10/4/11 Trip Advisor punishes hotel for writing its own reviews, and for writing a negative review of a competitors.  The hotel now has the “red badge” on its listing at TripAdvisor and denies wirting fraudulent reviews. Read More

9/27/11 TripAdvisor now emphasizing Traveler photos (along with reviews).  With over 8 million traveler’s photos on TripAdvisor, your guests can now shape public opinion of you not just by writing about your, but by also sharing photos.  This is a natura; extension of TripAdvisor’s user-generated content.  Read More

9/12/11 TripAdvisor waters down its trustworthiness when it removes “Reviews You Can Trust” and changes to “Reviews from our Community” Read More [Read more...]

How Does Your Website Rank in Google’s Quality Rating

Jennifer Ledbetter, the author of PotPieGirl.com shared a great blog post last week abut how Google makes its algorithm changes using human raters to rate search engine results.

In a nutshell, Google has an army of humans that guide their algorithm changes by examining the “quality” of websites.  Those quality signals eventually become encapsulated into the mathematical algorithm and then roll out into the entire Google index.  Your website goes up-or-down based upon  your “quality footprint.”  The possibility even exists that your site could go up or down as a result of a manual review, outside of an actual algorithm change.

Here is a short video from Google explaining:

Is this scary?  We don’t think so. In fact, this really confirms what we have been teaching our clients for years: Focus on making your site the BEST site and your search results will follow.

The most fascinating element of her post is that she shared a “proprietary and confidential” 125 page document from Google that gives step-by-step instructions on how to do a “quality rating.”  Unfortunately, Google asked her to remove that link. (you can find it probably by searching for it)  Fortunately, we downloaded the document last week and will summarize the important bits for you. [Read more...]

Google Places May Be More Important Than You Think

A fascinating eye-tracking study was released by SEOMoz today that is worth paying attention to. The eye-tracking research shows how eyes moved through Google search results and posted several “heat maps” of the results.  These results included Google Places and Google map data that is currently being “blended” into the search results by Google.  The conclusions Blizzard draws for hotel and lodging websites are not new:

  • How you look when you do rank is very important.  A lower ranking with a great looking search results can really deliver.
  • Because so many lodging related searches are “local searches”, your Google Places becomes increasing important because Google uses Google Places data to “enhance” a simple search result with red map icons and review info.

This is something we spoke about a few months ago when we got excited about how Google Places was giving individual hotel websites a big boost over Expedia and TripAdvisor in Google’s own search results.  The bottom line is that lodging companies should work to improve the visual appeal of their search results.  This will encourage the consumer to actually look and see your listing when he or she searches.  Practically speaking, this means working to improve your presence in Google Places.

I encourage you to visit the SEOMoz post to look at more, but here is an example:

 

Hotel Calculator: Online Travel Agency Hidden Costs

Madigan Pratt & Associates have created an online calculator just for hotels:
The Hotel-OTA Hidden Cost Calculator

The average annual spends are pretty spectacular even with modest numbers.
The clear suggestion is that perhaps investing in online marketing would drive a higher ROI.

TripAdvisor Reviews – The Good, the Bad, and the Crustiest of 2011

“It looked like a CSI Crime Scene.”

“Crusty.”

“Bug bites.”

“Cockroach filled pool.”

These are just a few of the words used to describe this year’s coveted list of Top 10 Dirties Hotels from TripAdvisor as reported by travelers.

As in previous years, the class of 2011’s Dirtiest Hotels did not have a lack of sickeningly descriptive reviews.

It really is fun to read through bad reviews (when they aren’t about you, of course) so here are a few snippets of my favorites from this year’s list:

“I would have preferred to stay under a bridge or in a dirty rental car.”

- Jack London Inn

“It all started with the manager burning trash in the fireplace in the lobby.”

- Super 8 Estes Park

“They told us that the competition writes the bad reviews and puts them on the internet but don’t believe it its really bad and they don’t care!!!!”

“The hallway smelled of urine.”

- Desert Inn Rose

You get the point.

For more crusty details, check out the rest of TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels in the US.

If you have a strong stomach, don’t miss the Dirtiest Hotels in Europe (“I wish this hotel would burn down so no one else would have to stay here”) and India (“No extra charge for cockroaches at this place”).

TripAdvisor and Google Struggle Continues

According to the WSJblog Digits, TripAdvisor Says Google Won’t Stop Using Its Content

TripAdvisor LLC says Google Inc. has refused its requests to stop using content from TripAdvisor.com, the travel information and reviews site, on Google services that could compete with TripAdvisor.

In an interview this week, Chief Executive Stephen Kaufer said talks between his company and Google broke down after the Internet search giant said it would continue to include TripAdvisor’s user-generated reviews of businesses such as hotels in its Google’s Place pages and Hotpot business-reviews service. Mr. Kaufer said those services compete for Web traffic with his company’s site.

Here is a timeline of the struggle between TripAdvisor and Google:

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, for clearly this skirmish is not over yet.  For many hotels, resorts, and other lodging businesses, TripAdvisor reviews are a powerful element of their marketing success… and they often experience frustration with something they can’t control and often feel is unfair.  Of course, some hotels enjoy great reviews and rankings in TripAdvisor and should be keeping their eye on this development.

The Local Search Ecosystem and its Data Providers

Are you trying to get more out of local search?  Would a road-map help?

Local search has an entire ecosystem composed of dozens of websites that share and syndicate local search content with each other and the wider Internet.

Check out: A Closer Look at the Local Search Data Providers by David Mihm at Getlisted.org.

They have several graphical depictions of the local search ecosystem, the primary data providers in local search, and the data sources for major local search portals.