Restaurants rely on user ratings, so it's often important to managers and owners that your restaurant gets a good rating to help create a better online presence. But how are those ratings determined? One of the most popular sites for restaurant-goers is TripAdvisor - once claiming it was the "world's most trusted travel site." So, how does TripAdvisor rank restaurants?
How Does TripAdvisor Work?
The concept of TripAdvisor is rather simple. If you want to create an online presence for your restaurant with the potential to entice more customers to visit, then the first step is to sign up to TripAdvisor so that you can 'claim' your restaurant.
When the search box appears, type in the name of your restaurant and select the one that is yours. If yours doesn't appear, then you also have the option to be listed as a new restaurant. By doing this, you're registering your restaurant so that you own and control it on TripAdvisor.
Once you are up and running, you simply wait for the reviews to come in. This happens when diners visit your restaurant and submit their reviews based on the experience they have received. This can be either positive or negative and they're available for the whole world to see. The reviews and overall scores your restaurant receives are then aggregated into a ranking amongst the competition.
The better the service, the better the review and score. The higher the scores, the higher your restaurant will be ranked on TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor's Popularity Index
To rank businesses, TripAdvisor uses a "Popularity Index" that determines guest satisfaction with your establishment. So, your restaurant won't just be ranked by price or class, but instead quality, quantity and how recent the reviews are.
This ranking allows customers to know not only if the restaurant fits their budget, but also how users rate the cleanliness, safety, the service, the standard of food and more. Each search is ranked by quality and is calculated by the Popularity Index to ensure that reviews will be fresh and unbiased.
How To Win At TripAdvisor
Simply signing up and registering your restaurant on TripAdvisor isn't enough to succeed. While everything you do inside of your restaurant is helping towards gaining those positive reviews, there are certain tips you can follow which will help you get the best out of TripAdvisor.
- Use TripAdvisor Ads: Using this paid offering can help drive traffic to your TripAdvisor listing by promoting your restaurant in exclusive, sponsored placements to a targeted audience of diners that are looking for a place to eat in your area.
- Use Business Advantage: You have the option to use industry-leading tools from TripAdvisor to better market your restaurant to an endless amount of potential guests. These tools help your restaurant differentiate itself from the competition, impact booking decisions from visitors while allowing you to measure and improve your online reputation.
- Offer in-restaurant review opportunities: Customers leave their reviews once they've experienced your restaurant. Rather than receiving negative reviews and realising afterwards that there are things you could have fixed, offer customers the chance to give in-house feedback. This allows you to instantly fix the problem to leave customers satisfied, where they'll be more likely to leave a positive review on TripAdvisor highlighting the lengths you went to leave them satisfied.
- Listen to your customers: Guest intelligence from online reviews and guest satisfaction surveys can bring areas to your restaurant's attention where improvements can be made to make guests happy. It's vital that you're listening to what your customers are saying so you can enhance their experience and overall satisfaction, which can be reflected in glowing reviews on TripAdvisor.
- Train staff on encouraging customers to leave reviews: Train your restaurant staff on the importance of encouraging guests to leave reviews on TripAdvisor. This might be once they have paid their bill, for example. Your restaurant also has the option to register for the TripAdvisor Review Collection Programme. This allows you to use any guest satisfaction survey you might have and embed the TripAdvisor review form so that you're building review volume and boosting your rankings.
Obviously, these aren't the only tips you'll need. Along the way, you'll learn that to win at TripAdvisor you'll need to look at the positives and create plans to do more of what you're doing good. Also, examine the negative comments and work to solve the common issues. Or at least do all of the things you can do in your restaurant to diminish future negative reviews.
Many feel that TripAdvisor reviews are often false and not helpful. For example, in Exeter's Top 30, there's an inclusion of a McDonald's off the ring road. One Italian newspaper, Italia a Tavola, created a fictional restaurant to reveal TripAdvisor's flaws. The restaurant was given fake reviews and within a month, it became the best-rated restaurant in town. TripAdvisor removed it only when the newspaper contacted TripAdvisor to let them in on the scheme. In response, TripAdvisor claimed it could spot fraudulent activity and that they regularly investigate listings.
In 2012, TripAdvisor was banned from claiming its reviews were real or even written by real people. A four-month investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority determined it was possible to post 'non-genuine content' because of a lack of verification. One way to rank higher on TripAdvisor is by the quantity of reviews. So, ask your guests to review you on several sites, including TripAdvisor if they have a positive experience.
Here are some tips, however, on how to turn a negative online review into a positive learning experience for your restaurant.
Why Online Reviews Are Now So Important
In the past, noses led the way as did word of mouth. If customers were in a new city, they may ask the Maître d'hôtel to see where the locals eat or they'd get a guidebook with reviews. Now, travellers often Google the places they are going to visit and read Google reviews to see their star rating. Others may use travel apps and read those reviews, view pictures of the restaurant and more. Customers may also see Facebook reviews or visit a restaurant's website.
Feedback left from other customers now either tempts visitors to come to your restaurant or deters them from ever visiting.
How Do The Other Popular Sites Rank Reviews?
Google uses a plethora of metrics when ranking their reviews, not just how often reviews are posted and the ratings given. Some of the metrics include the total number of third-party reviews, the average rating, user feedback, the person reviewing and so much more. So, a lot is taken into account rather than just the score a customer gives.
Many other popular sites have, perhaps, more trusted metrics than TripAdvisor. However, the fact is customers do use TripAdvisor and the rankings cannot be ignored. It's best to know how the reviews are given so you - as a business owner or restaurant manager - can anticipate the reviews and learn how to respond.
Don't Forget To Keep Your Workers Safe!
One way to boost internal reviews is by ensuring your workers are safe. A slips, trips and falls risk assessment is the first place to start. But the second is to ensure that everyone is wearing slip-resistant footwear. At SHOES FOR CREWS (EUROPE) Ltd., we are proud to publicise our slip test results as we surpass the minimum ISO standards by as much as two to four times in the minimum for our most popular styles to get you home safely.