Meet Bertrand Jelensperger, TripAdvisor’s new head of restaurants.
From his early start-up success founding TheFork – one of Europe’s largest restaurant booking sites and now part of the TripAdvisor family – Bertrand has been at the cutting edge of restaurant innovation. Now at the helm of TripAdvisor Restaurants, Bertrand and his team are heralding the start of an innovative era for the company.
We know that 85% of consumers reference TripAdvisor reviews before booking a restaurant*, and over 50% of TripAdvisor mobile users search for restaurants on their phone when out and about. Yet, according to the 2017 TripAdvisor Restaurant Marketing Report, more than half of UK restaurant owners spend less than 10% of their time on marketing activities.
Understanding online marketing has become an important part of running a successful restaurant, and owners are exploring new ways to promote their business. Social media and online listings sites like TripAdvisor are now becoming the most effective ways to target customers quickly, easily and cheaply. Let’s face it: restaurant owners don’t open their businesses because they love marketing. So, at TripAdvisor, we are working on becoming the easiest and most effective marketing tool for restaurants, for everything from thriving independent cafés to the largest global chains.
TripAdvisor: where customers are looking for restaurants
TripAdvisor has over 4.4 million restaurants listed worldwide, and over 150,000 restaurants in the UK alone. Since the first restaurant appeared on TripAdvisor in 2004, hungry customers have been finding the best places to eat and reviewing their favourite restaurants. Fourteen years later, and now with over 270 reviews and opinions published every minute on TripAdvisor, millions of tourists and locals are flocking to the site every month to check reviews, browse photos and discover new restaurants.
TripAdvisor is fast becoming a restaurant’s front window to the world; thousands of people scroll past every day – so how can an owner make them stop and look?
Using TripAdvisor as a marketing tool
TripAdvisor’s 2017 Diner Engagement Study showed that potential customers spend twice as long viewing TripAdvisor restaurant listings with 20 reviews compared to similar restaurants with no reviews. Photos make a big difference too – restaurant owners who have added even one photo to their TripAdvisor listing see up to 44% more activity than those with no photos.
One of the easiest ways for a restaurant to promote their business online is claiming their TripAdvisor listing. It takes a minute to register, and once logged in, an owner can use the all-new management centre to manage their page by uploading photos, adding opening hours and responding to reviews.
It’s easy to encourage more reviews with free tools like Review Express, and owners can opt to receive a free monthly dashboard email to monitor how their business is performing on the site.
And best of all, this is all completely free.
Upgrading a restaurant listing
Restaurants who want to do even more can sign up for a TripAdvisor Premium subscription. This is a cost-effective way to showcase a restaurant, helping it stand out to potential customers by pinning a favourite review, promoting the top three reasons customers love the restaurant, and displaying a multimedia Storyboard.
We have also recently launched TripAdvisor Ads, offering owners the opportunity to promote their restaurant through sponsored placements. TripAdvisor Ads are aimed at diners searching for specific restaurants in specific areas, meaning restaurant owners can be sure they are advertising to a highly-targeted audience of potential customers who are actively looking for somewhere to eat.
What’s next for TripAdvisor?
TripAdvisor is now one of the simplest, most effective ways to promote a restaurant, and we continue to invest in tools to help restaurant owners broaden their audience, manage the online reputation of their restaurant and get a great return on investment from marketing their business.
We are listening to feedback and evolving the site for owners and customers alike, building stronger links with the industry. Our mission, quite simply, is to help owners efficiently and successfully market their restaurant, and help customers find the perfect place to eat.
“A crucial part of our online footprint”
Paloma Baraja, head of marketing, Bodean’s BBQ, Soho, London
“We took control of our TripAdvisor listing in February 2017, with the aim of optimising our profile to showcase our menu items and the general atmosphere of our branches. I reply to negative reviews to win back guests by taking conversations offline and inviting them back for a second chance.
“We recently added TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants to six of our branches, which has created a much more appealing profile with Storyboard and Favourite Review. A significant proportion of our visitors now see our chosen images through Storyboard, which we update with timely promotional imagery (such as Thanksgiving), giving more awareness of our upcoming events and promotions. The new ‘What Three Reasons’ has been another useful way to highlight location-specific details,
as well as group features to attract our target demographic.
“After we upgraded to TripAdvisor Premium for Restaurants, all of our stats (page visitors, search display/clicks, etc) went up significantly, but the real benefit has been that phone calls went up (as much as 250% in some cases) as well as a significant increase in hits to our own website. Next on my list is having more dialogue with all the people who review us, as well as testing out TripAdvisor adverts to target people searching within our category/locality.
“I have found TripAdvisor to be a crucial part of our online footprint and the features available give us the ability to put our very best foot forward.”
*2015 Customer Survey Research Engagement, independent study of 14,991 respondents conducted by Phocuswright on behalf of TripAdvisor