Review Sites Promoting Smarter Travel
Is Social Media Changing The Way We Travel?
Foodies & road trippers using social media to review, reserve, recommend
As social media grows, so does its reach in the business world. With hundreds of million of users actively sharing their lives on social media, sharing business reviews is dominating the conversation and giving consumers a voice.
Of the resources connecting people with the places around them, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable seem to be among the most popular. Although OpenTable is strictly restaurant driven, they recently surpassed 15 million reviews. Perhaps the greatest strength of the OpenTable system is their exclusivity. According to a spokesman, “Only reviews from verified diners are published,” and only the most recent reviews are kept. After 120 days, a review is no longer visible to the public and simply gets filed away into the archive. The OpenTable benefit: owners stay booked and connected with guests as they get exactly what they’re looking for.
Yelp is review site open to more businesses than restaurants. The company opened in 2004 specializing in connecting people with local businesses like dentists, hair stylists, mechanics, restaurants, and more. Just how popular has Yelp become? The website averaged roughly 78 million unique visitors – PER MONTH – in the second quarter of 2012. Yelp also boasts that reviewers (or Yelpers as they’re often called) have contributed more than 30 million reviews.
While there is clear value for consumers to use Yelp’s expansive database, it would also bode well for business owners to maintain their listing. The University of California, Berkeley published a report stating even a half-star improvement in Yelp ratings can cause an increase of up to 19% in reservations.
The world’s largest travel site is TripAdvisor. The company reports 60 million monthly users providing more than 75 million reviews of businesses, destinations, hotels, attractions, restaurants, and more. TripAdvisor is currently operating in 30 countries and has businesses clamoring for their seal of approval.
So what is a favorable TripAdvisor rating worth? A Businessweek report stated L’Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver earns $64 for every $1 spent on TripAdvisor efforts. Raved hotel general manager Glenn Eleiter, “Our Business Listings subscription costs us approximately $200 per month and it more than pays for itself in one day.” Financial analysts project the hotel to take a $7,500 investment in TripAdvisor to earn them more than $327,000 in bookings over then next three years.
Let’s not forget, all these reviews are not only available via websites but also seen on the go with mobile apps, mobile sites, and a strong social media presence. Not only can a review post an opinion, but immediately tell friends about it with one click.
How are you planning your next meal, trip, or purchase?