Free Ways to Market Your Business
Sometimes the best things in life are free. Seldom does one think of advertising as free, but in today’s digital age, the building blocks of marketing on the internet are free. In this series, I will go over 7 opportunities to market your business that have no out-of-pocket cost. Your investment is your time.
Whoa, wait a minute, TripAdvisor is for hotels and restaurants, right? TripAdvisor is for any business that caters to visitors. And in any vacation destination, that is most businesses. Travelers today rely on the internet more and more to make decisions and the top spot to learn more about a hotel, restaurant or things to do, is TripAdvisor. The younger the traveler, the more this is true. Having a complete listing on TripAdvisor means your business is available to TripAdvisor’s 96 million members. The TripAdvisor website has 350 million visits per month. That’s powerful. So what businesses benefit from a TripAdvisor listing? Gift shops, outfitters, lodging properties, galleries, museums, theaters and more. Besides listing lodging and restaurants, trip advisor lists things to do and places to shop.
GETTING SET UP
A free listing on TripAdvisor is easy. Just go the website; here’s a link directly to the business owner set up page: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners. Search for your listing and if it’s there, claim it. If it is not listed, you’ll need to choose a category such as lodging, restaurants, attractions or vacation rentals. Then you’ll need to create an account and you can do this using Facebook or your email address. Next you’ll need to verify ownership. Once this is completed, you’ll be taken to your Business Management Page. Here you can add a description, photos, hours, website address, contact information and address. You can also respond to reviews and keep your business information up to date.
I recommend submitting and many images, properly named, as possible. Be complete with your description and offerings. Responding to reviews is an important way to build a bond with your customers and potential customers. While people read reviews, they read the management response more closely. Be kind, courteous and thankful with your responses to show that no matter the review, you and your business is welcoming and friendly.
If you are a restaurant or lodging property, having a paid business listing on TripAdvisor is a no-brainer. While not inexpensive, a business listing makes it easy for the user of the TripAdvisor site. How so? With a free listing, you include your website address and telephone number. These are not clickable links. If a potential guest is searching for what you offer and they come across your listing and you do not have a paid business listing, they must leave the page, bring up a search page and search for you. However, with a paid listing, once a potential guest finds you they can click to your website or click from a mobile device and call you directly. There is a lot of value to this. The less steps to a dinner reservation or a vacation booking mean the more likelihood they will reserve at your business.
Also with a business listing you can offer specials and post announcements. This is particularly important of your property is in a highly competitive market.
Another paid service is TripConnect. Working with your reservation software, TripConnect can pull rates and availability from your property management software and propagate them on their website. From there, someone looking to book a lodging reservation can book with directly from the TripAdvisor website. You just pay a commission; a percentage of the booking to TripAdvisor.
Free listing or paid business listing, TripAdvisor is a great way to market a hospitality property, attraction, restaurant or vacation rental.