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Trip Advisor Rankings Critical to… Restaurants?

Boasting more than 40 million unique monthly visitors per month, there is little doubt that Trip Advisor is one of the websites that Hospitality owners and operators need to be very familiar with.

While most of us think “Hotel Reviews” when we hear the name Trip Advisor, they have quietly become a significant source of reviews for Restaurants as well. The next time you perform a Google search for a restaurant and include a city name and state – as many business travelers do on a regular basis – you will quickly see just how much leverage Trip Advisor has gained within the restaurant review market space. With the new Google Places organic search integration, there can be 5-7 Places listings in your view, each of which includes four links to read reviews of the restaurant. One of them is likely to be Trip Advisor, placed alongside yelp.com, citysearch.com, urbanspoon.com or opentable.com.

While your Trip Advisor ranking doesn’t have a direct effect on your Google Places placement within the Google organic search results, it does determine the order of Trip Advisor search results. Trip Advisor doesn’t share data on how their website is used by those 40 million monthly visitors, but if only 5% are performing city searches for a hotel or restaurant, then that means 2,000,000 are viewing search results listed in order of Trip Advisor ranking.

Trip Advisor Mobile Application

Another potential reason to support elevating your Trip Advisor ranking is the amazing growth rate and adoption of smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and the multiple brands using Google’s Android operating system. I use the word “potential” because current data indicates that the vast majority of users prefer to use the device’s Internet Browser over Applications for travel searches, but the Trip Advisor Application is very fast and easy to use and could become popular over the next few years.

On the home screen, the Application offers city search for Hotels, Restaurants, Things to Do (Attractions), Flights, Forums, and a very cool “Near me now” feature. Broad city searches return results ordered by ranking, which are definitely the most commonly used by travel planners and businesspersons preparing for an upcoming meeting or convention. The “near me now” feature provides results based on proximity to the cell tower your device is using – offering you several choices within walking distance. While this feature has great potential, it’s not going to replace good old-fashioned local knowledge – for now, at least.