I blogged recently about the way increasing numbers of tour operators and hoteliers are using free RSS feeds from Trip Advisor to show user generated reviews of the hotels they offer on their sites. It makes perfect sense... huge numbers of people now use Trip Advisor to help research their holidays. So why let them leave your site to go look at reviews on Trip Advisor? Keep them with you and let them read the reviews right there on your own site. Hayes and Jarvis was the first UK operator to offer this service - customers can now read Trip Advisor reviews of 80% of the hotels they offer. I called Trip Advisor's press office to ask if they had any stats to provide regarding how well the concept worked... and they were very vague. Maybe they were just having a slow day as they did release some results... which I stumbled across (thanks to Rob from Avis marketing) in this report from Reuters.
- 20% of people visiting the hotel descriptions pages on the Hayes and Jarvis site click on the Trip Advisor reviews
- These 20% book at twice the rate of people who don't read the reviews
Some might argue that these people would have converted better anyway - it's a bit chicken and egg. Are the ones who are likely to book, the ones that click on the reviews OR does the fact that they click on the reviews means they become more likely to book as a result of reading them?
One way or another, the reviews are clearly adding to the user experience in a very positive way for 20% of the site's visitors... I wouldn't be surprised if the combination of a trusted brand like H&J with genuinely credible reviews from (usually) unbiassed other holidaymakers seals the deal very nicely.