Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 84 – Why Won’t TripAdvisor Answer These 3 Questions?

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Welcome to the TripAdvisor conspiracy theory episode where we’re going to cover all the strange and unusual things we are seeing from the world’s largest review and hotel shopping platform.

Since the beginning of 2018, we have been noticing some very odd behavior from the TripAdvisor results, customer service response time, sales rep strategies, and overall communication.  What is most odd is that we have found communication from TripAdvisor to us, our clients, and industry partners has seriously degraded. This leads us to start asking some pretty conspiratorial questions like, “Is TripAdvisor being bought out?”


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  1. What’s TripAdvisor Thinking By Requiring Sponsored Positions If a Hotel Wants To Keep Their 2018 Business Listing Rates?

TripAdvisor has been approaching properties with hearty increases in their business listing costs.  We have seen the performance of business listings steadily decrease over the years as TripAdvisor has driven more customer clicks through their successful TripConnect CPC and InstantBook programs, so this business listing decline in performance comes as no surprise.  Given this decline in performance, it’s interesting, then, that TripAdvisor is trying to force hefy price hikes. However what is more interesting is that TripAdvisor reps are offering to allow businesses to keep their 2017 rates if they are willing to participate in Sponsored Positions.


  1. Why Has Traditional Hotel Rankings Dropped So Significantly?

We have seen a disturbing trend for TripAdvisor rankings over the past 30 days, corresponding closely to the integration of vacation rentals into the main search results.  Specifically we have been monitoring properties in the Myrtle Beach, SC market and found that many properties have fallen nearly 30 positions. What is most interesting is the top results in the market now contain several properties that are not even open.

Is this a result of TripAdvisor trying to reshuffle the deck now that there are many, many, more results (read Vacation Rentals) for any given destination?  Will this, like times in the past, be addressed with an algorithm update and rankings go back to normal?


  1. Why Are We Seeing So Much Reporting and System Management Issues?

Our final question for TripAdvisor is why have they been having so many reporting problems this year?  Granted every company with complex products will run into reporting issues, however these issues seem to go a bit deeper.  We have been facing three primary reporting issues among various clients:

  1. Instant Book under-reporting impression share
  2. No reporting whatsoever for Sponsored Positions
  3. TripConnect CPC mysteriously not working at the beginning of 2018

Listener Question:
Meisha Bochicchio @MarketingMeisha
Question (or potential episode) for the @FuelTravel podcast – would love to hear you guys (and gal) discuss predictions for the Facebook fallout. Will people leave and therefore shrink audiences? Will changes to TOS impact advertising opportunities? Is Facebook dead? #RIPFacebook

Wishes from the hotel world

  • Holly Zoba
    • I wish for closer alignment between marketing and sales – I would love to see marketing programs that were created out of the needs of salespeople. For example, marketing and sales working more closely together to create buyer personas for their target audiences, and marketing creating content that salespeople can use to share to attract more qualified leads.


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