Travelers today want convenience. That means that they no longer want to go from site to site to book their tours and activities. Long gone are those days when they would read reviews on TripAdvisor then go to your site to book a tour. TripAdvisor now offers them an option to book tours and activities directly from the website via TripAdvisor Experiences.
Now, you already know as a tour and activity provider that TripAdvisor is the “Google of travel”. Or more accurately, it is to travel what Google is to search. And now, travelers are using it to search and book the best tour and activity experiences they can have in their destination.
TripAdvisor is certainly onto something here with their Experiences product.
The company reported that tour and activity bookings are its fastest-growing revenue stream, accounting for about 50 percent of their non-hotel revenue ($360 million) in 2017.
With those figures, you’re going to want a piece of the pie. Here’s how you can get in on the action.
First, What is TripAdvisor Experiences All about?
At the basic level, TripAdvisor Experiences is marketed toward tour and activity providers who want to sell products or services directly to travelers looking for things to do in a destination.
Viator (one of the largest tour and activity online sellers) was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2014 and was recently rebranded as TripAdvisor Experiences. That name change is likely due to the success of Booking Experiences and Airbnb Experiences. A more accurate reason for the name change could be the general trend (by travelers) toward wanting to experience a place or wanting to live like locals.
The name change only affects suppliers for now while the Viator brand remains the same in the eyes of consumers. However, Viator may become TripAdvisor Experiences for everyone as TripAdvisor commented that the rebranding is a step towards integrating Viator fully into TripAdvisor.
Not surprising at all (based on the success of TripAdvisor Experiences thus far).
They have experienced tremendous success and growth in experiential tourism. In 2017, according to their 2018 travel trends report, 30,000 new experiences were added to the website, resulting in a 50 percent increase of all the available experiences, tours, and attractions they offer.
What’s great about their platform, unlike Airbnb Experiences, is that almost all tour and activity products can be sold on the platform. There are currently over 140,000 tours, activities, attractions, and experiences in thousands of destinations around the world listed on the platform.
Furthermore, the tours and activities listed on the platform are displayed across their wide distribution network (TripAdvisor, Viator, and thousands of partners).
What Makes TripAdvisor Experiences Unique?
As mentioned earlier, unlike Airbnb Experiences (which focuses on unique tours and activities) TripAdvisor sells all types of tours and activities on their platform.
According to Dermot Halpin, head of the experiences and vacation rentals division, “With Airbnb, there’s a little bit of looking down their nose at the general travel population and saying it’s not all about a bus tour or the Eiffel Tower. But it is for a lot of people. People will always want to see those things. We’re very much in the mode of celebrating all those things.”
Another thing that makes it unique (and has been touched on briefly earlier) is its huge distribution network. That means your products and services are available to millions of people across the globe.
Should You List on TripAdvisor Experiences?
After all you’ve read so far, well…YES.
From a marketing perspective, listing on TripAdvisor Experiences is hard to beat. Your tours and activities will appear across the TripAdvisor site from destination pages; in search results; their app; on Viator and other partners like hotels, airlines, loyalty programs, and travel agent networks. Additionally, your listing will be available in 28 languages and you can accept bookings in 14 currencies. Neat, huh?
The benefit of listing your tours and activities on TripAdvisor is that millions of people can see your business. In fact, every month, close to half a million people go on TripAdvisor to plan and book key aspects of a trip.
Listing on TripAdvisor means that some of those people could book your tours and activities directly from your Experiences listing. Indeed, there are thousands of tours and activities already being sold by tour operators like yourself on the platform.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages is that you get to respond to customer reviews on one of the biggest travel review sites in the world. Forget that, TripAdvisor is literally the world’s largest travel site. You really want to get reviews on there to build trust and credibility online. Plus, you can respond to every single customer review.
The TripAdvisor Experiences interface is pretty user-friendly, making it fairly easy to set up your business listing and connect your listings to your online booking system. For example, if you have a Regiondo account, you can easily connect it to Viator (TripAdvisor Experiences) and get selling.
If you don’t have a Regiondo account, you can sign up now for a free trial.
TripAdvisor Experiences has a pretty good analytics dashboard that shows you your booking reports and customer demographics, which you can integrate into your booking system. That makes it easier for you to fill in last-minute and off-season bookings.
Are you sold? Want to sign up? It’s easy — we’ll show you how.
But first, let’s review their commission fees.
TripAdvisor Experiences Commission Fees
As stated earlier, TripAdvisor Experiences is offered via Viator which has since been rebranded as TripAdvisor Experiences. Viator usually takes 25% of the sales price as commission. However, TripAdvisor Experiences now charges a 20% flat commission fee.
You can however set your own pricing to factor that commission fee in. You can also set your own availability and terms (cancellation and refund policies), bypassing the standard Viator policies.
How to Get Listed on TripAdvisor Experiences
We wrote an article on how to become a Viator Supplier, which you can check out here.
Once you become a Viator supplier, you can add a “book a tour” button on both your TripAdvisor and Viator listings. Essentially, after you complete the signup process, you can get exclusive placements on TripAdvisor and its distribution channels. (Yes to free marketing!)
Now, if you want to get the most out of your TripAdvisor Experiences listing; you need to optimize it in order to get more eyes on it and subsequently get more bookings.
How to Optimize Your TripAdvisor Experiences Listing
Optimize Your Description and Verify Your Business Details
Once you sign up, you’ll get the opportunity to add your business details like name, address, phone number, email, and links to your website. You need to double-check and make sure all that is added and that it is all accurate. You should always update those details in TripAdvisor as soon as any of them change.
Now, you can also add a description to your listing and we highly recommend that you do so. As a reminder, there are thousands of tours and activities already listed on the platform. So in order to stand out, you need to craft a description that helps you stand out from the crowd. Include details like your hours of operation, the seasonal activities you offer, whether or not they are family-friendly, etc.
The bottom line is that you should add what is unique about you and specify who your tours and activities are for; so that the right people can book your tours and review you fairly.
Note: Travelers can add a description to your listing if you don’t provide one.
Add Eye-Catching High-Resolution Photos
People want to know what to expect from your tour or activity. The more photos you add to your listing, the more engaged and intrigued travelers will be, and the higher the chances that they will book your tour. Add as many relevant and high-quality photos as possible to help travelers envision the experience.
Encourage Reviews and Respond
The more reviews your listing has, the easier it is for future travelers to consider booking your tour. Even better if those reviews are recent. You should thus encourage your customers to leave you reviews on the site.
The next step is to monitor the reviews and respond to them, especially the negative ones. Responding to negative reviews shows that you value customer service and are willing to fix negative experiences customers may have with you.
Respond to positive reviews as well to show that you value customer feedback, whether negative or positive. Responding to reviews, in general, can give your business a competitive advantage.
Recommended reading: How to Improve Your TripAdvisor Ranking Quickly
TripAdvisor’s overall mission and aim with Experiences is to make it easier for you, as a tour and activity provider, to supply your products and services to as many people as possible.
If you want to take your business further online and to sell in higher quantities, then dive right in. All you need to do is list your already curated tours and activities on the platform; so that millions of people on the platform can see it and have the option to book right then and there.
We have to add that the downside of listing on a big platform like TripAdvisor is that you face a lot of competition. You need to work hard, consistently, in order to stand out. Do that, and you’ll really reap the benefits of listing on the world’s largest travel site.