Search traffic on Tripadvisor, specifically, has been on the rise since July. How can operators ensure they’re taking advantage?
Consumer behavior is changing rapidly, and the trends are far from static. Staying up-to-date with the very latest market insights is crucial so that restaurateurs can adapt their plans at speed and capture the valuable demand that their business needs. At Tripadvisor, we have been sharing tangible insights from our own site data via free webinars and industry trend reports.
Using insights about future customer demand can help restaurateurs target marketing spend much more effectively, so when diner demand jumps up, you can quickly invest in solutions like Tripadvisor Ads for Restaurants to capture that returning demand ahead of your competition.
Additionally, consumer expectations are changing as a result of COVID-19. Restaurants should focus on what they can do to make customers feel confident about visiting. One easy way to do this is to ensure business information is up to date online. This is now more important than ever as restaurants are trying to attract new diners.
At the same time, they need to reassure customers of the steps they are taking to keep those customers safe.
Are there particular ways for restaurants to use the platform to share safety protocols and get the word out?
Yes, as a matter of fact, Tripadvisor rolled out a suite of Travel Safe tools in June to help consumers find, filter for, and validate important health and safety information about hotels and restaurants.
Businesses can select all the safety measures they have in place at their property by accessing the checklist in their Tripadvisor management center (for free). They can also add a text description of the steps they are taking to protect customers, including links back to safety information on their own websites.
There are over 120,000 properties on Tripadvisor using these tools so far. These properties are building trust by highlighting the concrete actions they are taking to keep their customers safe, while providing consumers with the information and reassurance they need when they travel or dine out.
Cleanliness and safety are themes that are likely to remain high priority for diners for the foreseeable future. Showcasing the steps you are taking to mitigate risk, whether on social media, advertisements, or via this free tool, will make more and more diners feel safe to visit you.
Answering reviews was always one of the top recommendations before the crisis. Have you seen that take on even greater importance of late?
With hundreds of millions of monthly users, the benefit of Tripadvisor is that it truly showcases the "wisdom of the crowds." Recent reviews are vital now more than ever as diners build up the confidence to eat out again. Fresh review content helps other diners confirm what the experience is like at a property now within these COVID times—after all it is likely there have been changes since the start of the year.
We also know from research that management responses to reviews have a significant impact on consumer perception of a business. In fact, 89 percent of Tripadvisor users said a thoughtful response to a negative review improved their impression of a business, showing the effectiveness of owners responding to all types of reviews.
Now, management responses offer a further way to communicate what, how and why a restaurant has introduced specific new safety measures.
Talk about Menu Connect. What inspired the product, and how can it help restaurants?
With the abundance of day-to-day responsibilities restaurant owners face, marketing and updating business information online is the last thing on owners' minds, yet it is often the deciding factor for diners looking for somewhere to eat. We know that the majority of diners check menus online before they choose a restaurant, so it is crucial that their information is up to date everywhere online, especially now so that they don't miss out on vital returning customers.
Menu Connect is an online listings management solution that enables restaurants to easily publish, update and manage their menu and business information across an expansive network of sites—inclusive of Google, Yelp, OpenTable, and more. Now, restaurateurs can use this product to (1) save time by updating information just once instead of on every individual listing site, and (2) increase their visibility to diners searching from various sites around the web. Diners often don’t search by name, but search by type of food. The best way to come up in a search like that is if a restaurant has their menu published wide, up to date, and findable.