Back in the day, choosing a place to stay on your vacation was usually a last-minute decision, whether that meant pulling off the freeway when you were done driving for the day and hoping for the best or just selecting an accommodation from your stack of trusty travel guides like AAA or Lonely Planet. In these wired modern times, you probably know your hotel or inn inside and out before you even leave your home, and chances are pretty good that you turned to TripAdvisor for that knowledge.
According to a 2013 PhoCusWright study commissioned by TripAdvisor that surveyed 12,000 independent travelers around the world, 67% of them visit TripAdvisor at least a few times a month, and more than 80% read 6-12 reviews on a particular accommodation before making a decision to stay there or move on.
Not only is TripAdvisor affecting your decision of where to stay and what to do on vacation, it is ranking travel destinations. San Juan Island earned the #4 spot on TripAdvisor’s Best Islands in the U.S.
For years we have been asking our guests to write a review after their stay or dining experience. Recently, we’ve experienced the other side of the guest review game as discerning travelers. Anna Maria and Dave used the site a lot while planning their most recent vacation to Hawaii, and gained a new appreciation for how much thought and time it really takes to leave a thoughtful review. They knew that the words in their review would have a positive or negative effect on that business. Fortunately all their research led them to great businesses, so all they had to write were travel tips or glowing words of praise. It is really a very powerful concept – leaving the measure of how good your business is in the hands of those who are free to write whatever they want in a very public forum.
We respond to every email and handwritten comment form left in a guest room, whether it’s good or bad, and be honest about times when we might not have measured up to our guests’ expectations or our own standards. We are thankful for this feedback and the amazing suggestions we have received over the years, which has only made our businesses and customer service better. We also respond to the online reviews as well, embracing the new buzzword of “reputation management.” The PhoCusWright study showed that users tend to rate a business higher if they see that management has been active in responding to the reviews.
Another interesting aspect of TripAdvisor and other review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon is that there is no gold standard by which to judge every single accommodation, restaurant or attraction. It is simply a community of people that have all experienced this place and left an account of their isolated experience. For example, think about comparing a favorable review of the modest ice cream shop in town to that of a fine dining full-service restaurant (like Coho). 5 stars at the ice cream shop might be very different than 5 stars at the gourmet restaurant. There is a lot of trust involved in using TripAdvisor, whether you’re a reviewer or a business owner. We trust our guests to leave reviews that won’t put us out of business, and you trust your fellow travelers to steer you to the best places.
Our inns and restaurant rely on TripAdvisor. Reviews entice prospective travelers to stay or dine with us. Our ranking on TripAdvisor is affected by the frequency of reviews and the scores we receive. We are humbled to our guests for awarding us the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013 for all of our businesses. We appreciate all your time and effort to write compelling and honest reviews of your stay at the Tucker House or Harrison House or your dinner at Coho Restaurant.
We give TripAdvisor five stars, and always encourage our guests to take full advantage of it! We hope that your research on TripAdvisor (and anywhere else) will lead you to stay with us next time you take a trip to San Juan Island!