New and Improved Features from TripAdvisor Enhance Online Reputation

This week's Global Networking Expo (GNEX) included a presentation by TripAdvisor's Mark McCullough, Senior Territory Manager-Americas.  Mark's topic, Online Reputation Enhancement and how several TripAdvisor features can protect your online brand reputation and help your business to grow. 

Just for You

One of TripAdvisor's newest features is called "Just for You". This feature offers travelers the ability to zero in on the perfect hotel based upon their individual preferences. It's easy to use - when travelers search for hotels in their chosen destination, they are given a variety of filters and tags to select their travel preferences: price range, location, hotel class, brand, amenities and travel style. The more the user interacts with the Just for You feature, the more it adapts to the user's individual travel preferences. The site becomes the default ranking. Just for You keeps adapting and improving its recommendations the more the user uses the site. It only takes three easy steps to complete a search:
  1. Select travel preference tags on the Just for You Page
  2. Search for hotels and destinations on TripAdvisor
  3. Write a hotel review to share your travel experiences

Questions and Answers

The Questions and Answers feature for the hospitality industry allows resort managers and owners to interact with potential guests before they travel. Visitors input questions of concern into the system such as: Is there access to high-speed internet? Do you have supervised activities for children? Do you offer a gluten-free menu? The resort is notified with an email that the question has been made. You can then provide timely answers with that personal touch that encourages the guest to come your way.
TripAdvisor suggests several tips for answering the questions. Those include: respond quickly to reach travelers when they are planning their trip, be brief in your response,  emphasize the positive - take no answers and turn them into something positive by offering help or an alternative.

Management Responses to Reviews

Another feature that TripAdvisor offers to the hospitality industry is a guide to adding management responses to reviews. A 2013 TripAdvisor survey showed that responding to both positive and negative reviews demonstrates to former and prospective guests that you are interested in feedback and take your customer service seriously:
  • 77 percent of respondents said seeing a management response to reviews makes me believe that the establishment cares more about its guests.
  • 62 percent of respondents said seeing management responses would generally make me more likely to book that establishment over one that didn’t respond.
It may be even more important to respond to negative reviews as quickly as possible. Be careful in the wording of your response. In a recent PhoCusWright survey, 70 percent of respondents said that an aggressive or defensive Management Response to a bad review made it less likely they would book the establishment again. Be sure to thank the reviewer, address the specific issue and highlight the positive. 

Mobile App

TripAdvisor recently added new features to its free phone app. In addition to its many current applications, a newly designed city overview page has city descriptions of worldwide destinations, enables users to plan day trips by searching for popular cities nearby their intended destinations, and search for accommodations near a landmark. Research shows that mobile apps with phone tabs increase instant bookings by 44 percent. 

Record Attendance Expected at GNEX 2015 Global Networking Conference

The Global Networking Expo (GNEX) expects record attendance at its 2015 conference and 5th anniversary celebration February 15th-18th in San Diego, California. Senior level executives from over 100 companies are already registered to attend the conference that GNEX is calling, "a sharp networking focused and debate oriented gathering of timeshare industry professionals."

Something for everyone

Known as the America's finest city, San Diego is the perfect choice with plenty of social venues to encourage networking. The city has year-round picture perfect weather, gorgeous beaches and waterfronts, excellent restaurants and entertainment, and is a loyal military city. As one of the highlighted activities, GNEX attendees will party onboard the famous USS Midway. Guests can sip a drink on the flight deck while admiring the spectacular views of the surrounding bay and city, take a private tour of the Admiral's Quarters, or take a spin in the 360 degree flight simulators in the hangar bay (preferably before you sip that drink).
Also expected to be a popular event during the conference kickoff on Sunday, participants will have an opportunity to drive exotic cars on the GNEX custom designed autocross track at a nearby stadium. Drivers have a chance to drive 0-60 in a little over 3 seconds in cars with price tags averaging $250,000 or more.

Time to learn too

Lest you forget that you are there to learn something—there is also a strong lineup of speakers with many important concepts to share. GNEX refers to its conferences as, "The Global Meeting of Minds" and claims to deliver some of the most open dialogue between industry leaders in recent history. Its concentration on networking has helped to create many new business relationships and strategic partnerships through an interactive, collaborative environment.

Session topics

Get ready for updates and information you'll need for a successful 2015 in sessions on the 2015 financial outlook, improving profitability through inventory management, and help with growing your business with online brand reputation. You'll also have access to a session that fills you in on the results of the 2014 Timeshare Owners Study, and another that provides updates from a panel of industry leaders on the best routes for industry growth. 
Improve your marketing skills in a session that discusses which marketing strategies work to produce membership growth. Or take in another session that fills you in on customer profiling—considered the future of all marketing. And much more.


The sessions feature speakers who are industry leaders. You might recognize such names such as Fermin Cruz, VP North American Business, DAE, Elianna Jones, Corporate Marketing Director, staySky Vacation Clubs and Bob Kobek, CustomerCountTM Surveys. You can also catch Mark McCullough, Senior Territory Manager, North Americas, TripAdvisor, Jon Fredricks, CEO, Welk Group, or Gregory Crist, President and CEO, National Timeshare Owners Association. Just to name a few.

Don’t Miss It!

Don’t miss this opportunity to update your knowledge of the latest timeshare information, and enjoy getting reacquainted with your fellow timeshare professionals, and meeting new ones.

It’s February and Our Thoughts Should Be Turning to Romanic Getaways

At least that's what AARP suggests for the 76 million baby boomers. It's time to forget about work, stop worrying about the kids and plan a romantic getaway to rev up your relationship with your significant other. And what better month to start than the Valentine's Day month. Relationship expert Pepper Schwartz says, "a little getaway every so often revives connections and bonding and communication."

Romantic getaways offer together time without distractions

According to an AARP travel survey of the $120 billion per year spent on leisure travel, only a fraction of those 45+ took the time in the past two years to go on a romantic getaway.  Cost may be stopping some from having more than one getaway per year. For most people it seems getting away together is more for the ability to spend time together without day to day distractions. Of the 15% AARP surveyed, those who do travel regularly for romance, said that though they appreciated the bonding and togetherness benefits, sex wasn’t the top reason on the list. 

Different for timeshare owners—best of both worlds

It may be different for timeshare owners though. An ARDA-AIF survey of vacationers conducted by research group Leger, looked into whether or not couples were rekindling their romantic spark while on vacation. More than half of the respondents said they were not, primarily because of a lack of privacy (60 percent). The one exception - the timeshare owner - 71 percent claim to have more sex with their partner while on vacation (versus 31 percent of non-owners). When questioned further about what would raise their intimacy levels, 31 percent said a romantic setting or new environment and 29 percent said separate accommodations with greater privacy.
It’s pretty obvious to those in the timeshare industry why the survey showed the above results. "While people are vacationing with the family, they often stay together in one hotel room, and that makes it pretty difficult to celebrate the intimate, romantic part of a relationship," noted, Howard Nusbaum, President and CEO of ARDA. "Our owners don’t face this challenge, as one of the benefits of timeshare is the space it offers - separate bedrooms and plenty of private areas. Timeshare owners love that they can create memories with their families/children and also have the space for romance while on vacation - the best of both worlds!"

Just the two of you

Though we agree with Nusbaum that timeshare offers the best of both worlds, we still think that timeshare also offers the best opportunities for romantic getaways for two.  Think about the choices timeshare offers.  Timeshare resorts are located in some of the most romantic, exotic locations throughout the world - some of them catering to adults who just want to be alone. Secluded white sand beaches with turquoise waters still exist on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, or on many of the islands of the Caribbean. Opportunities are available for a cozy condo in Paris with views of the Seine and in close walking distance to romantic dining for two, or snuggling before a fireplace in a Breckenridge ski resort and luxuriating in your own private Jacuzzi. With current timeshare opportunities like trading and exchanging, timeshare owners have access to a multitude of romantic getaways at costs affordable enough for maybe more than one getaway per year. Even at the last minute and for short stays, exchange companies like RedWeek and ResorTime can help you find the right romantic getaway. Maybe it’s time for you to schedule your getaway.  How about February 14?