How one property got 40 reviews overnight
What one GM learned at a TripAdvisor seminar that had a dramatic impact on her business.
The National Piping Centre in Glasgow is Scotland’s home of bagpiping. It’s also home to The Pipers’ Tryst – an adjoining eight room hotel and restaurant. General Manager Gemma Cannon recently took some time from her hectic schedule at The Pipers’ Tryst to attend a TripAdvisor seminar. What she learned dramatically changed her business.
“We always thought we were using TripAdvisor in a proactive way. We knew how to write back to customers and say thank you, or to give our side of the story in a positive manner that reflects our business. But I had no idea about Review Express,” says Cannon. Review Express is a free tool that makes it easy to send recent visitors an email invitation to write a review on TripAdvisor.
After the seminar, Cannon and her team pulled together email addresses of guests who had stayed at The Pipers’ Tryst during the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. They sent a Review Express campaign to those guests, reminding them to write reviews. No one on Cannon’s team could have predicted the result:
“Overnight we gained 40 reviews. Before that we were getting one a fortnight – we only have eight rooms, after all. We didn’t realize that Review Express, with just a few clicks, would have such an impact. We always enjoyed ranking highly in the budget hotel category on TripAdvisor, which made us very proud. But now, of all hotels in the city, we’re number 11. We were all very surprised but delighted as well.”
A property’s first Review Express email campaign is often sent to a large group of past visitors and receives a substantial amount of reviews in response. After that, businesses tend to settle into more regular schedules – ideally sending Review Express campaigns once per week. This helps them drive a smaller but steadier number of reviews over time. Moving forward, Cannon plans to use Review Express on a regular basis to contact recent visitors and collect their reviews.
How reviews are used
Cannon and her team are always looking for ways to deliver the best of Scottish hospitality to guests – from the Scottish food and whiskey to the décor to the musical education. Reviews are a big part of that. Cannon says, “First we read the reviews and understand what people have written. We reflect back to the occasion they’re talking about. We try get back to them quickly with feedback, typically within two to four days. Then we take the reviews back to our management team meeting and use them to drive change.”
The Pipers’ Tryst is a non-profit organization and registered charity. Gains made from the hotel and restaurant are used to fund the musical education side of the business. Since money is tight for improvements on the hospitality side, Cannon and her team use the guests’ feedback to help prioritize the most important ones.
Reviews and bookings
The Pipers’ Tryst saw a 65% increase in bookings in August 2014 over the previous year. While this change can be partially attributed to events in the area like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, Cannon also attributes the success to Review Express: “There’s an awful lot happening in Glasgow City Center, but Review Express has helped put us on the map as a good little independent business to visit. As a small company, it’s a great tool to have. It was quick and it helped.”
“We didn’t realize that Review Express, with just a few clicks, would have such an impact.” – General Manager Gemma Cannon, The Pipers’ Tryst