When searching about travel, hotels and accommodation, restaurants or attractions on the web, one of the most important factors is reviews. Trip Advisor (my personal favorite) is a big player in this arena and now Bing has integrated TripAdvisor more closely within search results – embedding TripAdvisor reviews, photos and price comparison results in their SERPs. If you use Windows 8.1 – there is even tighter integration with the Bing SmartSearch app.
For the travel and tourism industries, as well as restaurants, positive TripAdvisor reviews are now almost essential in getting people to book rooms and reservations. This inclusion in Bing results, which is the first time TripAdvisor has shared its metadata, should help Bing users to go from searching for an answer to booking a table or room all within one screen under the tabs for ‘Reservations’, ‘Reviews’ and ‘Find Rates’.
The average person booking a trip will typically visit 22 sites in 10 different web search sessions. This new integration aims to slash those numbers and lead to faster conversions and bookings. Whether it will also beneficially affect rankings for those website owners who have good reviews remains to be seen.
Bing says in its November 2013 blog announcement, “In addition to Smart Search, you will now see TripAdvisor’s price comparison tools, reviews and photos displayed directly within search results on Bing.com. With a simple search of say “hotels in New York” you can quickly and easily compare hotel prices and availability including live pricing available from a range of global booking partners.
Bing’s search partner Yahoo does not appear to be involved in this deal, (although Yahoo does include TripAdvisor’s Hotel search) and neither is Google likely to partner directly with TripAdvisor. What’s the reason for this? Well firstly, Google has its own travel products, and secondly, TripAdvisor is involved in Fairsearch.org which lobbies against Google.
Bing has gained a considerable market share during the previous year over Google, increasing the share of monthly search volume from 15.9% in September of 2012 to 18% in September of 2013. This may not seem like much, but that’s going from 2 billion, 597 million searches per month to 3 billion 350 million searches a month = an increase of almost 1 billion searches per month!
So, if you are in the travel and tourism sector or own a restaurant, you should be looking to include your details on Bing and TripAdvisor. This will be particularly useful because in 2014 this deal between Bing and TripAdvisor will lead to deeper integration within the TripAdvisor site itself. And this is a site that receives over 260 million unique visitors each month. Not a number you can easily ignore, correct?
It is also vital to stay on top of your TripAdvisor reviews and answer queries, complaints and negative reviews promptly to ensure that these do not put off potential purchasers.
For me – I love that Bing is taking this step and giving searchers and businesses even more options when it comes to marketing online.