Quality food, service and pricing are just some of the key ingredients that make a dining experience memorable and worth talking about. With 92% of people regularly or occasionally reading online reviews and 88% trusting them as much as personal recommendations, if your customers aren’t talking about your restaurant both online and offline then you could have a problem. Accumulating positive online reviews is one of the most effective ways of utilising your existing, loyal customers to entice new clientele through your restaurant doors.

TripAdvisor has over 4 million restaurants listed and is a cost-effective way of raising your business’s profile. The review site is not only a reliable, trusted source for people worldwide to inquire about your restaurant, but it also allows you to manage and respond to customer feedback. In addition, the site has launched a new advertising product aimed at restaurateurs, allowing you to use sponsored placements to drive traffic to your venues TripAdvisor listings. So, with reviews now so highly regarded it may be worth reading our tips to help your business acquire more TripAdvisor reviews.

1 – If you don’t ask you don’t get
It may sound pretty obvious but when a customer places their order at your counter or is paying the bill at their table your employees should take the time to ask them about their experience. 7 out of 10 consumers said that they would leave a review for a business if asked to, so simply letting diners know that you’d value their feedback on your TripAdvisor page can be the simple push that people need to contribute more TripAdvisor reviews. Building up a repertoire with your customers can also leave a positive, long-lasting impression and could encourage them to praise the service of particular staff members.

2 – The little things
You can use the finest of tools and the utmost charm to persuade people to leave your restaurant more TripAdvisor reviews, but if you don’t give guests a pleasurable experience from start to finish then it may be a lost cause. Guests love feeling valued and what’s better than getting a freebie or gaining access to information without even having to ask? Providing diners with complimentary water and nibbles on the table will immediately paint you in a good light and post-visit you could send them an email, SMS or a push notification thanking them for their custom and offering them 10% off their next visit. The littlest of treats can make a huge difference and could be the make or break between securing more TripAdvisor reviews and having a better TripAdvisor ranking than your competitors.

3 – Promote your presence
TripAdvisor may be the most well-known review site in the world but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shout out about your presence on the site, especially if you’ve bagged some badges and awards. Publicise your TripAdvisor page at every touch point, whether it be on your menus, receipts and flyers, or on your social media channels, WiFi login page and website, reminding visitors that reviews are important to you can make others feel obliged to share their own opinions. Also, if your restaurant features in a list such as the ‘Top 10 Restaurants in London’ then be sure to make some noise about it. It’s no small feat and ‘Top’ lists receive high search traffic from inquisitive prospects.

4 – Reminders and prompts
I’m sure this scenario will sound familiar. A new customer dined at your restaurant last week, appeared to enjoy every second, said they’d return again and leave a review, but a week has passed by and they’ve failed to recommend your venue and food to others online. In many cases this won’t have been intentional, they probably did want to write up a TripAdvisor review but it just wasn’t a top priority. A simple prompt could be all you need to resolve this common issue. Sending an automated email, SMS or push alert to people asking for a review within a specified timeframe after their visit could be all that’s needed to get more TripAdvisor reviews. It’s also been found that customers are more likely to recall their experiences in greater, more accurate detail within 3 to 7 days of purchase.

5 – Respond to reviews
Show folks that you appreciate them taking the time to leave reviews, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. In fact, if it is negative then this is more of a reason to respond as it shows that you proactively rectify issues and don’t want to tarnish your restaurant’s reputation. Responding to reviews may not have a direct effect on your TripAdvisor ranking but it can mean more bookings and potentially more TripAdvisor reviews in the long run as you implement changes in reaction to criticism.

6 – Take lead from the example
Regardless of the sector in which you operate, monitoring what your competitors are doing is vital to ensuring you don’t get left behind. What are the businesses with the highest TripAdvisor ratings doing? What do people praise your competitors for in their TripAdvisor reviews? Follow them closely so that you can start to imitate their best qualities or conjure up ways to become better than them. Before you know it your restaurant could be racing to the top of the rankings and acquiring more TripAdvisor reviews than you ever anticipated.

All in all, gaining popularity is important. Acquiring a healthy influx of good quality reviews will increase visibility and engagement, which in turn will lead to increased bookings and revenue. However, it is vital that you acquire the demographic details of the people that actually visit your venues so that you can deliver offers and promotions to them, encourage them to return and prompt them to leave valuable TripAdvisor reviews for your restaurant. Without this information, you risk never seeing or hearing from them again. By gaining access to existing customer data you can drive repeat custom and harness their reviews to attract new customers. A win-win for any restaurateur.