Hotel advertising can be misleading and you never know what you’re getting into until you arrive on the day of your booking. The gorgeous Victorian-style queen-size bedroom could end up being a dodgy room in a bad neighborhood. Fortunately, thanks to modern-day technology, we have fantastic aids that we can use to pick out the good places from the not-so-good. One of those aids is TripAdvisor, an exceptionally popular travel guide website.
TripAdvisor is suitable for travelers who want everything in one place as it’s a one-stop trip-planning platform. It’s one of the world’s biggest and oldest travel metasearch engines with an enormous database of hotels, activities, and flights from all over the world. The only notable downside is that some of the ratings and reviews on the website may not be authentic.
Pros and Cons
- Straightforward and easy to use.
- Not limited to hotels.
- Huge compilation of hotels, flights, and activities to compare and choose from.
- Searches the internet for the best deals on booking platforms, providing the lowest prices.
- Remarkable customer service.
- A rather flexible cancelation policy.
- Very safe to use.
- No sign-up costs or fees.
- No need to sign in with personal details.
- Huge community to help with any question you might have
- Some of the ratings on TripAdvisor may not be authentic.
What Is TripAdvisor and How Does It Work?
TripAdvisor is a metasearch engine, online travel agent, and travel guidance website all in one. With a directory of hotels, activities, flights, cruises, and even rental cars from all over the world, it’s basically a mini search engine for all your traveling needs.
The platform has been around since 2000, building a collection of billions of customers and reviews. The goal is to make planning your trip as painless as possible. From coming up with the perfect itinerary to booking a room at each stop on your road trip, TripAdvisor has it all.
Genuine Reviews & Photos
You have access to thousands of genuine reviews and real pictures by actual tourists on each listing. This means that you can get a very clear idea about each hotel or activity before you make a booking that you may regret later.
Best deals searched and presented to you
The platform helps tremendously when it comes to sniffing out the best deals. They fetch packages and prices from different sites to bring you the best deals. This means that if the hotel’s website is offering a room for $150, but you can get it for $140 on Booking.com, both of the pricing options will show up on a single TripAdvisor page.
Easy to navigate
The entire site’s interface is straightforward, colorful, and easy to navigate. As soon as you enter the website, the homepage is already filled with numerous recommendations based on user popularity. The first suggestions that you see are usually from places all around the world and you’ll have to enter a specific location to narrow it down.
The header right at the top of the homepage has a menu that allows you to navigate through different categories. It gives you a few options to choose from, like:
- Things to do
- Vacation rentals
- Travel stories
If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s a More button that reveals a drop-down list of additional options to choose from, like road trips, travel tips, and hiring trip designers. As soon as you click on one of these many options, you are prompted to enter a location. You can choose any place from anywhere across the world.
Search Result and filters function
When you have chosen the location that you would like to visit, you will be taken to a brand new page. Here, you’ll see a list of hotel suggestions or things to do in the area based on popularity and rating. The most visited reviewed hotels and attractions will naturally appear right at the top of the page.
You can refine this list further to your liking by using the helpful filter option. If you’re looking for hotels in particular, it allows you to narrow it down based on:
- The specific region or area you’d like to visit
- The type of lodging that you need
- Your preferred star rating
- The brand of the hotel
- Specific amenities, like free Wifi and a pool
- The class of the hotel
A new list of choices, specifically compiled based on your selections, will appear next. There will be much fewer results displayed than right at the beginning because it won’t show random places that don’t match your preferences anymore. This makes it much easier to navigate through all the choices.
You can then decide on a single listing that interests you. To get more details about the hotel, simply click on one of the options to be taken to a new page. Each listing page includes the following:
- Name of the hotel
- An overall rating out of 5
- Photos by real tourists
- The address, number, and email
- An option to save for future reference
- An easy-to-use check-in and check-out date picker
- The best package options from different sites
- A short About section with necessary information
- All the property amenities and features
- A location section that includes all the nearest attractions
Continually updated recommendations
If you just feel like browsing and updating your bucket list, TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards is exactly the thing you’re looking for. It’s their very own awards system which includes all the best spots of the year, based on user ratings.
There’s a Travelers’ Choice for all of the categories, from Hotels to Restaurants. The winners are selected based on the number of good reviews and user ratings that they got throughout the year. It’s a great way to see what people are loving at the moment and it’s perfect for business owners to get extra eyes on their listings.
Note to remember
It’s important to note that TripAdvisor isn’t a booking website. You won’t be able to make a booking on the site, but you can choose any of the package options that come up with each listing. As soon as you click on one of the pricing options, you’ll be taken to a third-party booking site or straight to the hotel’s website.
This means TripAdvisor will have little power to help or accommodate your requests once you book your room. You will have to communicate with the booking site or with the hotel directly.
Why Do People Use TripAdvisor?
So, why do people keep going back to TripAdvisor if it isn’t possible to make bookings directly on the website? Well, because it’s one of the best travel aids out there and it makes planning trips and vacations much easier. I like to think of TripAdvisor as my personal online travel agent (that I don’t have to pay!)
Gone are the days of going back and forth between different hotel websites and making notes to find the best deals. With TripAdvisor, all the best hotels are right there, on one page for easy comparison. All the prices from different sites are sourced for you so you don’t end up paying the highest rate.
Additionally, all the amenities that each hotel has to offer are arranged in a straightforward layout for quick skimming, and the closest attractions are laid out on a map for a better idea of the exact location. They also include a grade out of 100 for how suitable it is for walkers.
This isn’t even the best part about TripAdvisor, which is like the HelloPeter of the tourism world. It’s a user-driven website with the most detailed user-generated reviews that you possibly could come across. Each listing comes equipped with hundreds (and sometimes even thousands) of photos taken by tourists during their stay. Who better to warn you against potential issues than fellow travelers?
Is TripAdvisor A Good Booking Site?
As mentioned before, TripAdvisor isn’t a booking site. It’s more of an advice website that helps you in making the right choice when booking on third-party sites.
Nevertheless, TripAdvisor is a good travel site and we recently gave them the overall number 1 spot in our article on the 5 Best Hotel Booking Sites. Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for more sites like TripAdvisor.
This was a well-deserved first place because they truly have everything that you are looking for when ticking things off your checklist for your next trip. Some of the best deals that can’t be found anywhere else are found on TripAdvisor listings. Plus, it only takes a simple click to be taken to the third-party booking sites or the hotel’s website. Unlike some other well-known platforms, the links provided load quite fast and there’s almost no waiting time.
Business owners? You can list your property on TripAdvisor
It’s really easy for business owners to get their hotel or attraction listed on TripAdvisor. So, if you’ve been wanting to broaden your horizons and double (or triple) your client base, you won’t need to hire an IT professional to help get you listed. There are only a few simple steps to follow to receive all of the benefits that come with listing on their site. And guess what? Listing your business is completely free.
You can choose the user photos that get featured right at the top of your listing or on the homepage because, in the end, it is the first impression that visitors will get of your establishment. You also get the chance to leave comments when you receive reviews because you deserve to state your case if someone is being unfair. They also added a section that you can use to track the performance of your listing with some great tips to increase your ratings.
How Much Does TripAdvisor Charge For Bookings?
The good news is that TripAdvisor is completely free to browse. You don’t even have to log in with your personal details to make use of the platform and there are no hidden sign-up costs. So, how are they making their money?
Well, it may be free for you as the user, but that doesn’t mean they are losing out when you book on one of the third-party sites. TripAdvisor is actually in the affiliate marketing business, which is how they pay their employees and keep their company afloat.
They include their own affiliate links in each of the buttons that you click on to make a booking on another site. When you pay for any booking through these links, they get a small commission from third-party booking sites. This commission is a standard fee of 3% of the total booking price.
Let’s say you browse through listings on TripAdvisor and you see something you like. So, you scan through the deals on the page and Hotels.com seems to be the cheapest. Generally, the next step would be to click on the link, which takes you to Hotels.com and complete your booking. If you end up paying $1000 for your booking, 3% of the amount, which is a total of $30, goes straight to TripAdvisor.
The same goes for all the other booking sites that you see on each listing. This means that if you use the site to advertise your hotel and someone books a room on your website by going through them, you need to give 3% of the amount to TripAdvisor.
Is It Safe To Book On TripAdvisor?
TripAdvisor takes their and your safety very seriously. You can find an entire section with their Trust and Security policy on the website, which means that they do everything in their power to make the platform as safe as possible.
Since there’s no need to enter any personal or banking details to use TripAdvisor, there’s no real safety threat. Additionally, TripAdvisor isn’t a booking site and they don’t keep any personal data on the site.
All the bookings and payments need to be done on third-party websites, which makes the platform extra safe. Frankly, there’s no need for hackers to try and gain access to TripAdvisor if they don’t handle any finances.