My first role at TripAdvisor was on the T4B (TripAdvisor for Business) product team – later known as “Hotel Solutions” – which was tasked with improving the hotel owner/manager experience. My primary focus was improving reporting for Business Advantage customers in order to enable them to see the true ROI they were deriving from this premium membership.
The hotel review pages of Business Advantage customers feature customizable information at the top of the page; most often, this includes a website link, an email address, and a telephone number. While it is easy to track clicks on the site and email links, we had no way of tracking phone calls – and conservative estimates put those calls at roughly 30% of the ROI derived from the Business Advantage listing upgrade. As a result, customers had no way of knowing just how many bookings came from TripAdvisor, since about one-third of all contact points were uncredited.
Working with a vendor I had used at Textaurant (Twilio), I devised a system to add a custom “ring-through” number in place of each hotel’s selected phone number. This number is selected and implemented automatically with no incremental effort from a TripAdvisor employee or the hotel; and since TripAdvisor is paying for the forwarding service, we are able to track the number of calls to each location, allowing us to track the volume – as well as using duration data to estimate the number of bookings we drive.
Initial rollout was to a select group of U.S., Canada, and U.K. properties; full rollout was staged over the following two months.
The number of customers tracking their telephone ROI increased from 0 to more than 6,000 in the span of a few months. With this as a major factor, Business Advantage account retention rate increased by 8% year-over-year.