With the recent announcement that Tripadvisor is going to be offering a paid listing option, one wonders long term about the future of whether already financially cash strapped bed and breakfasts are going to pay the fees to be listed.
While I think most hotels will consider this a slight drop in the budget and will just add it in to their normal operational overhead, I think many bed and breakfast will be stuck in between a rock and a hard place.
Many B&B’s list their properties already on the two major B&B directories here in the states, bedandbreakfast.com and bnbfinder.com, between the two averaging around $500 plus per year in listing fees, plus many bed and breakfasts pay an additional average of twice that to be listed on many of the smaller directories cumulatively.
How is a bed and breakfast with only 3 rooms for example expected to pay the fees that TA is proposing?
With the economy still a mess and lodging and tourism trends still down, many inns may wish to be listed but for financial reasons will not be able to do so.
For B&Bs that have never had or have had few reviews posted, listing on Tripadvisor may be a moot point.
But what is the case of a B&B for example like The George Washington Inn’s listing on the Bedandbreakfast.com site, which reads like every B&B’s wet dream, and doesn’t do too shabbily on Tripadvisor’s listing either, reviews go a long way for their bread and butter. Where they are getting primary traffic from is a question that they will have to answer in the coming months.
The other questions that spring to mind are the impartiality of the future paid listings.
Tripadvisor is currently judged an impartial source. Once they start charging for listings the view by the general public that properties are paying for listings perhaps becomes skewed.
As a consumer, I will have a hard time looking at TA listings in the future and wondering if there is some sort of favoritism going on with the paid listings. While I strongly doubt this will happen, the fact remains that I will probably wonder about it, and as a result, would view another review site instead, to make sure they were completely impartial, or would return to a regular bed and breakfast directory to find lodging.
The long term result of this may also be that Tripadvisor turns into major competition for the primary Bed and Breakfast directories. This could have both positive and negative aspects.
Will B&Bs find its worth it to jump ship from the major directories and pay the fee to Tripadvisor instead? In the small budgets most B&Bs have, this is going to be a whopper of a decision.
Will B&B directories, if they find membership bailing out to Tripadvisor, have to give added incentives and price breaks to B&Bs to retain membership? Only time will tell.
I would hope that Tripadvisor would take a careful look at the fee options. Listing by room and property size would be a much more rational (and affordable) option for most bed and breakfasts.
From a marketing standpoint do you make more money having 10 bed and breakfasts listed for $600 each or having 600 bed and breakfasts listed at $100 each (which is a much more affordable option for cash strapped bed and breakfasts)? You do the math.
If you are an inn or bed and breakfast, please take our Tripadvisor survey. It will run until Thanksgiving and results will be published the following week: https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/bed-and-breakfast-survey-about-tripadvisors-new-listing-options/