restaurants

TripAdvisor WiFi Add-On Drives Restaurant Email Marketing

TripAdvisor is offering restaurants their own custom-branded WiFi add-on so that eateries can collect contact information about customers and send them emails to generate more reviews on the travel platform and encourage repeat dining.

TripAdvisor WiFi Plus is a subscription service powered by social WiFi marketing provider Captini. Restaurants that register for the service receive a hot spot that connects to their own in-house WiFi.

When guests sign in to TripAdvisor WiFi Plus with an email address or social media credentials, they see a landing page custom-branded for the restaurant and automatically receive an email after they leave encouraging them to post a review on TripAdvisor.

On average, restaurants that use TripAdvisor WiFi Plus collect 70% more reviews, TripAdvisor says.

The move dovetails with the company’s stated intent to grow its advertising revenue by becoming more of a global platform through which companies can segment and target audiences via programmatic transactions. More reviews mean more traffic for TripAdvisor, which boasts 490 million unique monthly visitors and five million restaurant listings.

TripAdvisor WiFi Plus integrates with a dashboard through which restaurants can send one-off emails and set up automated email marketing messages to offer discounts or loyalty rewards. The service has “built-in loyalty triggers” that can reward diners after a certain number of visits, differentiating it from traditional loyalty programs that require diners to carry a loyalty card.

The company’s policy for restaurants stipulates they can encourage but not incentivize diners to write reviews but “recommends guests submit their reviews when they return home, on their own PC or mobile devices.”

Spokesman Brian Hoyt explains that the off-premise review guideline helps to prevent fraud. “Reviews written on-premises will share an IP address with the owner's own account, and that may trigger our fraud systems to take a closer look, which could potentially delay the posting of a customer's review,” Hoyt tells Marketing Daily. “This isn't the case for reviews collected using our WiFi service.”

Additionally, the new service helps to ensure that whoever posts a review was actually at the restaurant. “In addition to our fraud moderation practices, services like our new WiFi program actually helps bolster the integrity of the content coming to our platform,” Hoyt adds.

TripAdvisor has told the investment community that one of its priorities is to make greater use of its first-party data to create more ad formats and generate additional revenue from its channels. “We really don't feel we've tapped into the opportunity to better understand who these folks are so that we can segment them and offer visibility to these users across all of our endemic clients as well as non-endemic clients,” CEO Steve Kaufer said on a recent earnings conference call.

He also touched on new brand messaging that TripAdvisor will soon roll out, to be supported by advertising media early in 2020. Among ad products in beta are the ability to sponsor a location or the discovery of a location.

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