TripAdvisor Can Trip Up Business

Crystal Palace Saloon is one of the 13 restaurants reviewed on TripAdvisor. A reviewer from Salem, Mass. said "This place is like walking into a history book. Everything original and has great drinks and food. Feel the old west and visit this place."
Crystal Palace Saloon is one of the 13 restaurants reviewed on TripAdvisor. A reviewer from Salem, Mass. said “This place is like walking into a history book. Everything original and has great drinks and food. Feel the old west and visit this place.”

The reviews are sometimes harsh:

“Cold, over-priced food. Raunchy, very un-family friendly, totally inappropriate music, décor, life entertainment, waitress attire. Wish I didn’t’ even come to Tombstone.”

Sometimes they are kind:

“It’s not real fancy or anything like that, but it was real cozy and clean, not to mention the proximity to downtown Tombstone was great! Everyone was nice and our room was a lot better than we actually expected.”

For small businesses, any reviews at all on the social networking site TripAdvisor can make or break your business.

TripAdvisor lets tourists share opinions about places and restaurants to advise (or warn, in some circumstances) future tourists where to eat. The review set-up of the website gives tourists free-reign to make whatever comments they want—nice and not-so-nice alike. TripAdvisor also ranks restaurants, motels and tourist attractions based on the number of reviews.

Tombstone has 15 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor, but only 13 of them have been ranked and reviewed. The two that aren’t reviewed are Bonanza Pizza House, which closed, and Stampede Bakery that is attached to a B&B.

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon has the most reviews, including the most current review from March 7 by a tourist from Washington.

“Luckily we were in no hurry, and I had time for two drinks (Grand Canyon IPA and the Tombstone Tea) of which I highly recommend both,” the reviewer posted.From its 311 reviewers, 83 percent gave the restaurant an “excellent” rating and it was ranked four and a half bubbles out of five.

Big Nose Kate’s owners could not be reached for comment.

Ranch 22, which sits at the bottom of the TripAdvisor Tombstone list, had 16 reviews, half of which rated the restaurant as “excellent.” Ranch 22 had a 75 percent recommendation rating overall from reviewers.

Larian Motel is one of eight motels reviewed on TripAdvisor.  A manager who would only give her name as Linda said the reviews are “the No. 1 asset to tourists because it’s honest.” The reviews are also well diversified with comments coming in from Phoenix, Snohomish, Wash., and Salem, Mass., just to name a few.

Tombstone TripAdvisor reviewers come from throughout the country, including Phoenix, Snohomish, Wash., and Salem, Mass.

Social media sites such as TripAdvisor are important marketing tools for towns like Tombstone that depend on tourism to survive, said Tombstone Chamber of Commerce board member Kenn Barret.

In the four years that he’s worked with the Chamber of Commerce, Barret said he has noticed an increase in the number of tourists that have used TripAdvisor to plan their visits.

“We know that a large percentage of people who take vacations plan them online, so it’s important to have good information,” he said.  “People don’t just consult the auto club; they do a lot of research online. We can tell when we answer the phone that they have a little bit of information because they’re researching it before they come.”

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