ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do you run a hotel or restaurant in Bhutan? Take TripAdvisor seriously

"World's most trusted travel advice" is the most popular travel website in the world. Customers post reviews and opinions of hotels and restaurants for everyone to see. Crores of users (more than 65,000,000 a month) visit TripAdvisor and its sister websites, such as India's, to check hotel and restaurant reviews. Many tourists will ask their tour operator to book a hotel that was recommended on TripAdvisor, or to have dinner at a restaurant that was mentioned on the site. And many locals check TripAdvisor as well, especially before choosing a dining venue.

Currently, TripAdvisor covers 101 hotels and guesthouses in Bhutan, as well as 18 restaurants. As of the time of writing, the top rated hotels in Bhutan are Uma Paro, Jakar Village Lodge and Zhiwa Ling. The top-rated restaurants are Ambient Cafe, Seasons and The Zone.

Some of the hotels - Uma Paro, for example - take TripAdvisor very seriously. Jorge Monje, the hotel's general manager, personally responds to each and every review, including negative ones. This is a great strategy, as it shows visitors that the people who run the property care about their customers. Yet, some hotel and restaurant owners ignore negative reviews, or are probably not even aware that their property is listed - and reviewed - on TripAdvisor.

So how to go about TripAdvisor as customers? First, after staying at a hotel or dining at a restaurant, add your feedback and comments to the establishment's entry in TripAdvisor. If you are a hotel or restaurant owner, make sure your property is listed on TripAdvisor, and make sure the details are correct. Monitor reviews and respond to them, especially negative ones. And encourage your happy guests to write reviews. Many hotels around the world request their guests to review their property on TripAdvisor, usually upon checkout.

Where to start? The TripAdvisor channel on YouTube  has useful video clips for property owners.

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