Humphrey and I met in the summer of 2018 while I was traveling through East Africa. We met up at Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Kenya, and he lead me on one of the best city tours I'd ever been on. Informative, entertaining, and just what I needed to take my mind off of work.

After the tour, we kept in touch. And as I got more involved in tourism, I reached out to him with a proposal of how we could team up - remotely.

And in just a few short months from our starting out, we reached an incredible goal together:

We got Humphrey to #1 on Tripadvisor.

Since soon after launching his activity "Walking Tour Though Old Town Mombasa and Fort Jesus" - Humphrey has been in the #1 slot on Tripadvisor... of 200+ tours.

Three Tips To Get To #1 On Tripadvisor - Even During A Pandemic

Before I get to the three steps to getting your own tourism business to #1, I want to make sure Humphrey gets all of the credit first. He put in the hard work, he was out there each day, and he's now reaping the rewards in terms of online bookings through people who take his 100+ 5-star reviews seriously.

Now, though, I'm sure you're looking to improve your own rankings on Tripadvisor. So here are the three tips we learned to help us get to #1.

  1. Pick The Low-Hanging Fruit - As in, do the easy stuff. If you don't have a Tripadvisor account, set one up. If you don't have an Instagram, set one up. If you don't have a Facebook... well, maybe don't. But you get the idea. People want to help you. People want to support your business. People want to write reviews and send attention your way. But until you have something to catch it, they can't. And remember - your profile doesn't have to be perfect on your first try. That's what the edit button is for. But it's always easier to edit something than to edit... nothing.
  2. Ask For Help - Whether it's asking tourists for reviews or friends for help setting up your online profiles, ask for help where you need it and you'll go further. Especially when you're starting out, each review from a tourist is precious. Get in the habit of sending them the link after each tour. Like, right after the tour. They can fill it out at their hotel, at the airport, the next time they have WiFi. But if you wait too long, they'll be onto their next activities, and your chances of getting their reviews will start to drop off.
  3. Don't Settle For Less Than 5 Stars - If you're going to rise to the top, you'll need a high average to get there. Before asking for reviews from your guests, ask if there's anything you could've improved on or if they have any feedback. If it's constructive, positive, and helpful, feel free to share the link. If they're having a bad day or they had a bad experience, consider holding back. While a few non 5-star reviews won't hurt you (and will in fact make you seem more human... no one's perfect, after all), you want to make sure those kinds of reviews are thoughtful and constructive.

Humphrey and I continue to work together, and though I haven't had the pleasure to connect with him at Fort Jesus lately, I still get to watch his successes pour in through positive reviews and his reigning #1 slot on Tripadvisor. As the pandemic recedes and as travelers begin to venture out again, I have no doubt he'll continue growing into one of Mombasa - and Kenya's - premier tour guides.

In the summer of 2018, I worked with the team at Heaven Restaurants, Heaven Boutique Hotel, The Retreat, and Fusion to launch their own travel company, Heaven Tours. We developed and costed itineraries for Kigali city tours, an art & fashion tour, a cultural tours, a culinary tour, and tours to the many incredible national parks of Rwanda.

Throughout I documented with photos and videos that were used to market each of the available itineraries to both incoming tourists and to tour operators to create more compelling vacation packages.

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