TripAdvisor’s Popularity Algorithm was changed in March 2018. The latest update was designed to provide a fairer and more consistent form of ranking that looks at “performance over time”. As a result of this algorithm update, some hotels have seen their ranking move up, while others have gone down.
Here’s how the sites algorithm works.
A New York University study on the role of reviews in the travel planning process shows that the 95% of people read a travel review before they book a trip.
So building a strong online reputation plays a fundamental part in attracting guests and driving bookings.
Google, Facebook and Yelp all have significant influence in the online travel review space. But TripAdvisor, with over 455 million average monthly unique visitors, still reigns supreme.
In addiction TripAdvisor’s influence is growing: a recent study by Oxford Economics also found that, in the last decade, Tripadvisor uses accounted for $545 billion (10.3%) of worldwide tourist spend, compared with 7% ($268 billion) in the previous decade.
The current version of the algorithm is based on assessing three areas: the quality, recency and quantity of reviews that a business receives from users — and the consistency of those reviews over time.
Let’s look at how each of these work in more detail.
The ratings provided by users in the review rank the quality of the experience lived in that specific property. On equal terms, a business with more 5-bubble ratings will hold a higher position than a business with a lower score.
Recent reviews count more than older ones, because they represent the experience offered by the business more precisely. It follows that, within the ranking, the most dated reviews, positive or negative, are considered “less valuable”.
TripAdvisor’s users’ typical behavior is to read more reviews of the same business before forming an opinion about it. Agreement across a large set of fellow users’ reviews allow the users to make the final decision with more confidence.
So, another element of extreme importance for the Algorithm is the amount of reviews collected.
First of all, each business must have enough reviews to provide statistical significance, allowing a confident comparison to other businesses.
However, just the amount of reviews does not mean an higher position than the competitors.
As the platform accumulates more reviews on a business over time, TripAdvisor has more insight into the potential experience consumers can expect.
- Good reviews are better than poor reviews
- Recent reviews are given more weight than older reviews
- More reviews help build confidence faster
But the business’s Popularity Ranking is determined by the interaction of these elements.
For example, the quality and quantity of reviews over time are strictly related: a business that has consistently good reviews will rank higher than one with a similar number of good and poor reviews. Also recency and quantity are closely linked: a large number of recent reviews will be valued higher than older ones.
Certainly providing an excellent guest experience is an essential element to climb the review channels, but are also important encourage regular feedbacks and, above all, manage the reviews. Again, today more than ever, building a strong online reputation is essential for attracting guests and driving bookings.