NB: This is an article from nSight
It is not big news that online travel websites are influencing what consumers see online. What is news is that hotels can increase their ability to control their fate on these sites, including TripAdvisor, by measuring their ranking against competing hotels.
Each site has its own secret sauce that determines what pops up first on a consumer’s screen. The formulas vary based on continually fine-tuned algorithms that use a range of factors from guest reviews, complaints, even volume and quality of photos. Earlier this year, the WSJ explored the strategies used by different sites to determine hotel position and influence consumer choice, with the intent of making travel planning easier for the consumer.
With 87% of consumers doing the majority of travel planning on the Internet*, travel site rank is more important than ever. Hotels need to understand how they’re performing online compared to their comp set and how they rank against those hotels on the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor.
Why Benchmark on TripAdvisor
Approximately 49 percent of consumers say travel reviews websites are the “most useful” source of information for researching or planning a trip.** And the TripAdvisor network makes up the largest travel community in the world, reaching 340 million unique monthly visitors. According to the company, it offers 350 million reviews and opinions on 6.5 million plus accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.
For the travel consumer who is short on time and overwhelmed by shopping options, TripAdvisor simplifies the online search and booking process. In a seemingly objective way, TripAdvisor offers travelers the largest source of trusted information with real life guest reviews and photos.
Yes! Screen Order Does Matter
Where you fall on the page matters. Most shoppers make a selection from the first or second screen of search results on travel sites. There’s no question that better rank can help a less appealing hotel and rank beyond page two can hurt even the best properties.
Your TripAdvisor popularity ranking is based on traveler reviews and reflects your standing against other local hotels. Popularity is important because the closer you are to the #1 position, the higher your are on the page of search results, and the more likely it is that travelers will see and book your property.
How’s Your TripAdvisor Ranking Determined
Quality, quantity, and age of reviews are the three factors that interact to determine a property’s Popularity Ranking. To put it simply, TripAdvisor summarizes it like this:
- Good reviews are better than poor reviews.
Consumers want to be confident that what you say about your property, amenities and services is up to date and photos accurately reflect the reality of the experience they will have.
- More reviews are better than fewer reviews.
It’s a numbers game. You need a strong foundation of reviews to show that these reviews represent the guest experience.
- Recent reviews are better than older reviews.
Recent reviews carry more weight in your ranking, while older reviews have less impact over time.