Almost all travelers will read reviews before they book a trip. Not only that, as this survey reveals, 80% read between 6 and 12 reviews.
NB: This is an article from ARO Digital
Therefore, building a strong online reputation plays a crucial part in attracting potential guests and converting them into bookers who stay at your property.
TripAdvisor is one of the first dotcom business built around user generated content.
TripAdvisor is where guests go to praise, criticise, learn, and purchase. Every month, 456 million people – about one in every 16 people on earth – visit TripAdvisor review score to plan a trip.
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It is impossible to ignore the value of using the site to influence the decision-making process of potential guests.
A hotel’s TripAdvisor ranking is calculated using guest ratings however it’s not quite as simple as that. TripAdvisor’s Popularity Algorithm was changed back in 2016, and more recently in March 2018. The current version of the algorithm is based on assessing four areas:
1. QUALITY OF REVIEWS
This is the average rating that your guests are going to leave you on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor has 1 to 5 bubbles.
How does it look to a potential guest?
Consider Hotel A has 3.75 score and Hotel B has 3.26 score on TripAdvisor. They both are going to be shown with 3 and half bubbles.
If Hotel A get more positive reviews and leverage to 3.8, the number of bubbles will turn in a four-star property.
If Hotel B receive some negative scores and round down to 3.20, it will lose half a star on TripAdvisor.
This is in your control. Make sure your customer service is constantly improving.
Empower and train your team to ask for reviews from guests and ensure that you reply to them, even if it is simply ‘Thank You’.
It is crucial that you have a system for dealing with negative reviews – a well thought out reply to a poor review can actually work in your favour.
2. QUANTITY OF REVIEWS
The number of reviews your property gets on TripAdvisor is a key factor too.
If Hotel A has a perfect 5 star bubble with 5 reviews and Hotel B has a 4.5 star bubble with 55 reviews, even though the quality of Hotel B’s score is lower, they might actually rank higher on TripAdvisor.
The more information that is out there, it is going to paint a more accurate picture for travelers looking at these reviews.
Again this is in your control. If you find guests don’t leave reviews, enact a plan to ask them.
This could be at checkout or via a post stay email.
3. RECENCY OF REVIEWS
Hotel A and B both have 4-star reviews – what happens if we consider the dates of the reviews?
Consider the last review of Hotel A goes back to December 2020, but for Hotel B it was left only 2 days ago. Hotel B might be ranking higher because it gives travelers a more accurate representation of how the hotel is right now. This is particularly important in the COVID crisis.
Your hotel experience and guests’ expectations of the property could well be fluid right now. Getting recent reviews is vitally important.
Recent and frequent reviews will increase your TripAdvisor rankings and drive more bookings for you.
4. PERFORMANCE OVER TIME
What does performance over time mean?
Let’s compare the occupancy of Hotel A and Hotel B during the year.
Hotel A is very seasonal. For example, they have a seaside location and get a lot of guests in the summer and not so many in the winter. They will receive an uptick in reviews in the summer which will fall off in the low season.
Hotel B has a more balanced season and receives a consistent cadence of reviews – maybe not as many in the summer but they see a consistent stream.
According to TripAdvisor’s measures, Hotel B is going to be rewarded with a better ranking for their consistent performance over time.
If your hotel is closed for part of the year this can be reflected in your listing as long as you have claimed your profile.
If it remains open all year then there may be an opportunity for a new business segment in the off season which will provide a new stream of reviews.
TO WRAP UP!
All four of the factors mentioned in our article have an impact on your Trip Advisor ranking.
Quality and quantity are the key ones and fortunately they are largely under your control.
Consistency, customer service and being true to your brand values will go a long way to delighting your guests.
After that it’s matter of training and encouraging your staff to ask for reviews in an authentic, unobtrusive fashion; and also having a plan for post stay correspondence with guests.