Can you explain how the popularity index works? I can’t figure out why my property is ranked like it is.
Our popularity index works on a proprietary algorithm. We don’t disclose the specifics – no doubt our competitors would be interested, also! — but I can tell you that the quantity, quality, and timeliness of reviews play a key role in ranking properties. If you have a high number of recent reviews, and the majority of those reviews are favorable, you will likely rank higher than a competitor with fewer, older, but just as positive reviews. So what can you do to improve your ranking? Give your guests a great experience, and ask them all to write reviews. Offering incentives for reviews is against our rules, but there’s nothing wrong with encouragement. If you’re not already registered with our Owners’ Center, check it out – there’s a great tool for emailing guests after their stay and reminding them to rate their stay on TripAdvisor.
How have easily accessible reviews changed the travel industry?
Reviews written by everyday people have revolutionized the trip planning process. That may sound biased coming from me, but industry research delivers the same message over and over again: travelers trust the opinion of other consumers more than any other source when researching their trips.
The idea for TripAdvisor was born from my own attempt to plan a family vacation based on more information than I could get from resort brochures and web sites. I wanted to know what people who had been there – people like me, not the marketing folks – thought about the place. Travelers may still consult brochures, guidebooks, and travel agents, but user-generated reviews help complete the picture, and offer more data points on which to base a decision. And when millions of people are engaged in reviewing properties across the world, the scope of what they can cover is huge. TripAdvisor members have written nearly 30 million reviews and opinions on over 1 million hotels, restaurants, and accommodations. A traveler can come to TripAdvisor and search for the best hotel in Cincinnati for a family, or the best property for a business traveler, all based on what others like him have said. That kind of personalization increases the odds that your choices will be a good match for you, and that your trip will be successful.
I think we have also helped the hospitality industry as a whole. Suppliers who offer a sub standard product (e.g. a dirty hotel room) are reviewed in public, and the spotlight helps ‘encourage’ them to clean up their act… or lose business because their shoddy product isn’t a secret anymore. On the flip side, hoteliers who offer a great product/service love the fact that their good reputation can spread on the internet without a fancy marketing budget for TV. The good guys get more business, the bad guys lose business, and the traveler is happier.