Why your Hotels ranking on TripAdvisor doesn’t matter

Your hotels ranking on TripAdvisor doesn’t matter. That’s a bit of a bold statement to make, but we’re seeing less and less importance on the old-fashioned way of ranking hotels by location due to the new ranking-algorithm implemented by TripAdvisor.

Around the same sort of time that the huge attraction-and-hotel-review network started to further monetise their traffic through the TripConnect scheme, where you can see live rates for booking hotel rooms whilst browsing the site, they also modified their ranking-factors.

Traditionally the site would use a variety of factors when it came to deciding on which hotels to rank first in their location results, so if you went to look for hotels in London for example you may have seen the top positions showing hotels with thousands of 5-star reviews. Some of these ranking factors are thought to include the number of reviews, the average ratings, the frequency of the reviews, the quality of the reviews and the authority of the reviewer. There are likely to be many other factors that went into deciding the rankings, and many hotels were constantly left trying to guess what it was based on. TripAdvisor were understandably defensive when asked on the secret to top positions, as like Google and other search engines; they don’t want to let people or hotels unfairly increase their ranking by “gaming” the system.

How the new TripAdvisor ranking system works

This is where the new, social element of TripAdvisors algorithm comes into play. For those users who are logged into Facebook whilst browsing the site (it doesn’t matter if the browser window isn’t open on Facebook, just that you have cookies saved on your machine or if you’re logged into TripAdvisor using the same account as you use on Facebook), you will see hotels ranked by those that have been visited by your Facebook friends.
So for example if you go to look now at hotels in London, chances are that if a friend of yours has stayed at one, and reviewed it on TripAdvisor, you’ll see this hotel listed first in the rankings.

This “social” review element is really affecting the relevance of the old TripAdvisor hotel rankings, and it makes it even more important that your hotel has a combined approach to their online marketing strategy, ensuring that their Facebook presence and profile is optimised fully and that the hotel posts regularly to the platform.

Rankings based on previous hotel history

This isn’t the only visible change to the TripAdvisor search-algorithm. It seems that their technical team has been really busy implementing changes in recent-times, as they have also begun to display hotels on a more individual, personalised basis. Using your previous browsing and review-history, they have started to display hotels that are similar to ones you’ve used previously. If you’ve stayed predominantly in 5 star luxury hotels throughout your travels (lucky you), you’ll start seeing luxury hotels when you carry out a new search in any location.

These two big changes in the ranking system are really helping to turn the TripAdvisor site into a really social, personable experience. Gone are the days when its as simple as having numerous great reviews to rank high – sure this is still important, and we still recommend working towards reviews as a goal on this platform. But it’s always worthwhile keeping on top of their changes, and to realise that there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes. Ultimately, hotels have to remain focused on keeping their customers happy as their priority, and then to think of ways in which they can use social channels, including TripAdvisor, to their full advantage.

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