How to Improve Your Ranking on TripAdvisor

The TripAdvisor Popularity Index is becoming a critical metric for many hotels. Based on traveler feedback, a property’s ranking on the Popularity Index reflects how it compares to other hotels within a geographic area. Hotels that are closer to the top of the list are more likely to be seen when prospective guests search for hotels in the area.

TripAdvisor says that the Popularity Index algorithm is based on three key ingredients: the quality, quantity, and recency of reviews. It also tells us on its Insights blog, “We take content integrity very seriously and screen every review. If you are caught breaking our guidelines, it can take a big hit on your popularity ranking.”

But, TripAdvisor does not disclose all the elements of the Popularity Index algorithm. It also doesn’t tell us the weighting of each factor. For example, it doesn’t tell us whether a property’s average review score or total number of reviews are more important. So, we decided to do a little digging: What exactly do you, as a hotelier, need to know to learn how to improve your ranking on TripAdvisor?

What exactly affects your hotel’s TripAdvisor score? 

The results of our research aren’t entirely conclusive, but they give us a better idea of how the Popularity Index works. Our data scientists looked at the data on the Bangkok market–our customers, and their competitive sets. We found for the Bangkok market:

1 extra point on average review score will, on average, increase Popularity Index rank by 321 places.
1 extra review will increase Popularity Index rank 1.5 places.

Translation?

When calculating ranking, TripAdvisor weights a property’s average review score 20,000 times more than its total number of reviews. So, if your average review score stayed the same and you only increased the volume of reviews, it would take 2,1400 reviews to increase your rank by the same amount as one average review point.

Based on our data in the Bangkok market, we were able to come up with a rough approximation of weighting:

From what we can tell, the average review score of a property counts for 85% of the Popularity Index ranking.

The total volume of reviews counts for 6% of the property’s ranking.

9% is left unexplained.

We can speculate that some of this 9% is recency of reviews. This can also be where TripAdvisor factors in punitive action for violations of its guidelines, and it can include factors that are yet unknown to the general public.

What are the key takeaways?

To move up on the Popularity Index, improving customer experience is far more important than getting a greater volume of reviews. But, don’t forget: As a function of averages, it is more difficult to improve your ranking on the Popularity Index as you climb the scale. So, if you’re already trending toward the top of your market, it may be necessary to get a greater quantity of recent reviews in order to dominate your competition.

How to improve your ranking on TripAdvisor

While it’s important to get as much guest feedback as possible, it is much more important to listen to your guests and operationalize their feedback. TripAdvisor says, “The key to building a successful business and a higher popularity ranking is stellar hospitality and paying attention to your customers’ needs. Encourage customers to write reviews, learn from them and watch your hard work pay off.”

Want to learn more about how to improve your ranking on TripAdvisor? CLICK HERE to access our free guide for hoteliers, How to Get More Reviews on TripAdvisor.

40 responses to “How to Improve Your Ranking on TripAdvisor

  1. Do you believe that somewhere in the mix is also the conversion or some other financial metric. In other words, if a market has 400 properties and 100 are ranked 4.5 “dots”, would the properties who are the most profitable for Tripadvisor fare better in their Popularity Index?
    The truth is, Tripadvisor is trying to make money, so their algorithm must take that into account some way, right?

  2. Hello! I have a restaurant listed on TripAdvisor amd 4 positive reviews with good ratings, but I have no TripAdvisor general ranking and rating. When can I get those?

  3. Hi,
    I am launching a new hotel with 30 rooms. Should I list my property on B&B or hotel. I know some boutique hotels in top ranks of tripadvisor.com in our area are using fake reviews to get the high rank but I do not know how they are doing. Do you know how they are and should I do as them ?

    1. Hi Luck

      Thanks for the comment! I would never recommend using fake reviews. TripAdvisor does punish hotels that do this with a bad ranking, and there are a lot of different ways you could get caught.

      But, one way to boost your review volume on TripAdvisor is to use a post stay surveys product that automatically emails guests after checkout to ask them to leave feedback. For example, we have a data licensing agreement with TripAdvisor that allows our surveys customers to submit their feedback to be published on TripAdvisor. Our surveys customers have seen as much as a 70% improvement in TripAdvisor ranking.

      Does that answer your question? Please feel free to reach out again if you would like to discuss further.

      Best,
      Carolyn

      1. Thank you for your insight! How much did it cost to get your “data licensing agreement” with TripAdvisor? Which Survey platform did you use? Would Survey Monkey do the job ? (I’ve used it in the past). Would LOVE to increase our TA ratings, so I found your 70% amazing. Thanks again, gh

        Greg Hohman
        COO
        Mavericks Cantina.com
        Atlanta
        470.395.6140

  4. Hi,
    your post is amazing. I would nee you help please mail me.
    once again thank you so much
    I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon

  5. Hello Carolyn, thank you for you post, was very helpful.
    I have a question. We are selling shore excursions in the Baltic Sea Region and have a lot of competitors in our business. I would say that one of the most important sales tool for us is the ranking on TripAdvisor. But unfortunately we can not collect as much reviews as we want. Could you please give me some advices how we can get more feedbacks from our clients. We always remind them about the TA, we use the Review Express, but it doesnt help too much.
    As i know some of our competitors are using fake reviews to get the high rank but I do not know how they are doing. Are there are some ways to write fake reviews?

    1. Hi Elena,

      Thanks for reaching out! We would never suggest writing fake reviews. TripAdvisor is constantly updating its methods for catching people who write fake reviews, and your business will suffer on the Popularity Index if you are caught.

      Instead, I would look into ways you can optimize your Review Express emails so that your campaigns are more successful. Here’s TripAdvisor’s complete guide to Review Express. We’ve also written posts in the past that discuss how to optimize your emails for the highest success rate.

      I hope this helps!

      Best,
      Carolyn

  6. Dear Carolyn,
    Previously we have listed in the top 3 of 17 hotels, but later we have been pushed to 8th place for which the reason we could not understand. In the mean time we received 1 terrible review we have been pushed to 8th place. We would like to know how we can come back to our old position. Inspite of this terrible review we have been getting excellent reviews by the travellers but the position kept unchanged. Could you pls clarify..

  7. Dear Carolyn,
    Many thanks for your great help, However How should I have to do to get higher ranking on TripAdvisor? I found that there are some other companies which have few reviews but still ranked higher compared to my business which has more reviews and still ranked lower? The reviews are excellent but am in a low position. Please could you help on that??

  8. How would you recommend boosting trip advisor feedback/ positive ratings in a tourism environment, where there isn’t a great deal of follow up demand accessible? I would really like to know key steps to boost the reviews as the trip we provide is of very high quality and enjoyable.

    1. Hi Allin, I guess it depends on the exact nature of your tourism operation. But I think if you offer a great service, and the people go away really happy with their experience, why not mention “hey, by the way we’re on TripAdvisor, so feel free to leave a review…”

      There are also some useful TripAdvisor widgets which you can use on your website, or get the free sticker/poster.

      I’ve written a guide specific for pubs, but you might also find it useful http://publandlordadvisor.uk/6-easy-steps-to-conquer-tripadvisor-as-a-pub-marketing-tool/ – it also mentions this Revinate article!

  9. I particularly agree with that last takeaway: providing a great customer experience is the most vital ingredient of all. In order to do this, you need to listen to – and actively seek out – customer feedback. And finally, you need to respond accordingly.
    Really interesting all round.

  10. Dear Carolyn,
    You are so helpful. I am an owner on TripAdvisor had had a problem now. I don’t know if you can help or not. Please email to me.

    Thanks

  11. Dear Carolyn,

    This was a very helpful article. I have some more queries for you.
    I am representing from a reputed chain of restaurants and hotel business in Asia.

    I will be looking forward from you soon.

    Thankyou
    Rachel Pun
    Nepal

  12. Hi great article. One thing I have noticed, is that newer B&B providers (under 4 years in business). Seem to get in the top 10 accommodations in the world. I think when you are new in business people want to help you get established, so will do a review.. The longer you are in business the more repeat bookings you get, which is great, but there is only so much returning guests can say and Trip Advisor block too many reviews from the same people., restricting to one every 3 to 4 months it seems. Thereby small but well established B&B’s are sadly penalised for being successful, which is a shame.

  13. Hello from Cambodia Siem Reap.

    I hope this commend find you well, regarding my small Kiri Villa siem reap in Siem Reap just open at least 1 year already but there is not good review on tripadvisor, so how can I get more review on tripadvisor as I dont know how to do it because I have no experience on this and if I can pay more money to get the review I wish to do it but I know how to do it.
    Please help us as we are a small family and we have only this bushiness is our life.

  14. Hi

    How are you ?
    I have one question, some time my guest write reviews for my business during stay at my place and use same wifi
    Is there is any problem if they use same wifi

    One more question
    Before I was at 8 position but now I’m 24 and I’m getting everyday new reviews but not moving front, what should I do.

    Please help

    Regards
    Rathore

    1. Hi Rathore,

      The wifi might be the problem! That’s one of the ways TripAdvisor catches people who write fake reviews, by checking IP addresses and penalizing properties who get a significant number of their reviews from the same IP address. My suggestion is to instead encourage guests to write reviews with a follow up email a few days after they check out. It can hurt your ranking if they’re posting reviews from your property instead of a different location.

      Good luck,
      Carolyn

  15. 1. How many reviews we need to achieve in order to reach the next ranking.​ –
    2.What are the key takeaways?​ ​-
    3.. When do they change the rank (because in Singapore changes occur every​ ​Thursday of the week).​ – ​
    4. How many stars do we need to level up.
    5. Accuracy of Tripadvisor when in comes to ranking.​-
    May we ask for your assistance in further understanding Revinate?

  16. Dear Carolyn,
    Hello Carolyn, thank you for your post, it was very helpful for all properties.
    I hope you can help us to explain why we could not have Traveler Choice certificate from Trip. we are almost 10 years with the highest quantity of reviews and new reviews are updated very often even daily reviews. Compare to other same level properties we have much more excellent reviews and less negative reviews.
    I understand 3 elements to improve the ranking are quality of review, quantity of review and frequency of review. we got all of those but still dropped down of the ranking and left behind the new, small properties.
    Besides that, do the other properties with Traveler’s choice awards get the better ranking than other properties without Traveler’s choice award?
    I hope you could help us to figure out the situation and improve our ranking on TripAdvisor
    Thank you and kindest regards,

    Tuan Nguyen (Mr.)

    1. Hi Tuan,

      Unfortunately, the criteria for a Traveler’s Choice award is a little bit more of a mystery, as TripAdvisor does not publish specific criteria for qualification. Here is the information I was able to find:

      Travelers’ Choice awards are the highest honor TripAdvisor can bestow. Based on millions of reviews and opinions from travelers around the world, these annual awards reflect “the best of the best” for service, quality, and customer satisfaction, from hotels and accommodations to destinations, attractions, and even brands and products.

      https://developer-tripadvisor.com/content-api/business-content/award-content/

      But, congratulations on your hotel’s Certificate of Excellence! You can and should be proud of that!

      Best,
      Carolyn

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