TripAdvisor last week released a Transparency Report outlining how they approach the threat of fake reviews. The release of this report comes on the heels of some negative press around the presence of fake reviews on the site.
To Briefly recap the complaint, Which? Travel has claimed that one in seven reviews for ten top-ranked hotels in 10 popular tourist destinations had the “blatant hallmarks of fake reviews.” You can read more about those allegations in the Guardian story linked above.
Perhaps in response, or perhaps in a case of serendipity, TripAdvisor has come out weeks later with a report outlining not only their process but also gives insight into review volume across the world. You can read the report here.
Here are five key takeaways that hoteliers should know.
1. TripAdvisor received 66 million review submissions in 2018
In total, they received over 155 million content submissions between January 1 and December 31 of 2018, of which 66 million were reviews. The rest included management responses and forum posts.
2. The average rating submitted by reviewers for businesses and locations listed on TripAdvisor was 4.22 out of 5.
The vast majority (57%) of reviews submitted to TripAdvisor were five bubble ratings. 23.7% were four bubble reviews, meaning only about 20% of reviews were for three bubbles or lower — great job to hoteliers around the world for garnering such positive reviews.
3. 4.7% of all review submissions were rejected or removed by either the advanced analysis technology or manually by the content moderation team.
TripAdvisor has both an automated and manual review process. 3.4% of all submissions were rejected before they were posted to TripAdvisor, compared to 1.3% of all submissions which were removed after being posted. Not all reviews were removed for being fake, however. Only 2.1% of all reviews were determined to be fraudulent
4. TripAdvisor penalizes companies and individuals who attempt to cheat the system with penalties that increase in severity for repeat offenders.
These penalties can include a ranking penalty for businesses caught cheating the system. In 2018, over 34,000 businesses (out of more than 8 million) around the world were on the receiving end of at least one penalty. The most egregious penalty, reserved for repeat offenders, is a visible warning (or penality badge in TripAdvisor lingo) applied to the top of a business’s their page.
5.Review submissions spike between June and August
Unsurprisingly, review volume on TripAdvisor isn’t uniform throughout the year. They see the most reviews in June, July, and August, while seeing and the least in November, December and February.
Bonus: 53% of all reviews submitted to TripAdvisor were for properties in Europe!
North America came in second at 23% of the review volume. Asia came in third at 15%. South America (5%) narrowly beat out Middle East, Africa & Antarctica (4%) in terms of review volume. Note: Yes, TripAdvisor does have an Antarctica section if you’re looking to escape the end-of-summer heat.