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Due to the speed at which travelers are sharing their experiences on the site, TripAdvisor found instances where a newly listed property was able to skyrocket to the top of the rankings on relatively few 5-bubble reviews.
They called these properties “fast-risers”.
Over time, TripAdvisor travelers would submit more reviews on the fast-risers, causing them to settle into more stable, accurate rankings.
Unfortunately, while this transition was happening, TripAdvisor consumers may not have been seeing the most accurate rankings for the destination.
Fast-risers would temporarily enjoy higher positions before falling significantly in the rankings, and other businesses would appear lower than they would have otherwise.
To improve the site experience for travelers and businesses alike, TripAdvisor has enhanced its Popularity Ranking algorithm. The enhanced ranking results in a more accurate representation of a business’s performance over time.
TripAdvisor redesigned the enhanced Popularity Ranking algorithm to value the quantity and consistency of reviews more significantly than in the past.
The Popularity Ranking continues to be based on the quality, recency and quantity of reviews that a business receives from travelers. The final algorithmic input, for a small set of properties that violate the guidelines, are fraud penalties that exist to protect the integrity of the content on TripAdvisor.
All other things being equal, a property with more 4- and 5-bubble ratings will rank higher than a business with lower bubble ratings.
TripAdvisor believes that recent reviews are more valuable to travelers than older reviews, so more consideration is given to fresh reviews over those that were written in the past.
The number of reviews is a critical indicator to TripAdvisor travelers about a property. TripAdvisor consumers read multiple reviews to help form a balanced opinion on a business and tend to have more confidence in their decisions when they see agreement across a large set of fellow travelers’ reviews.
In summary, the 3 factors below interact to determine a property’s Popularity Ranking:
1. More reviews are better than fewer reviews;
2. Good reviews are better than poor reviews;
3. Recent reviews are better than older reviews.
The new algorithm does a better job of rewarding consistently good behavior: A property that has many consistently good reviews will rank higher than one that has many reviews, some of which are good and some of which are poor, all other things being equal. That’s because we can have more confidence in our ranking if a large number of travelers are reporting consistent experiences at that property.
At the moment, the sub-ratings (cleanliness, service, etc.) do not factor into the ranking calculation. Note also that management responses are not factored into Popularity Ranking.