Are TripAdvisor reviews reliable when planning?

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Travel with confidence and plan better trips by investigating and understanding the best way to check travel reviews, why they are important, and why TripAdvisor reviews are reliable.

Why travel with confidence? Because it can differentiate your bucket-list experience from being mediocre, or poor, to being a remarkable and breathtaking experience. How do you gain this confidence? By proper planning, and leveraging off the experiences of others. Planning, and the anticipation can be the most exciting part of a trip, and we need to understand that the result can equal the expectation! According to TripAdvisor ninety five percent of travellers say that other people’s reviews on travel review sites influenced their plans.

Why we chose TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor started 20 years ago and has revolutionised the travel industry! They lead the industry with over two million tourism businesses in over 116,000 destinations around the world. Plus, with over half a billion reviews, and state-of-the art data analytics and investigative methods they offer candid reviews.

How to understand and use TripAdvisor reviews to your advantage:

  • Understanding the platform popularity index
  • Cutting edge technology
  • How reviews play an integral part increasing travel activity
  • What travellers look for in reviews
  • Why are people share, and how you can benefit

Understanding the platform popularity index

Utilize the popularity ranking (re-calculated daily) based on the quality, quantity and recency of reviews compared to other service providers within the same geographical area. The providers closes to the top are generally the most popular.

Other popularity rankings to consider:

  1. Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best, the highest honour TripAdvisor bestows on a service provider. The awards acknowledge “the finest”  for service, quality and customer satisfaction.
  2. Travellers Choice (former Certificate of Excellence), the accolade gives exceptional businesses in a variety of different industries across the globe the recognition they deserve.
  3. TripAdvisor receives “Hotel Class” star ratings from third-party partners, such as Giata and national ratings organisations.
    Below the primary picture on the hotel’s listing page you can view the star rating.

The cutting edge technology

TripAdvisor has developed leading-edge content moderation processes to maintain the integrity of over half a billion reviews and opinions published to their forum. The electronic check and in-depth analysis ensure reviews meet the following standards: relevance, recency, helpfulness, original, unbiased, family friendly, and non-commercial.

TripAdvisor technology can map all sorts of electronic data to help show where every review comes from, including IP addresses, and device specifications. They use sophisticated techniques that banks use to detect fraud and adapt it to identify patterns among their data. When the technology spots an electronic pattern that doesn’t conform to their typical review model, it instantly flags the review as potentially suspicious. TripAdvisor considers the below as fake reviews:

Review boosting to promote.
Review vandalism – people purposefully try to slander a business.
Review optimisation – a service provider pays a business to falsify reviews on their behalf.

If the system detects clear violations of TripAdvisor’s guidelines, it will automatically reject the submission.

How TripAdvisor Moderates Content

1. Pre-posting moderation
Here the screened content ensures the reviewed business’s content is relevant, non-commercial, based on first-hand experience and by an affiliation not biased.

The review analysis system will either

Publish the review.
Investigate the review – here a human moderator will determine if the review meets guidelines.
Reject the review.

2. After-posting moderation

TripAdvisor’s objective is to catch suspicious content prior publishing. When the technology recognizes suspicious content, TripAdvisor has a team of specialists trained in network forensics and fraud detection working 24/7 who personally investigate situations as they arise.

TripAdvisor employs a sophisticated process for after-posting community reporting. If any TripAdvisor user suspects a suspicious review they can flag it. The moderation team will only remove a review if there’s evidence that it violates the company’s guidelines. Service providers will receive a penalty warning if the system detects the review as suspicious or rejected.

They also released an inaugural TripAdvisor Review Transparency Report provides insight into the moderation processes and key data for reviews submitted

How reviews play an integral part increasing travel activity

The results of the “Path to Purchase” study show that on average travellers take a month or two to research their trip, and that during this time, TripAdvisor’s influence over consumers’ hotel and flight booking decisions is staggering

The reasons:

Creates transparency: Consumers are clear about the positives and negatives of the hotels, restaurants or attractions they’re considering
Builds trust: Consumers are confident that TripAdvisor’s content is reliable and trustworthy
Growing content depth & breadth: Travelers see an enormous amount of aggregated information and reviews about accommodations, restaurants and attractions all over the world
Easing the Process of Searching & Booking: Travelers can easily find and compare prices and make a booking

What travellers look for in reviews:

A survey reveals the most important things they look for in a review are that it concentrates on:

  • Facts, that it provides plenty detail.
  • That it’s a recent experience
  • A balanced view, and it’s important to provide the context for why the reviewer liked or disliked something.
  • Practical tips that can improve their experience.
  • Travellers say they want to hear about the food quality, followed by the service.

The survey revealed the biggest turn-offs travellers face when reading reviews: overly picky reviews are the number one turn-off for travellers, followed by a lack of detail or specifics on what the reviewer experienced and bad grammar.

TripAdvisor travel advocate Wendy Perrin, who has been a travel journalist spanning two decades, shares: “What I have found to be really beneficial is to include in your review what you wished somebody had told you ahead of time, pinpointing what was out of the ordinary or unique about the experience,

Why are people sharing and how can you benefit

The top reasons travelers say they write reviews are because:

They want to share useful information with others.
And because “they find reviews helpful, so they want to give back, consistent with the global trend.

As a result of this, TripAdvisor takes time to celebrate reviewers who help travelers plan and book their trips through the “Ollie Awards”. The award is named after the mascot Ollie the Owl, or otherwise recognized as TripAdvisor Community Awards.

Before booking a trip ensure you know where to go when!


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