Trip Advisor: The wonderful world of algorithms

If you’ve ever looked closely at Trip Advisor reviews, you might have noticed that sometimes a venue appears further down the search list – even though it has higher scores than its competitors.

Maybe your business has been affected.

So you might be wondering: How do Trip Advisor rankings work?

Well, like all search engines, Trip Advisor uses algorithms to work out how to rank entries.

Put simply, an algorithm is a set of rules that tells a computer how to perform a calculation. The three Trip Advisor popularity ranking algorithms are quality, recency and quantity, and together, they calculate where a business should be listed.

Let’s take a look.


The quality algorithm looks for positive reviews.

You’ll be familiar with Trip Advisor’s five-bubble system, where customers rate their experience of your business from one to five.

Naturally, and probably most obviously, you’ll want as many high-scoring reviews as possible to help your business rank higher than those with lower scores.


The recency algorithm requires a continuous flow of reviews.

In short, newer reviews outrank older ones. Makes sense when you think how a business might evolve over time, right? A review based on yesterday’s visit will be more helpful to a reader than another from a few years ago.


The quantity algorithm wants strength in numbers.

Regardless of what the reviews say or when they were posted, the quantity of reviews gives confidence of a more accurate representation.

There’s no target number though, and as explained by Trip Advisor:

“A business just needs to have enough reviews to provide statistical significance and allow for a confident comparison to other businesses.”

So how can you improve your Trip Advisor ranking?

The trick to maintaining a good Trip Advisor ranking is balancing all three of these popularity algorithms. It’s no use having hundreds of 5-bubble reviews if they are all several years old.

Try focusing on:

  • Listening to and acting on customer feedback to improve your scores, especially in the specific areas your guests will be rating you on. Depending on the type of business, you could be rated on customer service, food, value for money or other areas.
  • Asking as many customers as possible to leave a review. Consider creating reminder cards or putting a note in rooms or on tables. If successful, this should improve both the recency and quantity algorithms.

Head over to Trip Advisor Insights for more information about its popularity ranking algorithms and other tips for maximising your searchability and ranking scores.

And as always, for help with managing your social media presence, including your Trip Advisor activity, contact me to discuss your business.