The 3 Factors That Will Increase Your Ranking on TripAdvisor

Xola Team
Xola Team
Share on
The 3 Factors That Will Increase Your Ranking on TripAdvisor

With more than 455 million unique monthly visitors, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel review website.

With such a large audience of travelers making booking decisions on TripAdvisor, achieving a high ranking on the platform is an important element to the success of many tour and activity operators.

But ranking on TripAdvisor isn’t as simple as “more reviews, higher rankings.” The truth is much more nuanced. Tour and activity operators who understand TripAdvisor’s Popularity Ranking Algorithm will be much more successful on the platform, achieving higher rankings and more bookings.

The 3 Factors That Affect Your TripAdvisor Ranking

In general, TripAdvisor’s Popularity Ranking Algorithm considers three primary factors when deciding how to rank businesses against one another. These factors are:

  1. Quality
  2. Recency
  3. Quantity

Outside of these factors, it’s also important that tour and activity operators avoid any violation of TripAdvisor’s review guidelines. Violations will result in fraud penalties which can have a long-term negative impact on your ranking.

Review Quality

Review quality refers to the “bubble rating” that guests provide when they rate their experience on TripAdvisor. All other things being equal, a listing with more 4- and 5-bubble rating will rank higher than listings with lower bubble ratings.

Cipher Escape Room TripAdvisor Quality Rating 1

To generate more high quality reviews on TripAdvisor, tour and activity operators should focus first and foremost on the customer experience. Offering a delightful customer experience is a foolproof way to keep your ratings high.

But no matter how hard you try, a few bad reviews are inevitable. It might be the weather, an unusually testy guide, or a guest with unreasonable expectations. Whatever the reason, it’s important to have a strategy in place for preventing and responding to bad reviews.

One way that Xola customers prevent bad reviews from going public is to add two separate links to their review request emails. The first link directs happy customers to leave a review on TripAdvisor. The second link directs unhappy customers to an internal feedback form where their staff can address and respond to the feedback privately.

Review Recency

Review recency refers to the age of the most recent reviews. In general, TripAdvisor gives more consideration to recent reviews over reviews that were written in the past. This means that reviews (even excellent ones) that were written a few months ago will not count as much towards your ranking as a review written last week.

Mount Hermon Adventures TripAdvisor Recency 1

For tour and activity operators with seasonal businesses, this means that they cannot necessarily rely on strong reviews from previous seasons to maintain their ranking, since TripAdvisor will give less weight to the older reviews. Seasonal businesses need to make getting new reviews a priority on day one of opening each season if they want to stay on top of the rankings.

Every tour and activity operator can benefit from automating the customer review collection process with post-trip review request emails. Xola’s online booking system allows operators to automatically send an email to their customers after each trip to request a TripAdvisor review. The automated review request eliminates the manual work of organizing and uploading email lists to send requests to customers, and improves the chance that you receive new reviews daily, instead of weekly or monthly.

Xola Review Request Email

Review Quantity

Review quantity refers to the number of reviews a listing collects. However, the way TripAdvisor uses quantity is not as straightforward as, “the more reviews you collect, the better your ranking.”

Nashville Pedal Tavern TripAdvisor Quantity

TripAdvisor uses quantity more as a “confidence rating” than a direct ranking measurement. In other words, as you collect more reviews, TripAdvisor’s algorithm becomes more confident in what guests say about the experience you provide to your guests.

In other words, a 5-bubble listing with 250 reviews isn’t necessarily going to rank higher than one with 200 reviews that were received in the same period of time. This is because both have enough reviews to make TripAdvisor confident in the experience they deliver. Instead, the ranking algorithm is likely to rely more heavily on recency and quality factors to determine which listing ranks higher than the other.

TripAdvisor Quantity and Confidence Graph 1

While quantity is not the defining factor, it is still a very important element of TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm. One way Xola’s customers have increased their quantity of reviews is to integrate their online booking software with a digital waiver solution. Digital waivers can be used to collect the email addresses of all of the guests in a group, instead of the one person who made the booking. This extended reach can lead to customers receiving as many as 3 or 4 times as many reviews.

Rankings Aren’t Everything

A high ranking on TripAdvisor can dramatically improve your bookings and revenue. But rankings aren’t everything.

Many TripAdvisor users will also visit your website before making their final booking decision. They will often judge your website with the same (if not more) rigour than your TripAdvisor listing. Because of this, it’s important that your website and checkout are designed to get more bookings, not less.

Improving and optimizing a website can feel daunting to some. Luckily, there’s a science to it.

Download the Conversion Science Guide


There is a lot of nuance to TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm. But it can be distilled into three basic points:

  • More reviews are better than fewer reviews;
  • Good reviews are better than poor reviews; and
  • Recent reviews are better than older reviews.

Xola’s automated post-trip review request emails allow you to effectively collect more high-quality reviews on a daily basis. These automated emails, alongside a strong internal review collection and management plan, are key ingredients to ranking higher on TripAdvisor and ultimately getting more bookings.


Writer Xola Team

Xola Team

Related Articles

How to set up email tracking in GA4

How to set up email tracking in GA4

Keeping in touch with past, present, and future guests via email brings you closer together. It also gives you an

Read the story
A detailed guide to GA4 paid ad tracking for tours and attractions

A detailed guide to GA4 paid ad tracking for tours and attractions

The success of your paid ad campaigns lies in the ability to measure and analyze relevant KPIs — like ad

Read the story
What is experiential marketing: Definition, why it works & examples

What is experiential marketing: Definition, why it works & examples

Experiential marketing campaigns are so effective in drawing in customers because people crave real-life experiences more than ever these days. 

Read the story

Free Demo

Transform your
business now.

Free Demo Free demo