Questions TripAdvisor should answer about its hotel awards

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03 Aug 2015

TripAdvisor's powerful. Its rankings can make or break hotels, restaurants, tourist services. Yesterday I blogged about some dubious results in its global top hotels rankings. Here are some questions I think the world's biggest and most influential travel site should answer.

If you’re the largest and most powerful online force in travel, your recommendations count. They have the power to shape the travel industry. According to TripAdvisor, its branded sites reach 260,000,000 unique visitors each month. That's a lot of people.

So when TripAdvisor declares its lists of the best 25 hotels in the world, people notice.

Problem is, I have cause to doubt the integrity of these lists.

And if these lists are broken, what of the incredibly influential lists that select a city’s top restaurants, hotels and bars?

Yesterday I published a blog about TripAdvisor’s best hotel awards. It pointed out some glaring statistical improbabilities in its ranking of the world’s best hotels for service. You can read it here.

For example, Vietnam’s capital Hanoi is home to 5 of the world’s best 25 hotels for service. Marrakesh in Morocco is home to another 5. The Welsh town of Llandadno is home to another 2. So out of more than 100,000 locations and a million hotels, three places are home to half of the world’s best hotels for service. Well, according to TripAdvisor at least.

That seems unlikely.

Perhaps more statistically remarkable - and improbable if you’ve ever been to Hanoi - Vietnam’s capital is home to seven of the Asia’s 10 best hotels and resorts for service.

Yesterday’s piece has generated some interest. And after publishing it, I forwarded some questions to TripAdvisor’s media people. A day has passed now and I haven’t yet received a reply.

So here are the questions that TripAdvisor should answer about its “Top 25 Hotels for Service - World”, listing.

1. Does TripAdvisor stand by the integrity of the lists referred to in the blog piece?

2. How does TripAdvisor explain the prominence of Hanoi, and Marrakesh in these lists from more than a 100,000 locations?

3. Does a human being sign off these awards or is the algorithm given a free hand?

I think these are fair questions that any traveller depending on the integrity of TripAdvisor’s listings, has cause to ask. I hope TripAdvisor will respond soon.

Here's yesterday's blog again - with links to the TA lists.

According to TripAdvisor, Hanoi's a global leader in hotel service

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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