Trip Advisor has published their Review Transparency Report in which the company analyzed travelers’ reviews submitted on the platform throughout 2020. Many had to be removed by the administrators.
The report analyzed TripAdvisor’s review from many perspectives, from how the company deals with fake and fraudulent reviews to how the Covid-19 pandemic changed reviews as well as the process of their moderation.
Over 26 Million Reviews
According to the data, more than 26 million travelers’ reviews were submitted during 2020. More than half of the reviews came from holidays in Europe (54.1 %), 23.5 % in North America, 13.7 % in Asia and the South Pacific, 4.7 % in Central and South America and finally 3.9 % in Africa and the Middle East.
With regards to the specific subsectors, more than 8 million reviews last year concerned hotels, while over 12 million reviewed restaurants. Over 4 million travelers’ reviews regarded a variety of attractions and other activities.
Average Rating Rises
When it came to the specific bubble rating given to individual businesses, almost two-thirds (65.8 %) of the reviews gave 5/5, while 82 % got 4 or 5 bubbles.
Interestingly enough, one-bubble ratings represented just 7.2 % of all the reviews, signifying clear satisfaction from the customers.
While there were overall fewer ratings than before, the average rating rose to 4.30/5.0 from 4.22/5.0 in 2018. Thus, in a very difficult context for providers of tourism services, they were mostly able to count on a lot of support.
Over 2 Million Reviews Removed
Out of the 26 million travelers’ reviews, more than 2 million of them were rejected or removed by the company. This number accounts to 8.6 % of the total number of reviews submitted. This is a significant increase compared to 4.8 % in 2018.
The company has two methods for removing reviews. Firstly, they do so before the review is published online through an algorithm that checks the reviews and automatically rejects those that violate TripAdvisor’s regulations.
In addition, there is also a process after this in which travel reviews are manually removed, either because the system has suspicion or based on a report from another member of the community.
33.9 % of the reviews that violated the platform’s guidelines were rejected before being published, while the rest was removed manually. Thanks to the system check beforehand, 67 % of the almost one million fraudulent reviews were prevented from being published on the site.
With regards to the reasons, 48 % of the rejected and removed reviews violated the platform’s guidelines, while 49 % were considered biased or fake, with the rest being removed because a business had shut down are because the reviewer himself removed his review.
The Covid-19 Effect
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the entire tourism industry, but also the travelers’ reviews on TripAdvisor as well as the way reviews are assessed.
While the obvious result of the pandemic is, as mentioned, the overall lower number of reviews, there have also been some changes of the company’s guidelines with regards to Covid-related reviews.
TripAdvisor has chosen to remove reviews that encourage people to ignore governmental restrictions, or which spread misinformation with regards to the pandemic as well as those which refer to Covid-19 as the “Chinese virus” or in other discriminatory ways.
As a result of these new guidelines, more than 257 thousand reviews were moderated by the company’s staff, with 46,145 (17.95 %) of these removed for violating these regulations.