Google and TripAdvisor, both are well known and significant for hotels looking to attract new customers, but which one is better? While this is difficult to answer simply, breaking it down into categories will help.
I’m going to look at the main aspects of hotel reviews on both Google and TripAdvisor then give a rating for each area, along with supporting video examples. I review them on your behalf, you might say, give them a dose of their own medicine. How good are they for hotels and what’s the guest’s experience? I would strongly encourage you to do the same – as if you were a guest looking for reviews of your hotel.
Visibility – How many guests will likely see a review?
Google reviews have better visibility because they are integrated with Google Maps and Google search results. The giant size of Google makes anything they do very significant, their hotel reviews are seen by many hundreds of millions. TripAdvisor is small compared to Google in terms of visibility and the only way into their reviews is via the TripAdvisor website.
Visibility Scores: Google 9/10 TripAdvisor 6/10
Usability – How easy is it for a potential guest to find and read hotel reviews?
This is important because it focuses on the journey that a potential guest takes on their way to reading reviews. It could be that the reviews are buried behind lots of adverts that take users away to other hotels, which reduces some of the advantages of having reviews. In this test I’m interested in how easy it is to get to read actual reviews.
As you can see in the TripAdvisor video, I must scroll down three pages before I get to the actual reviews. This is not a great user experience; it simply takes too long to get to the reviews. What’s worse for the hotel is that on the way TripAdvisor is feeding me with lots of other hotels in the area, adverts that will take me away from my original choice and potentially lead to booking a different hotel.
It even has headings “You might also like” and “Most booked properties in the area” along with a list of other hotels, remember I’m looking for reviews on a specific hotel.
Google on the other hand shows me the reviews in the centre panel without having to scroll down. You can see in the Google video, I get to the reviews much faster than I did with TripAdvisor and while there are adverts for other hotels, they are much smaller and listed in small adverts on the left.
Usability Scores : Google 8/10 TripAdvisor 3/10
Ease of reviewing – How easy is it for guests to leave a review?
This is the other side of the coin from reading reviews, creating reviews, it’s very important for hotels because it’s better for your hotel to have many reviews and for them to be as fresh as possible. This helps your ranking and makes reviews more relevant to guests.
So, you want the review collection system to be simple and easy for guests. It is something you have no control over because both Google and TripAdvisor have their own systems for leaving reviews. Guests must complete a hotel review directly on their site, reviews cannot be “sent” to Google or TripAdvisor, they must be genuinely completed on their site by the guest.
How easy is it to leave a review on TripAdvisor and Google? Both require you to have an account; for Google a gmail account and for TripAdvisor you must sign up for TripAdvisor membership. Both have this barrier, so they are equal on this front. The completion of reviews (once you qualify) is also quite quick and simple for both, I would say equal there too.
However, when you consider that TripAdvisor has about 60 million active members and Google’s gmail has 1.8 billion active users, you can see that it is going to be much easier for the “average” user to leave a Google review simply because there are 30 times more Google accounts in the world than TripAdvisor ones.
Simplicity of leaving a review: Google 7/10 TripAdvisor 5/10
Reputation (trust) – What is the review reputation for each site?
TripAdvisor has been around for a long time (since 2000). In that time, it has become a household name for reviews with a reputation that’s still greater than Google’s (for reviews). However, in the last few years we have seen Google grow in prominence and trust catching up with TripAdvisor and exceeding them in the number of reviews. A recent survey1 has Google users collectively leaving three times as many hotel reviews as TripAdvisor.
It is arguable that TripAdvisor is losing focus on their key assets of hotel reviews and trust from users. The experience of having to scroll through three pages of adverts to get to the hotel reviews (what they are famous for) is terrible. It’s not an enjoyable user experience and likely to be one of the reasons why they have fallen so far behind Google.
TripAdvisor cannot treat users that way and expect them to keep coming back.
Reputation Score : Google 6/10 TripAdvisor 8/10
Overall Google reviews are better for hotels, in all except one category Google wins. TripAdvisor could improve if they removed a lot of the advertising that distracts potential guests with offers of other hotels.
Hotels will want to get maximum coverage by having reviews on both Google and TripAdvisor but if you had a priority, it is our opinion you should prioritise Google.
TripAdvisor is abusing their position by burying reviews deep in adverts. This is not good for guests searching for reviews (poor usability) and not good for hotels either because each review is less valuable to the hotel. Over time it is likely to put customers and hotels off using TripAdvisor for reviews.
|Visibility Scores:||Google 9/10||TripAdvisor 6/10|
|Usability Scores :||Google 8/10||TripAdvisor 3/10|
|Ease of leaving a review:||Google 7/10||TripAdvisor 5/10|
|Reputation Score :||Google 6/10||TripAdvisor 8/10|
|Total||Google 7.5/10||TripAdvisor 5.5/10|
Want your say? – Give your review of Google and Tripadvisor.