Averages, lovely things. Ratings, lovely things. If it helps the consumer then I’m all for it. Do I trust Trip Advisor ratings, well on the whole yes and then there are some gotcha’s.

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Averages Can Distort the Actual Truth

Distorted averages are hardly new, if you want to learn more the Skillswise website has a good explanation. Want to earn an average of £63,000, as discussed in a recent #factbait? Chances are you might, or you might not, who knows. At the end of the day it’s just an average.

They are something to think about in reviews especially when an event may change the way a company operates.

So I’ll use the real world example of Burger Club, I’d read good things, nah, great things about this place. And anyone who knows me I like a good burger. So a visit was in order. Okay the experience didn’t go as planned….

TripAdvisor Averages

So I’m assuming that the rating for a location on Trip Advisor is calculated as an average. Take all the community ratings and then work out the average. That’s all well and good if the averages. So Burger Club was a 4/5 rating which I’m happy with but you have to delve into the detail a little closer. The Recency of ratings will tell an awful lot.

In this case a change of management was leading to a string of one and two star reviews. With it being a recent change it meant the stronger ratings were still giving a higher rating average. Nothing wrong with that if it’s a blip. The warning signs are in the actual reviews which I wasn’t reading until I was waiting for my food (not making that mistake again).

How To Fix It?

There’s a simple fix, give an overall rating (the average) and then ratings for the last six months and the last month. Then it’s down to the consumer to decide whether to go ahead eating/drinking/staying there or not. If I’d taken the time to look at the recent ratings before hand then things might have been different. That’s my fault and no one else’s, and certainly not Trip Advisor’s.

Recency is everything though especially when there’s a radical change in the structure of a place. Different people lead to different outcomes.

I hope the Burger Club just read their reviews (and not the rogue five star review from the chef’s mate) and do great things in Portstewart again.

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