HT Score Poseidon Algorithm Update (Q3 '21)

Hotel Tech Report consistently improves the HT Score ranking algorithm to incorporate variables and mechanisms that set out to productize buyer research and decision making criteria considered by savvy hotel tech buyers during the research, vetting and due diligence process to help hoteliers make better decisions, faster.  Similar to Google's algorithm updates, HTR periodically rolls out updates to build upon and improve the scoring methodology over time.

The core purpose of this update is not to change the importance/weighting of the various quality signals in the scoring system, but instead to provide a more dynamic, consistent, and long-term scoring methodology that ensures an accurate, fair and current perspective of products in the market based on key buying decision criteria and real time data in the HTR platform.  

The Poseidon algorithm update is outlined below in addition to tips for companies to optimize their presence, rankings and visibility.  The Poseidon update will go into effect in mid-July '21 ensuring that all vendors have time to review the update and understand the potential implications that it might have on rankings.

 

All Reviews Are Not Created Equal...

Generally speaking, this group of updates takes into consideration something that has never been factored into the HT Score before which is that all reviews are not created equal.  Old reviews aren't as important as new reviews, shallow reviews aren't as meaningful as in-depth reviews, lots of reviews from a small subset of clients aren't as representative as a few reviews from a large subset of clients and collecting lots of reviews at once tends to increase bias relative to a more sustainable long term feedback collection strategy.  Below are additional details about the new criteria that will be factored into scoring in a dynamic way:

  • Decay factor on review volume. Previously review volume in the category minimum review threshold was based on all time reviews with no difference between the important of a review from years ago to a review left today about a users current product experience.  Now, the impact of reviews towards HTScore variables will evenly decay overtime over a 36-month period meaning that reviews older than 3-years will not be counted in terms of category average volumes.  As a result, recent reviews will carry more weight than old reviews since they are more reflective of the current product and customer experience.  This decay in weight will be gradual to avoid drastic and sudden changes.  
  • Review depth.  Companies that build outstanding products that customers love develop strong communities of passionate customer advocates and product mavens who have insightful feedback about the product and take the time to engage in ways to support the development, growth and success of companies they love.  Additionally, in-depth reviews provide more value to users by painting clear user scenarios, pros and cons to help buyers on HTR better understand the product offering available to make a more informed decision.  For these reasons, in-depth reviews will now be factored in as a weighting variable (relative to review depth from peers in the same category) and an indicator of customer engagement and likelihood to recommend.
  • Client bias (aka Share of Voice). Hotel Tech Report’s policy has historically been to accept reviews from multiple users at a single hotel due to the fact that every user has a unique opinion/viewpoint on software.  Having said that, collecting lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that aren't representative of your overall customer base indicates potential risk of bias.  Therefore, we will be implementing a maximum limit of  5 reviews/property that can be counted in scoring to eliminate potential bias from a small subset of customers that may not be representative of the overall client base.
  • Customer centric processes. Companies who create a sustainable process to regularly collect reviews organically and steadily overtime indicate that customer feedback is at the heart of their organizational processes.  As a result, companies who show stable review collection will be rewarded as a key indicator of organic review collection, strong internal feedback loops and customer centricity.


Static-->Dynamic Quality Signals

Last year the v1 additional bonus quality signals were introduced to the HT Score with binary static determination.  This v1 implementation did not factor in the vast differences across products and categories ultimately rendering the quality signals with relatively little importance due to the fact that they were not dynamic.  This update takes the old static variables and makes them dynamic within each category to ensure more accurate comparisons and assessments between products.

  • Dynamic scoring updates. The following bonuses will move from binary fixed points into a dynamic scoring system relative to other products in the respective category for more accurate comparison: Global reach, partner recommendations, staying power, company resources
  • Global coverage bonus.  Historically the geographic reach bonus only factored in # of countries with 5+ reviews.  The issue with countries is that some regions have dozens of countries (eg. Europe) and some only have a handful (eg. North America) but ultimately the key factor is likelihood that a vendor will be able to service a user in the global market place.  To improve the effectiveness of the geo bonus and remove potential country inequality, a regional coverage variable will be added to the global reach bonus to provide a more accurate view of global market coverage.  Regions include: North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East/Africa, South America
  • Ecosystem health bonus. A new variable will be added for app ecosystem health that factors aggregate HTScores and ratings of all verified integration partners.  Products with the highest quality app ecosystems not only have a higher probability of being able to effectively service more users in the global market place, but ecosystem health also serves as an indicator of engineering resources, company reputation and ability to deliver a more seamless customer experience through a holistically integrated tech stack of world class products.


The Good & The Bad (Examples of both)

Good🚫 Bad
Showcase lots of recent reviews and customer feedback on your profiles that is reflective of the current product experience and customer relationships.Few or no recent reviews with most reviews from a long time ago making it difficult for prospects to learn about the current user experience.
Collect reviews from a wide array of customers that provides a representative and unbiased sample.Collect lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that isn't representative of your overall customer base and indicates potential risk of bias.
Create a sustainable process to regularly collect reviews organically and steadily showing that customer feedback is at the heart of your organizational processes and that hoteliers aren't pressured to leave reviews.All of your reviews are collected within a short period of time indicating that feedback collection is not part of your team's internal processes and that hoteliers may have been bombarded with requests creating a stressful experience for users that can lead to bias and frustration.
Collect reviews from customers in each of the key regions you serve geographically to increase chances of having strong customer feedback that is relevant to HTR's global audience of hoteliers.Collect reviews from hoteliers in a single geography which signals to the algorithm that you are a regional provider that may not be able to service many of HTR's global audience of hoteliers.
List and verify all of your integrations and collect recommendations from lots of your partners to show that your product and team are highly interoperable and come highly recommended by other top partners in the global ecosystem.Only list and verify a few of your integrations and have minimal recommendations from other vendors in the community indicating to the algorithm and buyers that your company may be fairly nascent in the market and lacks a strong partner ecosystem.


Tips to Optimize Your Rankings for the Upcoming Update

  • 💡Tip #1: Make sure you have recent reviews that are reflective of the current product experience for buyers (Related to: Review decay)
  • 💡Tip #2: Make sure you diversify your review collection and don't have all of your reviews from only a small number of hotels (Related to: Client bias)
  • 💡Tip #3: Make sure you have a consistent and organic review collection process built into your team's workflows and avoid large burst campaigns that inundate and overwhelm clients (Related to: Erratic Collection Penalty)
  • 💡Tip #4Make sure you diversify your review collection across your customer base's geographic regions to maximize your global coverage and geo bonus (Related to: Global Coverage Bonus)
  • 💡Tip #5: Make sure all of your integrations are listed and verified and you have as many recommendations from partners as you can to maximize your partner ecosystem bonus (Related to: Ecosystem health bonus)

Note: Please note that as with Google or any other ranking methodology, HTR's algorithm is proprietary and full disclosure of exact calculations has the negative consequence of leading to users attempting to game the system which is why the exact algorithm is not shared publicly.  That said, HTR is committed to providing detailed documentation as well as the Reputation Report Card in the vendor dashboard to make sure it is simple and easy for your team to quickly assess the key drivers of the ranking methodology and identify ways to quickly and easily to optimize your rankings and presence.

HTR Premium for Early Stage

Eligible startups get access to most of HTR's Members only Premium features and benefits at 50% discounted pricing while you get your startup off the ground.

As of June 1, 2021 companies must apply and can remain on startup membership for up to 2-years as long as they are eligible and must apply each year.

Learn more and apply

2022 Budget Season Buyer's Guides Sponsorships Now on Sale

TL;DR

  • What is it...Once a year limited availability sponsorship opportunity for a single vendor to be the exclusive sponsor in each category of HTR's official budget season buyer's guide
  • What's included...High quality turnkey co-branded content, exclusive native advertising placement in your category for a full year on Hotel Tech Report and 1-year content license to leverage the guide throughout your marketing to generate leads
  • When is it available...2022 Budget Season Buyer's Guides are open for sponsors to reserve beginning June 1, 2021
  • Limited availability...Since there is only one spot per year in each category, guides are offered on a first-come-first-served basis
  • A few reasons to become a sponsor...Buyer's guides are one of HTR's best value offerings because they not only include turnkey content production but sponsorship also includes year round exclusivity as well as targeted native advertising front and center to own your category for a full year on HTR.  Budget season is still a few months away so now is the time to solidify brand visibility.  Standing out with a clear message to buyers this budget season is going to be absolutely critical in what is sure to be a noisy world of COVID recovery marketing.

👉 RESERVE YOUR CATEGORY 👈



Related article: Buyer's guide sponsorship FAQs

What is a buyer's guide?

The goal of the budget season buyer's guides is to create a living document that continues to evolve year over year becoming the ultimate primer for each category.  HTR partners with one sponsor per category each year to be the exclusive sponsor of that year's budget season buyer's guide.

While the design and production of each buyers guide is handled by HTR, sponsors are featured prominently throughout the guide and on Hotel Tech Report for a full year through the following year budget season and additionally are able to contribute ideas, insights and content to infuse the guide with their unique expert perspective on the category.

Key Dates & Deadlines

*Underlined = sponsor involvement

  • May 1 -June 1: Premium Member early reservation period
  • June 1-June 30: Regular registration period
  • June 14 - July 6: Partner questionnaire completion period
  • June 15-July 15: HTR designs and produces buyers guides drafts
  • July 15-July 30: Sponsor feedback and content collaboration period (Round 1)
  • August 1 - August 8: HTR implements round 1 feedback
  • August 8 - August 15: Sponsor review period and final revisions (Round 2)
  • August 15 - August 30: HTR implements final revisions
  • September 1: Guides go live as they finish production and begin being promoted on HotelTech Report and sponsors receive hard copy along with 1-year content license
  • Sept 1, 2021-Sept 1, 2022: 1-year buyers guide placement and promotion on Hotel Tech Report through 2022 budget season


Buyers guide sponsor FAQs

  1. What does it mean to be a sponsor?
  2. What are the benefits?
  3. What is the process once my company registers?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. Is there a performance marketing model available?

Performance Improvements

We're excited to announce that we recently completed a ground up backed rebuild and optimization of core pages throughout HTR including the home page, category pages, profiles and the blog dramatically improving page load speeds and user experience across the site.  Enjoy!

💧New eBook Drop: What do telemedicine, remote work and NFTs have in common?

Telemedicine, remote work, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, mobile ordering...what do all of these have in common?

Each of these trends were inevitable tech enabled shifts in the way we interact and collaborate as a species whose adoption was vastly accelerated by COVID-19.

But while rapidly changing regulation, limited staffing and required physical distancing highlighted the importance of technology to survive in the face of uncertainty, what hoteliers across the world realized is that the benefits of leveraging technology to attract more customers, communicate more seamlessly and improve efficiency stretch far beyond COVID.

👉 Download the 2021 Market Leaders Report

We created this free report packed with data driven insights, product rankings, trend analysis and tons of additional free resources to serve as a primer to all things digital to inspire HTR’s global community of hoteliers as you prepare for the recovery.

Whether you’re looking to adopt contactless checkin to make guests feel more at ease upon arrival, find a channel manager to tap into new distribution channels, upgrade to a modern PMS so you don’t have to kick the hood three times and blow on the steering wheel to check a guest in (joking…kind of) or you're just looking for a resource to share with your team to help them get more familiar with the top tech tools that are available—this report has it all.

🚀 New Customizable Widgets Library


Looking for more ways to leverage your Hotel Tech Report reviews throughout your sales and marketing to build trust with prospects? 


Well today's you're lucky day...introducing the new customizable HTR widgets library!

👉 LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR FIRST WIDGET


TL;DR

  • Create Custom Widgets in Seconds. Create customizable widgets to showcase your HTR reviews on your website in seconds
  • Tailor to Your Use Case. Create widgets for your overall company (all products) or specific products to add to specific product related landing pages
  • Build Trust with Prospects.  Leverage your reviews to build trust with prospects on your website, landing pages and book a demo pages
  • No Code Editing. Paste your widget once and edit them anytime right from the dashboard with no coding or developers needed
  • Boost Your Landing Page SEO & Click Throughs.  Improve your landing page SEO and Google page click throughs by adding any of HTR's review widgets which contain Google product review markup (show review count and average rating in search results)
  • Ultra Lightweight.  Widgets are designed to be ultra-lightweight and fast loading

Hosted Reports Live Report Limit Reinstated

The rollout of the New Credits & Ledger System brought members more flexibility to use their post credits towards any type of post (eg. press releases, hosted reports or guest posts).

In a short period of time we have seen a flood of hosted reports from a handful of vendors which has caused a few unintended side-effects including (a) other member's reports to get buried and lose visibility (b) dilution of the diversity of the content in the reports library (making it less valuable for hoteliers).

As such, HTR has decided to revise it's policy regarding hosted reports to include:

  1. Members may use their post credits flexibly towards various types of posting
  2. Members may upload new reports using post credits available on their account
  3. Members may post as many hosted reports as they'd like
  4. Members may only host a certain number of hosted reports at a given time in the reports library and this number is based on the number included with your plan (which can be viewed under your plan benefits in the membership portal of the vendor dashboard)

This hybrid policy allows for some of the benefits of flexible posting credits of the new system while also retaining the merits of the initial policy including equal visibility for member content and a diverse array of content for hoteliers.




FAQs

Why is This Update Beneficial for Hoteliers and Vendors?

Ultimately this slight policy update allows all vendors to retain the flexibility of using their post credits towards any type of posting while also ensuring that the report library remains diverse with fair visibility to all members.

  • For hoteliers...ensures that the reports library contains a diverse set of value add content from various member companies across a wide array of topics and categories
  • For vendors...ensures that it isn't a constant race to constantly burn through credits adding more and more new hosted reports to try to keep up and capture mind share in the hosted reports library.  It also ensures that a single vendor (or small subset of vendors) can't hijack the reports library fully and allows for all members to gain visibility for their content.

Have My Benefits Changed from My Plan?

No.  All membership plans include a set number of reports that can be live at a given time in the reports library to capture downloads.  You can find the number of hosted reports that your company can have live in the reports library by viewing your membership plan benefits in the membership portal.


Why Has the Live Report Limit Been Reinstated?

Unfortunately in a short period of time we have already seen an unintended side effect which has been a flood of hosted reports from a handful of vendors which caused other member's reports to get buried.  In addition to hijacking visibility from other members' content, the flood of reports posted from a handful of vendors has diluted the diversity of the content in the reports library on the site making it less valuable for hoteliers.

As such, HTR has decided to reinstate the live report limitations based on membership plans to allow for some of the benefits of flexible posting credits of the new system while also retaining the equality and diversity that came with the initial limit on the number of live reports a single company can host in the reports library at a given time.

This hybrid approach allows for the flexibility of the new credits system while also ensuring that all members get similar visibility in the reports library and that the downloads library retains diversity to increase the value proposition for hoteliers.


What Has Changed About the Hosted Reports Posting Policy

  • Policy #1 (Old Policy): Members had a specific # of hosted reports and they could have that many hosted reports live on the site at any given time
  • Policy #2 (3/10/21- Ledger System Updated Policy): Members receive flexible post credits instead of set quantities of each post type.  Members could then use flexible post credits towards hosted reports with the limit lifted as to the number of simultaneous hosted reports they could have live in the reports library to capture downloads at a given time
  • Policy #3 (4/5/21 - Revised Hybrid Policy): Vendors may use their post credits towards uploading as many hosted reports as they'd like; however, the limit as to the number of simultaneous reports a single company can have live on the site has been reinstated based on your plan

Subsidiary Memberships

Is Your Company a Premium Member with a Subsidiary and You Want to Unlock Membership Benefits for Your Subsidiary without Purchasing a New Membership at Full Price?

Premium Members can now receive discounted Premium Membership for their subsidiaries to access member features, benefits and exclusive discounts without having to purchase an entirely new membership for the separate company.

  • Silver Members: Get 50% discounted Silver Annual Membership for additional subsidiary companies you would like to access member benefits, credits and discounts
  • Gold Members: Includes free Silver Annual Membership for up to 1x subsidiary company
  • Platinum Members: Includes free Silver Annual Membership for up to 3x subsidiary companies

Learn more about discounted subsidiary membership

Site routing issue

It has been brought to our attention that some users may be experiencing a site routing issue.  HTR's hosting provider had an issue this morning that overwrote our DNS settings and was quickly resolved but may take up to 24-hours to propagate.

The issue has been resolved but we appreciate your patience as it may take up to 24-hours for some users to be able to access the site without the error message.

New Ledger & Credit System for Members

With the rollout of Premium 3.0 came lots of new benefits included with membership packages ranging from guest posting to review incentive cards, sponsored articles, advertising, lead credit and more.  

One of the requests that we've received from lots of members since is the ability to have a more streamlined and centralized place to track and use their various benefits so today we're excited to rollout the all new ledger and credit system 🧮 🚀

  • WHAT: New dashboard home, credits system, ledger and self service guest posting
  • WHY: Make it easier for members to track, manage and use their benefits


New Dashboard Home

Along with the new ledger and credits system comes a newly redesigned dashboard home page that brings a simplified view to the ways you can leverage HTR to educate buyers, build your brand and grow your install base.



New Credits System

In order to simplify benefit tracking, benefits can now be tracked according to the type of item that they are (eg. advertising credit, content credit, posting credit, lead credit).  Credits of each type can be used interchangeably for items that require the same credit type (eg. if you purchase 30 ad credits to run a sponsored retargeting campaign, you can instead decide to use those same ad credits for a different advertising product like an eblast).  

Credits will automatically accrue with your membership and be valid for use throughout the duration of your membership the same as they have been.


New Ledger System

If you are currently a member or have purchased ala cart credits off platform before you know how much of a pain this was.  Now, you can view your credit balances for each type of credit (eg. Advertising credit, Content Credit, Lead Credit) etc right from the settings tab of your vendor dashboard.  The new ledger system is also integrated into Membership Plans so when your plan renews, transactions are automatically created logging the benefits that you received with your membership plan and you will see your credit accounts increase respectively in real time.



Self Service Guest Posting

If your company has post credits available on your account you can use them to post guest posts to build your brand as a thought leader and boost the visibility of your content to reach HTR's audience of 100k+ hoteliers each month by submitting guest posts right through the vendor dashboard.





FAQs

How did my company get starting balances?

If your company has starting balances it means that either a) you have purchased items in the past that have been converted 1-to-1 into the new credits system to simplify tracking and usage or (b) you have an active membership plan that is accruing credits automatically according to your plan benefits.

Can I see my company's history retroactively?

Unfortunately no.  The ledger system is setup to track all transactions (credit purchases and usages) on a go forward basis so any past purchases will not be viewable in the ledger.  That said, you will have a starting balance transaction that will include your company's current credit balances as of the launch date of the new ledger system.  If you have questions about your starting balances or past transactions please feel free to reach out via the on-site live chat and a member of the team will be happy to assist.

Has pricing changed with the new credits system?

No, prices haven't changed.  All prices are the same as they were previously, the only difference is that now you will add credits to your account that can be used interchangeably towards various items instead of having to buy a specific item giving you more flexibility.

Have my membership benefits changed?

No, your membership plan is exactly the same and includes the same benefits as always.  The only difference is that you can now use use credits accrued from your benefits on other items as well.  For example, let's say your plan includes 10 press releases/year which is equal to 10 post credits.  If you want, you could now instead choose to use those 10 post credits towards another type of posting like Guest Posting instead.

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