Phase II: HT Score Poseidon Update is now live

Continued from Phase I: HT Score Poseidon Update

Phase II of the Poseidon Algorthim update is now live.  This means that the new rankings that were only vendor facing in the vendor dashboard in Phase I can now be viewed live on HTR throughout the entire site both the hotelier facing site as well as the vendor dashboard.

If you have any questions about the algorithm updates please refer to the scoring documentation or the Phase I announcement.  If you're looking for personalized tips to improve your reputation, rankings and visibility--check out the Report Card and Coaching Checklist in your vendor dashboard.

Phase I: HTScore Poseidon Update Rollout

Phase I of the HTScore Poseidon Algorithm update that was announced back in June is now live.  

Phase I of the rollout gives vendors a chance to see potential impact to their rankings and what they can do to improve before the site wide rollout to all users.  In Phase I vendors have the opportunity to see their new scores privately via their Reputation Report Card and Awards Live Leaderboard and get personalize tips to improve your score before the public rollout later this month (late August) via the Coaching Checklist in your vendor dashboard.

As a reminder, for the next few weeks during Phase I the updated rankings and scoring are only visible to vendors privately via the vendor dashboard and the awards leaderboard to make sure you have plenty of time to check your impact and take any necessary action (if needed) in advance of the update officially going live on the site.




FAQs

Will my ranking and scores be impacted?

While most companies' scores won't be heavily impacted, companies who don't have recent reviews of their products may experience significant drops in ranking and scores.  

How will I know if my HTScore or ranking will drop significantly due to the update?

Head to the Reputation Report Card in your vendor dashboard to check your HT Score and ranking relative to what you see on the front end (ie. your profiles or category pages) of HotelTechReport.com. 

See how to check your score impact


If our products look like they will drop in score or rank after the update goes live, what can we do to mitigate this?

Not to worry, this is exactly why Phase I exists to give your team time to know what to expect and pre-empt any unexpected or undesired changes.  The first thing you'll want to do is review the Coaching Checklist in the Reputation Report card which is sorted by potential impact (most important at the top).  The main reason for companies dropping in score or rank with this update is due to inactivity and lack of recent reviews so this is an easy one to fix and HTR has several resources available to help Basic Members and Premium Members quickly and easily collect recent reviews.

When will the update officially go live to the rest of the site (Phase II)?

Phase II will go live towards the end of August providing vendors several weeks of additional prep time leading into the official rollout to check their impact and collect reviews to mitigate any potential drops in scores/ranking due to inactivity.

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. 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.

🔌 The New Integrations Experience

Have you run into any of these issues when listing your integrations on Hotel Tech Report before?

  1. "We have a lot of integrations but listing lots of integrations at once takes forever"
  2. "I want to list all of our integrations to get them verified but some of our partners aren't listed on HTR"
  3. "How can I tell how many verified integrations I have and how many I need to meet the category average or most integrated in the category for the HotelTechAwards?"

Well, thanks to Laura @ protel and Thomas @ Revinate--you can sleep easy tonight with the all new redesigned integrations experience 🙌

Now you can...

  • Add dozens of integrations in seconds without leaving the search bar...
  • Easily add integrations even if the partner isn't listed with the new fast add flow...
  • Check your relative integrations counts within your category for the HotelTechAwards
  • Sort by integration status to quickly find unverified integrations and get them verified to get get verified credit
  • (BONUS) 🎸 Watch Jimmy Melt Faces @ Woodstock


I. Add dozens of integrations in seconds without leaving the search bar...


II. Easily add integrations even if the partner isn't listed with the new fast add flow...


III. Check your relative integrations counts within your category for the HotelTechAwards

IV. Sort by integration status to quickly find unverified integrations and get them verified


V. (BONUS) 🎸 Watch Jimmy Melt Faces @ Woodstock


New Review Verification Options for Hoteliers

Hoteliers at small independent properties or vacation rentals can now leave reviews and get verified without needing a hotel email domain using one of our new approved verification options built right into the review flow.

👏 Feature request inspiration shout out: Elena @ Monscierge

New Quality Signal Variables Update

WARNING: This scoring has been deprecated and is no longer applicable              View update


Similar to the way Google is constantly adding new variables to improve the accuracy and usefulness of their search rankings, we are constantly looking for new ways to do improve the HT Score.

At the end of March we will be rolling out several updates centered around building additional quality signals into the HT Score to increase its robustness and accuracy. Most of these variables were introduced into this year's HotelTechAwards (view scoring methodology) and now will be built into the HT Score algorithm as of the end of March.

Below we will cover (1) What are the new variables and (2) How to improve your HT Score/rankings.


__

I. How the new bonus variables/quality signals are weighted in the total HT Score calculation

The majority of the HT Score 90%+ is entirely based on customer reviews and always will be. The below Please note that these are relative percentage weights, not raw points in the HT Score.

Verified customer reviews & ratings variables make up 85% weighting of the HT Score algorithm with additional quality signals making up the additional 15%.

  • Customer reviews related variables (85%): Customer reviews (80%, includes quantity, quality and recency of reviews), Customer advocates bonus (2.5%), Global reach bonus (2.5%)
  • Additional quality signals: Partner recommendations bonus (3%), Verified customer support bonus (3%), Integrations bonus (2%), Company staying power (3%), Company resources (3%)




___

II. What are the new variables

👏 Customer Advocates Bonus

  • What is it: Top 3 products with the most reviews (aka customer advocates) in the category will receive additional points
  • Why is it important: The current HT Score only looks to identify if company meets the category average number of reviews; however, it doesn't fairly reward top companies with extremely high customer engagement.
  • How to earn points: Most reviews // 2nd most // 3rd most
  • Weight: up to 2.5%

🌏 Global Reach Bonus

  • What is it: Bonus for products who have 5 or more verified reviews from at least 3 countries
  • Why is it important: Scaling to, and maintaining, a global presence is resource intensive and requires strong product market fit, experienced leadership and strong business fundamentals each of which are strong success indicators. Hotel Tech Report's audience is also global and therefore the probability of best-fit matches for users increases for companies with a global presence.
  • How to earn points: >3 countries // >5 countries // >7 countries
  • Weight: up to 2.5%

📞 Certified Support Bonus

  • What is it: Verified customer support certification achieved based on the Global Support Certification Standards
  • Why is it important: Customer support is one of the most critical decision factors when hoteliers are selecting new vendors but is also one of the most difficult to assess in the buying process. Companies who have opened their systems and invested into tools and processes to help their clients succeed and have achieved HTR's GCSC Customer Support Certification earn additional points.
  • How to earn points: Level I // Level II // Level III // Level IV
  • Weight: up to 3%

🤝 Partner Recommendations Bonus

  • What is it: Products who have at least 5 partner recommendations.
  • Why is it important: Partner recommendations are a strong quality indicator and vote of confidence from industry experts that speak to the product, team and company
  • How to earn points: >5 recommendations // >10 recommendations

    // >15 recommendations

  • Weight: up to 3%

🔌 Integrated Vendor Bonus

  • What is it: Products who have at least the average number of verified integrations relative to other products in their category.
  • Why is it important: Integrations are one of the most critical elements to increase tooling efficiency, time savings and the ability to leverage data while reduce redundancies, manual entry and disparate data.
  • How to earn points: Meets category average // Most integrations in category
  • Weight: up to 2.5%

👬 Company Resource Bonus

  • What is it: Companies with at least 15 employees 
  • Why is it important: Having more resources means a company has more to invest in their product, R&D, customer support and growth. Since many companies' funding rounds are not publicly available or they are funded by cashflow, number of employees serves as a proxy for resource availability.
  • How to earn points: Company size
  • Weight: up to 3%

Company Staying Power Bonus

  • What is it: Companies who have been in business for at least 3 years.
  • Why is it important: When choosing technology vendors, hoteliers are looking for a partner that will be around for the long haul. More years in business is a strong indicator of a stable and sustainable company that will be around for more to come.
  • How to earn points: Years in business
  • Weight: up to 3%


💬 Minimum Review Threshold Update

  • What is it: Previously, the category average was calculated based on the average number of reviews for products in the category with >10 reviews but will now only factor in products with >30 reviews.
  • Why is it important: As categories develop and have higher review volumes, products with <30 reviews were given an unfair advantage despite have 1/3 or even less the number of reviews and being able to compete side-by-side. The minimum review threshold will remain in place to ensure a level playing field for smaller companies who don't have as many clients to get reviews from but will also fairly compensate companies who have drastically higher review volumes and customer advocates by increasing the requirements for the category average.
  • How to earn points: Check the minimum review threshold for your products in your vendor dashboard and make sure you are above the category average.


III. How to improve your HT Score/rankings

Below are 6 simple ways to improve your HT Score or you can check out our more in-depth guide in the help center here.

  1. Get more reviews Learn more
  2. Get more partner recommendations Learn more
  3. List and verify your integrations Learn more
  4. Get more reviews from clients in other countries Learn more
  5. Earn the GCSC Customer Support Certification Learn more
  6. Review the bonus variables to identify more opportunities Learn more


Want to get custom recommendations to improve your HT Score? 

Write in via the live chat on Hotel Tech Report and we'll send you your current standing and how to improve as shown in the screenshot below.


WARNING: This scoring has been deprecated and is no longer applicable

Aged Reviews Update

Beginning October 1, 2019, reviews more than 18-months old will no longer be factored into average ratings in the HT Score algorithm.


How will this impact my HT Score?

If you have reviews that are more than 18-months old your score may be impacted.  If you have a few bad old reviews you may see your score increase and if your only good reviews are from a lifetime ago and the only thing keeping your HT Score up you might see the opposite happen.  Lastly, if you have no recent reviews and your only reviews are from more than 18-months ago you will likely see your HT Score drop quite a bit.

How can I prepare for the update?

For most companies there is nothing you will need to do to prepare other than continue with business as usual making sure you have a sustainable review strategy in place to make sure you have fresh review content that is representative of your current product and service offering.  If you have old reviews that you want to make sure continue to count towards your averages you can also use the Premium 1-Click Review Update feature.


_____________

Want more detail?

  1. What problem will this update solve?
  2. How will this impact my HT Score?
  3. How can I prepare for the update?

What problem will this update solve?

Software companies and products are constantly changing with most having rapid update cycles as quickly as 2-week sprints.  Having recent content on profiles ensures that reviews, descriptions and scoring are relevant for the company's current product and service offering.  For this reason, we added the review recency variable to the HT Score.  While this helps give weight to ensure that profile content is recent and relevant, it doesn't factor in the fact that old content is less valuable and relevant.  Therefore a few bad reviews from ages ago can continue to bog down a vendor's HT Score even if their recent reviews and ratings are off the charts positive.  It is for that reason that the HT Score average ratings will no longer include aged reviews (ie. reviews more than 18-months old).  The two main scenarios this update is targeted at improving on are: 

  1. Companies have positive client reviews from years ago but negative reviews ever since and yet are able to inaccurately remain in top positions above companies with outstanding raving feedback from clients for the last year plus
  2. Companies with negative client reviews from a few years ago that are still being disproportionately weighed down by them even though all of their recent reviews from the past year plus are outstanding

How will this impact my HT Score?

If you have reviews that are more than 18-months old your score may be impacted.  If you have a few bad old reviews you may see your score increase and if your only good reviews are from a lifetime ago and the only thing keeping your HT Score up you might see the opposite happen.  Lastly, if you have no recent reviews and your only reviews are from more than 18-months ago you will likely see your HT Score drop quite a bit.

How can I prepare for the update?

For most companies there is nothing you will need to do to prepare other than continue with business as usual making sure you have a sustainable review strategy in place to make sure you have fresh review content that is representative of your current product and service offering.  If you have old reviews that you want to make sure continue to count towards your averages you can also use the Premium 1-Click Review Update feature.

Still have questions?

Reach out anytime via the 24/7 livechat on Hotel Tech Report, we're here to help!


🔄 1-click review refresh to improve HT Score

Want any easy way to make the content on your profiles more relevant while also boosting your review recency to improve your HT Score and get prep'd for this year's 2020 HotelTechAwards? We've got great news for you, now you can! With a single click you send a request to clients to confirm and refresh their review.  If you like this feature you can thank your fellow Premium Member Leif @ Atomize for requesting it

See how it works

Binary to gradual + recency cap + minimum review threshold increase updates

Google updates it's search algorithm an estimated 500-600 times per year.  Each of these updates is designed to create the best user experience possible and improve based upon new data and market developments.  In a similar fashion, Hotel Tech Report updates it's HT Score algorithm to improve recommendations and create a better user experience on the site for hoteliers seeking technology vendor information.

The next update will deploy onFriday February 22nd at 12:00 A.M. PST and will include 3 updates outlined in more detail below: 

  • Update #1: Increase in category minimum review threshold
  • Update #2: Shift from binary to gradual adjustments
  • Update #3: Ceiling put on review recency requirement
  • Update #4: Market leader badge

For the next update, we will be crowd sourcing recommendations and getting the community's opinion on the best way to serve our global user base of hotel tech buyers.  If you would like to be a part of the decision making process for the next HT Score update--please sign-up here.

Want to calculate your score before the new update? 

Try the HT Score Calculator

Update #1: Increase in category minimum review threshold

At Hotel Tech Report we believe that size is not an indicator of quality. There are many smaller companies with wonderful products that can often be superior to those created by larger companies.  In fact, that's why part of our mission has always been to level the playing field and in many cases we have already seen this come to life as startups with great products and client relationships upset major industry incumbents taking the top rated spot in their respective categories.  

The mechanism we first implemented to create this 'leveling of the playing field' was the "minimum review threshold" (aka avg. # of reviews in the category) which creates a fair environment for all companies who have proven viability and market traction (i.e. can be trusted by hoteliers).  Previously, we calculated this variable by taking the average # of reviews for any company with >1 review in a category to create that fairness.  (Not sure how to see where your products stand in terms of meeting the minimum review threshold? Learn more)

Example of Update #1: 

Let's consider a category with 30 vendors in it.  18 of those vendors have more than 1 review (and the average of them is 5 reviews).  The other 12 vendors have more than 10 reviews (and their avg. is 15 reviews).  And let's take the perspective of Brain Software, a fictional company in the category with 5 reviews.

  • Before the update: Since Brain Software has 5 reviews, and the category minimum review threshold (aka average of products with more >1 review) is 5 reviews, they receive full credit on this metric.
  • After the update: Since the new average is 15 reviews te average calculated when factoring in only companies with >10 reviews), Brain Software is now below the category average and will not receive full credit on this criteria.

Running extensive tests on our data set we have found that this variable would produce better recommendations by moving the requirement to >10 reviews which at a high level is because companies with fewer than 10 reviews don't have a large enough sample size to be relevant.  This update helps provide more trusted recommendations to hoteliers and ultimately benefits both sides of the marketplace.

Update #2: Shift from binary to gradual adjustments

The second area we've improved the 'minimum review threshold' is by removing the binary element of that calculation to eliminate scoring volatility.  Several vendors experienced wide swings in scoring as they hovered around the category average (aka minimum review threshold) and this will no longer be the case with this new update. 

  • Before the update: ​Binary, you are either above or below the average and if you are below, your score is discounted a full 20%.
  • After the update: Sliding scale that gradually adjusts based on variance from the mean.

The Bottom Line:
Companies below the category average will be incremental dinged for the variance between their review count and the average review count of other products in their category.  To get full credit for this variable, make sure your company hits the category average.  If you are below it, you will see this notification both on your profile as well as in your dashboard showing how many reviews you need to reach the category minimum review threshold and earn full credit:

(Note: This part of the update will be rolled out in mid-March) 

Update #3: Cap put on review recency requirement

In November 2018 we rolled out the addition of the Review Recency variable.  This variable served to take into account the fact that software (SaaS) products evolve rapidly and many companies deploy code on a bi-weekly basis.  Therefore, a software product today may barely resemble the software product 1, 2 or 3 years from now and consequently, and this variable helped:

  1. Incentivize new/fresh content that increases relevancy and accuracy: Reviews are needed to paint an accurate picture of what it's like to work with a given company at the time when the prospect is considering said company so more recent reviews serves to paint a more real time and accurate picture. 
  2. Signal product adoption rate to buyers: Install base expansion (aka. growth/adoption) is an indicator of product-market fit, this allows fast growing companies to stand out more by signaling their growth via customer reviews helping indicate to buyers which companies are growing.  For these reasons we implemented the Review Recency variable in our last HT Score update.

The Problem:We found that when companies first sign-up with Hotel Tech Report and get a surge of reviews, it makes the competition unfair for those who have have recent reviews but may not have a recent surge since relatively speaking they have a larger base to begin with.  Therefore have decided to cap the requirement to get full credit for theShare of Voice variable to 10 reviews for the trailing-90 days.  So as long as you have 10 reviews in the last 90-days, your company checks the box and will receive full credit for review recency.  We believe that this is a very fair and reasonable target to demonstrate client growth (grow up to 40 clients per year and often less) and a sound cross-section of current market sentiment. 

The Bottomline: As long as you hit the minimum requirement for fresh content (at least 10 reviews in the trailing 90-days), you are covered and will get full credit for recency.

Update #4: Market leader badge

Each year Hotel Tech Report hosts our annual People's Choice Award honoring the company with the most customer advocates across 60+ categories on Hotel Tech Report.  Now this will be built into the UX of the platform and each category will have their own version of the People's Choice Award- they will consequently receive a badge that indicates they are the "market leader"

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