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"