Photos submitted by management were the second most influential factor, followed by the total number of reviews and whether opening hours were displayed.
Adding photos to restaurants’ TripAdvisor profiles resulted in 73 per cent more engagement from users – 107 per cent for restaurant with more than 35 pictures (compared to restaurants with no pictures). Another study by Artizian and Digital Blonde also revealed that adding stories to pictures would improve online users' perception of food.
Meanwhile, restaurants displaying their opening hours saw 11 per cent more engagement from potential diners than those that didn’t.
Responding to reviews
The study also highlighted the importance of responding to reviews, as restaurants that do get 12 per cent more engagement from users than venues that keep quiet.
Additionally, TripAdvisor found a correlation between the number of reviews managers respond to and the overall rating of that restaurant, saying the rating went up as the number of responses grew.
Average rating v. rate of response for recent reviews:
- 0 per cent response rate = 3.91 average review rating
- 5-40 per cent response rate = 4.02 average review rating
- 40-75 per cent = 4.06 average review rating
- 75 per cent or more response rate = 4.21 average review rating
"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the importance of both user and manager generated content on restaurant pages," said Severine Philardeau, VP, Global Partnerships, TripAdvisor.
"Prospective diners want to know what kind of experience they can expect from a restaurant before selecting where to eat, showing more interest in businesses that have pictures and plenty of reviews to help them make their dining decision.
“When selecting a restaurant, 50 percent of travellers usually or always reference TripAdvisor reviews before making a decision. Restaurant owners should be encouraging their diners to share their experience by posting reviews and pictures on TripAdvisor. Just as importantly, they need to respond to reviews, as the study shows that increasing the frequency of management responses has a measurable impact on average review ratings.”
For the study, TripAdvisor analysed data from a sample of restaurants from the 25 most reviewed cities on the site from 7 July to 7 August 2014: London, Rome, Paris, New York City, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Orlando, Milan, Florence, Bangkok, San Francisco, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, Prague, Edinburgh, Venice, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Dublin, Marrakech, New Orleans.