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Why we list properties like we do: Q&A with the TripAdvisor Listings Team

The TripAdvisor listings team determines where a property is listed geographically (region, city, town, village, etc), and in what category it belongs (hotel, B&B, specialty lodging).

We get a lot of inquiries around how properties are displayed in our listings, so we asked the team to answer some of the more frequently asked questions here. Because there was quite a lot to cover we have divided the Q&A into two parts. This first part focuses on geographic location listings questions, the next part will answer category-type questions.

How do you decide which locations to include on TripAdvisor?
Our Geography has developed over time. New locations are added to the site in the following circumstances:

a) A business owner submits it as their physical location.
b) A user wants to put a ‘pin’ for that location on their Facebook Cities I’ve Visited map.
c) An official source (governmental or tourism office) requests that a location be added.
d) One of our commerce or vacation rental partners requests it so that we can correctly list an accommodation or restaurant that they are providing.

If the requested location meets our guidelines, it is added.

Can you clarify why some locations are divided up into separate listings and others not?  For example London (UK) seems to be one area while Auckland (NZ) has been divided up into suburbs.
If the location is a town/city/village, the guideline is that it must be a named and populated place that is recognized in its own right; that is, it’s outside the physical boundaries of any nearby city or town.

Neighborhoods do not have separate location pages. For example, Hollywood is a neighborhood within Los Angeles city boundaries so does not have a location page on TripAdvisor. However, neighboring West Hollywood is a separate city and does have its own page.

If the location is a region, it must be an official area (again, by government or tourism standards), it must have defined boundaries, and it cannot overlap with any other region location.

We also receive feedback from travelers saying, for example, how far they had to drive to get to a specific hotel and telling us we should not have it listed in city X. We review those cases to see what the official geography of the area is, and make appropriate changes.

In the case of Sydney, Australia, we were alerted that there were some businesses listed quite far outside of the city. Upon research, we found that being a suburb of Sydney can mean two separate things. Some suburbs are located within city boundaries; others are outside. When we contacted the Sydney City Council to sort it out, they provided a map defining the city boundaries. At that point we had the official information and made updates based on that data. We frequently contact local officials to sort out the geography of an area.

If your property is in a small town on the outskirts of a big city it is very difficult for travelers to find you as they will always search under the main city.  Is there any way to show potential guests the surrounding area so they have more accommodation options?

We have received that feedback from many properties and are working on an approach that allows travelers to widen the view of the area they are searching while maintaining clarity of where, exactly, each property is located. Our top priority is making sure that the geography details are transparent to travelers, so they can pick an accommodation that is truly located in the area where they want to be.

If there are more questions you would like to ask our listings team, leave us a comment (top right of the page) and we will follow up.

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