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VisitBritain’s new study highlights differences with TripAdvisor, or maybe with expectations

buckingham2VisitBritain released the results of a survey that aimed to figure out what visitors most want to do. But how does it compare with TripAdvisor’s ranking of attractions? Not so well.

The survey was completed by 10,000 potential visitors from 19 countries. The top three included Buckingham Palace, viewing London from the Shard or London Eye and Edinburgh Castle.

On TripAdvisor, the London Eye ranked 90th in attractions and Buckingham Palace ranked 83th. And that’s just in “London Attractions,” not Britain.
Edinburgh ranked a bit higher… 18th. But that’s 18th in “Edinburgh Attractions,” not Britain.

Sure, there are a bunch of West End productions at the top of TripAdvisor’s list as well as some little-known places and experiences, but the House of Parliament placed 11th in London attractions.

So, is it possible that the things people most want to do are a bit of a disappointment? Or is TripAdvisor’s ranking flawed by some places making a bigger effort to get people to help rate them? Or are some of these lesser-known activities far better than the marquee items that global visitors hear about?

Could be a little bit of everything, but what’s the take away lesson? Should VisitBritain make a bigger effort to push these higher-ranked attractions (and help avoid the tourists’ disappointment) or should tourists learn from their fellow tourists’ mistakes? Or should we all stop putting so much trust in TripAdvisor?

COMMENT: Maybe the best lesson is something else: that VisitBritain try to help make its most famous attractions better experiences. 


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2 Responses to VisitBritain’s new study highlights differences with TripAdvisor, or maybe with expectations

  1. Laura December 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    It’s worth noting that the survey used a pre-defined list of 18 ‘only in Britain’ activities – so there’s a strong likelihood that many of the attractions or activities listed on tripadvisor were not featured in the survey as an option to choose from.

    The full report is available from

    • Doug Lansky December 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

      Valid point. Still, you’d think the Edinburgh Castle would rank higher in TripAdvisor’s “Edinburgh Activities” than 18th if it ranks 3rd on the all-Britain wish list.

      I’m just pointing out the gap between these… which I think is worth looking at. There are certain “checklist” things people feel they have to do once they arrive. Typically, these
      things have been famous for a long time and the experience hasn’t been updated much. Or maybe they were more amazing long ago before the invention of more impressive things like London Dungeons or the Harry Potter tour.

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