TripSavvy Editors' Choice Methodology

TripSavvy / Julie Bang

As travel professionals, we've spent more hours than we care to admit scouring popular reviews and rating sites.

When we see a cloyingly positive comment, we assume it's from a business owner, puffing up their profile page. If we read an aggressively angry review, we figure the traveler has a vendetta against the business. We're always looking for that middle ground—but side-eyeing the recommendation until we experience the place firsthand.

We're not the only ones. It's easy to waste precious vacation time on your phone, bouncing between strangers' reviews, magazine editors' glossy suggestions, and clickbaity top 10 lists—without ever really knowing who to trust.

We set out to solve that problem with the TripSavvy Editors' Choice Awards, which are unlike any other travel honor on the internet. We use a combination of proprietary machine learning and real, human vetting to recognize the world's very best restaurants, hotels, and attractions—all from a pool of 60,000 businesses across the globe.

The result: Just over 1,000 businesses passed the computer and human tests, which means you can expect excellence from every winner in this package.

Because vacation priorities vary for everyone, we chose not to rank businesses against one another. Instead, we recognize any place that meets our criteria. Here's how we did it:

An illustration of a resort hotel and pool with notes about the methodology for Editors' Choice Awards, further detailed in the document

Tripsavvy / Martisa Patrinos



Our team of data engineers identified more than 60,000 recommended hotels, restaurants, and attractions within TripSavvy’s 30,000 travel advice articles, then created an aggregated, weighted star score (1-5) for each business based on key data points:

  • Star ratings from top review sites
  • The authority of those rating sites
  • TripSavvy audience data

Any business that scored above 4.2 was passed on to editors for consideration. Our team of 50+ editors and writers based around the world hand-reviewed businesses based on several factors:

  • Category fit: Does the business genuinely represent the best of its category?
  • Reader behavior: How much time do TripSavvy users spend reading about this business, posting about it on social media, or returning to the article?
  • Newsworthiness: Is the business or destination in the spotlight this year?
  • In-person experience: What is this business like in real life? Does it live up to its expectations, or would it be a waste of a traveler’s time?

Editors made the ultimate decision for each award winner, taking into consideration all of the above factors, so you can #vacationlikeapro.

Happy travels!

Laura Ratliff, Senior Editorial Director