TripAdvisor Reviews of London Museums: A New Approach to Understanding Visitors

Alexander, Victoria D.; Blank, Grant and Hale, Scott A.. 2018. TripAdvisor Reviews of London Museums: A New Approach to Understanding Visitors. Museum International, 70(1-2), pp. 154-165. ISSN 1350-0775 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The digital revolution has affected museums in many ways, both directly and indirectly. A major external change is the rise of user-written reviews; that is, reviews written by museum visitors and posted on the Internet. User-generated reviews pose challenges to museums, as they are publicly available and largely outside the control of museums. This article discusses research on reviews of accredited museums in London. The authors’ data set consists of all reviews written about 88 museums that were posted on TripAdvisor during 2014, a total of 22,940 reviews. Using a technique called topic modelling, they describe 19 themes in reviewers’ stories of their visits. The authors find that museum visitors pay attention to the ancillary aspects of their visit: queues, cost, food service, toilets, and activities for children. They make fewer comments on the cultural side of the museum experience. However, these cultural aspects do matter and are associated with positive reviews. The authors argue that reviewers consider museums as part of a wider leisure sector. They close with a discussion of the implications of their study for museum management and assess the usefulness of user-generated content as a source of data on museum visitors.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Audience research, Customer review, Museum experience, Leisure sector, Topic model, TripAdvisor, Visitor studies

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


30 October 2018Accepted
11 January 2019Published Online
26 December 2018Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2018 13:45

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2020 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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