When a potential guest searches for lodging on TripAdvisor, the default search on TA's home page requires "Hotel name or destination" and dates, or so it appears. You can skip inputting dates to get information for the default, which appears to be a one-night stay about a week and a half from the date you search. The way the results come in feature first a sponsored property, then lodgings listed in order of "Best Value". On almost any search, large hotel chains will dominate the first page of results, as you can see in the video below - notice that B&B's don't show up for this search until they are expressly filtered in by the user (will differ based on your search criteria):
In some cases, we have seen inns mixed in among the hotels, based on location, dates and OTA participation.
How is "Best Value" determined? According to TripAdvisor, it's: “Hotels ranked using exclusive TripAdvisor data, including traveler ratings, prices, booking popularity, location and personal user preferences.”. Quite a difference from the previous Popularity Ranking, which was determined by reviews.
What it boils down to is that unless you are using an OTA partner or a product of TripAdvisor, you will not show up in the top of these results, for the simple reason that you will not display availability for the dates, whether chosen by the traveler, or default. You also obviously won't show up if you don't have rooms available for the date, or haven't made them all available to the OTAs. Because of this, large hotels have the distinct advantage over Inns and B&Bs, soley because they have more rooms.
In conclusion, if you are not using an OTA partner or a product of TripAdvisor, you will not ever show up high in the "Best Value" results for your location. It's another thing to think about when deciding whether or not you want to participate in third-party booking sites.