Making proper use of hotel reviews. Sunday, 13th July 2014 Source : ITB Berlin
For many travellers the idea of booking a hotel without previously checking internet reviews is inconceivable and every now and again however, customers become unsettled following reports of fake reviews.
In order to shed some light on this confusion, together with Fachhochschule Worms Prof. Dr. Roland Conrady, the science head of the ITB Berlin Convention, carried out an extensive survey examining the reliability of hotel reviews.
Questions were put to more than 1,000 internet users, 17 review portals and over 1,500 hotel managers. The findings were presented at an ITB Academy webinar for tourism managers.
Nearly 96 per cent of those polled said that review portals were important for booking accommodation and that they used them often or always before choosing a hotel.
These internet users gave the portals good marks, with 82 per cent considering them to be reliable. When evaluating the reviews the interviewees checked mainly for similar comments and whether the statements seemed genuine. 70 per cent of those polled said the hotels were as good as their reviews. 20 per cent found them to be even better than fellow travellers’ reviews.
When asked about fake comments portal operators and customers had different opinions. Whereas operators said the share of fake reviews was between one and five per cent close to 30 per cent of users believed a large percentage to be faked.
A poll of more 1,500 hotel managers revealed how important reviews have now become for hotels. 94 per cent thought reviews had a big influence on the customer’s choice of hotel. 83 per cent said that reviews attracted new guests and 81 per cent said they had a direct impact on a hotel’s image.
Only 22 per cent made use of special software to evaluate the large amount of review data. Nevertheless, according to many hotel managers evaluating customer reviews provides useful help.
71 per cent said they took critical comments seriously and that they made corresponding improvements. 60 per cent of those polled said they responded to customers’ criticisms.
Prof. Dr. Roland Conrady advised internet users to check several review portals before booking. “In order to recognise fakes users should pay attention to the number of comments. A rule of thumb is the more, the better.
Hotel managers should make use of positive comments for their marketing and should learn from criticism.” If they think comments are fake they can contact the review portal and have them deleted.
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