There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked aboutFriday, July 16th, 2010 by Elisa Leandri
This is certainly true, but at the time of social networks and review sites, companies may not completely agree. For the travel industry online consumer travel reviews have gained an immense weight and have become a powerful marketing tool. Trip Advisor has become the world’s largest travel website with more than 35 million unique visitors per month, a few millions more than Expedia. 8% of unique visitors to OTAs (online travel agencies) purchased travel from a OTA in 2009, 16% of all unique visitors to OTA hotel review pages purchased travel, twice as much. This is why hoteliers are afraid of bad reviews, a bad one has much more impact than a good one and it may put off a potential customer. Just take in account that 90% of online consumers trust personal recommendations and the 70% trust online reviews…hotels should avoid at all costs negative reviews, even if sometimes they could be helpful to improve the service given. There is also the problem of fake reviews, but the big web sites usually monitors these kind of situations.
It is not surprising then that more and more hotels and other suppliers of travel services are present in the web with their own Facebook and twitter account and engaged actively in responding to messages on the travel review sites and encouraging discussion on their own website. People are going to discuss and share experiences no matter what, so if you are a travel company (or any kind of company) it is better to become part of the whirlwind that is socialnetworking otherwise you will be left behind with no way to handle these new internet-hyperactive consumers.
Personal experience? When you know nothing about the hotels in a certain destination, you try to find some information and the opinions of others who had already stayed there matter, but always keep in mind that opinions are very personal and can change very much from one person to another….still, better than nothing. I found myself in the situation where I had to choose between a four-star hotel and a two star-hotel without a great difference in price…The four-star hotel had 9 out of 10 negative reviews, the two-star hotel 10 out of 10 positive reviews but with complaints about some minor aspects. Because of what I read I chose the two-star hotel, I did not regret it.