Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Is personalization the solution to the hotel reviews problem?

It isn't news that anonymous reviews are a problem - though it's now potentially turning into a serious legal battle as pointed out in the blog post: Hospitality industry rages at power of TripAdvisor's anonymous internet reviews.

Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said hotels across Europe were seeking to persuade the EU Commission to overhaul the rules governing website reviews to ensure that they have been posted by genuine guests and not by rivals or people simply out to cause mischief.

The article goes on to state:

Industry leaders called for the rest of Europe to adopt the same standards of authentication that are already in operation in Germany.

While requiring authenticated users is a good way forward (potentially reducing the amount of spam, both positive and negative), it won't fundamentally change the problem: creating authenticated reviews won't prevent people from writing negative comments about hotels if their experience was truly poor; Tripadvisor will still be able to create a Top 10 list of dirtiest hotels; and some hotels will still feel unfairly represented (though one might argue that this is an opportunity for the named hotels to benefit from a surge in publicity).

The very idea of a global Top 10 is the problem.

The question is, do you align yourself with the 80% of negative reviews or the 20% of positive ones? Without knowing the individuals writing those reviews, how can you be sure? We often default for the majority, but that doesn't mean it's the best option.

One of the main complaints about Tripadvisor is that it offers no way to easily know if you can relate to the people writing reviews: Is your taste similar? Do you care about the same things in rating your hotel stay? What if comments are unfair, unjustified or plain unreasonable?

TripAdvisor would be far more useful if they offered personalized content, a personalized Top 10, with tailored reviews from people with similar taste to your own.

1 comment:

anab01 said...
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