It’s getting to be “review turnabout time” as more tourist-oriented providers attempt to dilute the influence of TripAdvisor in an effort to take more control of reviews. Two examples:
-Lodging Interactive and Social Media Marketing Agency announced their own “Guest Review System” designed for hotels, restaurants and spas.
-In a move that could be emulated by others, Starwood announced it is launching its own first-ever review site that is in-house.
“The Guest Review System enables hospitality companies to manage and display consumer reviews on their own websites and blogs,” says a press release.
Founder and President DJ Vallauri said:
“The time has come for hotels to take control of their guest reviews and to stop sending potential guests to third party review web sites where they may never return or worse, book a competitor’s property.”
He said market research supports the fact that over 75 percent of online travel buyers who consider consumer reviews prior to making an online purchase.
“This trend is not going away and hoteliers have told us they need more control over the guest review process,” he said.
The Guest Review System (www.GuestReviewSystem.com) is a web based review management system that empowers hotels to collect their own guest reviews and post management responses on their web sites, he said.
The system lets consumers post their comments and score their hotel experiences based on service attributes.
Additionally, consumers can share their guest reviews on Facebook and their network of friends. Hotels are notified in real-time of new guest reviews and have the ability to validate guest stay information before reviews are posted on their website, says the new site.
“The New York Times recently reported on individuals and offshore companies established to post fake reviews…in some cases negative reviews about competitors, it’s just getting out of hand,” said Vallauri.
The company says its service is low-cost and it offers a free trial. In the case of
Starwood, the chain’s Sheraton, Westin, and other Starwood properties can assess their stay directly on the chain’s web sites.
Anyone including non-hotel guests will be able to read the reviews and share them via social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
None of Starwood’s biggest rivals such as Marriott and Hilton have attempted to post customer reviews. “Doing so, after all, could be risky if reviewers expose weak points, such as a nasty hotel staffer, broken air conditioning unit or inadequate Wi-Fi connection,” writes USA Today.
By bypassing the world’s most popular review site, TripAdvisor, Starwood is counting on its repeat customers to be satisfied. Under their review system, ratings will only be published after a writer’s stay has been checked and validated.
A spokesperson says that is no problem because of the chain’s confidence in its product. He said any complaints will be followed up at individual properties.
By David Wilkening