The Upside and Pitfalls of User Reviews on Your Own Website
By Rob Kall President, Bookt LLC | May 10, 2012
Online travel reviews are nothing new; they have existed in one way or another for over 10 years and many of the most popular travel sites allow users to post reviews. In fact, sites without user reviews may become less common over the next few years, as consumers rely more heavily on others' experiences before making a decision.
So here is a question for you: if you are not displaying your customers' experiences on your property's site, what's holding you back? I know, you're probably thinking: 'but what if I have a bad review on my site?' and it's a valid concern because at some point, no matter how good your hotel is, someone somewhere will have something negative to say. You can't be all things to everyone all of the time. Let's explain and analyze the pros and cons of posting consumers' reviews of your property on your own website.
Why are Reviews Popular?
We humans are social beings and our behavior is, to a very large extent, influenced by other people's actions and opinions. We also want to make an impact in some way and be influencers of others' actions, so it makes perfect sense that we would spend time writing reviews - and especially if our experience has drawn out passionately positive or negative feelings. According to Market Metrix Hospitality Index, approximately 10% of hotel guests post reviews about their experiences. For some, it is a way to vent about their less than stellar experience at a property. For others, it's a way to spread the word of a special experience. Either way, these reviews provide important information that potential guests will trust and value, and of course, influence their booking decisions.
The Transparency Revolution
Transparency and accountability - you hear those words everywhere and through the miracle of today's technology, transparent information is more available than ever. That said, in the eyes of consumers, not being transparent can equate to being shady and unresponsive. You know that saying 'honesty pays'? In the case of online reviews, this is very true. Being upfront and honest translates to more trust and eventually more sales.