Is That Five-Star Review a Lie?
By Scott Hale Chief Experience Officer, Brand New Stay | April 2023
Online reviews are powerful.
From search to sale, we know that most consumers, regardless of the good or service, rely on peer reviews to inform their personal decisions.
For better or worse, online reviews influence, and sometimes predetermine, consumer choice. From peanut butter, to higher education, to travel, to employment, reviews won't stop driving decision-making. Since reviews motivate almost every economic decision that we make, we could even conclude that online reviews now hold economic value.
How did we get here? One review at a time.
Once upon a time, feeble consumers believed in big strong brands. They trusted marketers. They watched infomercials and ordered products from printed paper catalogs. Word is, they even booked lodgings based on phone book listings and travel guides (the paper book variety). Brands, and their marketing departments, had the mic and they never dropped it. Brands scripted the stories, and consumers held on tight for the ride no matter the fairytale.
Then, one day, the internet and its corresponding social channels stole the show. As online platforms matured, brands no longer had the mic. Everyone online got a megaphone. Consumers started to write the narrative, and dictate brand stories. Consumers were now empowered and amplified. Unlike the carefully brand-crafted one-way messaging of days gone by, consumers could now be brand ambassadors or brand bashers. They could start an open dialogue about almost any publically available service or product.